So I’ve been thinking about death recently. Haa ha, no, not in that way (although I’m sure there are some on this planet that surely wouldn’t mind if I disappeared) but in the sense of what I imagine it to be and if I should be afraid of it.
Before I got to death and dying, I first started out with thinking about fear, and how death plays into that. First, I had to rethink fear itself and kind of put it into context. I asked the question “When we fear something, what does that mean…really?” And the first thing that came to mind was the aftermath, the future…or what happens “after” the thing we fear happens.
Of course we all fear pain and suffering, that goes without saying, but I think we fear it on the long road versus in the moment. What I mean is that we don’t fear the bullet killing us instantly…we fear it not being so quick…and the long drawn out death or even maiming or crippling that allows us to live on afterward in constant pain and regret.
We fear living in a present where we remember and relive the moment of death (or near death) over and over.
So I think one significant aspect of fear is that it is all about looking back at what happened and the constant wonder about what we could have done different, who could have helped us, how we could have stopped happening the horrible thing that did happen.
And I realized that it’s not the thing…it’s the memory of the thing we fear.
And that lead me to death. Well, thinking about death…and as I thought about it—and I think you know that the idea of an Abrahamic heaven and hell just makes me giggle—it just became crystal clear that I can’t fear death because once it happens, in that nanosecond where my consciousness ends, there are no more memories, there is no “thinking” about what happened…no constant questioning or painful regret.
Simply, there is no memory of the thing…
…therefore there is nothing to fear.
But it’s a hard and long road wrapping my head around understanding the cessation of life, the complete stopping of thought, because I am thinking and having thoughts now and cannot imagine…not…thinking…in some yet to be played out future. But this realization that I don’t (more accurately as I strive forward that I “shouldn’t”) fear death is that it is a big chunk of thinking I no longer have to do…that I can just let it go…and that frees up all that extra time for living.
Which I’d much rather do.
Believe. Go. Do.