Friday, February 3, 2012

Death: Part One

I am not afraid to admit it; I am scared of death. But what is it exactly that I am so afraid of? I am afraid of leaving the people I love. I am afraid of leaving the life I live. I am afraid of what life will be like after I die, if there is a life afterwards. I am afraid that life will just keep on going, as if I never existed. I am afraid people will forget about me. And most of all, I am afraid of how it is going to happen.
We all have to die at one point or the other. Some die young, and some die old. The thought of death seems to be scarier the younger we are because we have not gotten the chance to live our lives to fullest. I have asked my grandmother (who is seventy) if she is afraid to die. Her response, “I used to be afraid, but now I realize that I have lived a great life and that I have nothing to be afraid of.” I understand where she is coming from…sort of. She has lived for seventy years; she had two children and one of those children gave birth to me. She has five grandchildren and gives them so much. She has loved so many in her life and she has also been through a lot. It is almost as though she has given as much as she can give and shouldn’t that be our life goal? By no means am I ready to have her leave us, and I don’t think she is quite ready, but the fact that she has made peace with it means a lot and makes me feel like death won’t be as scary. If my grandma can be okay with it, I can be okay with it.
I have been going to church all my life. I was baptized and was confirmed in the Episcopal Church. (Many are unaware of this religion but I like to describe it as a “mellower” Catholicism, mixed with Lutheranism.) In the Episcopal Church we believe in heaven. If you do right, you will go to heaven. But what is heaven? What is it like? When I think of heaven, I think of gold rails, white puffy clouds, white clothing, and love. How do I know for a fact that heaven is real though? I believe in it and I believe that I will meet my family member there one day, but is it really what I am expecting? But what if I die and nothing happens? The heaven I have always pictured isn’t there? I am just dead; I am just a body in the ground, while the world keeps happening above me. We have no way of knowing what heaven is like because you can’t die and go there, and come back to report on what it was like. (Now, wouldn’t that be nice?) It would be like a “sneak preview.” I feel like if we were able to get a “sneak peak” as to what it was like, we wouldn’t be as scared to leave everything we love.

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