I don’t know how schmaltzy to get here. I suspect we’re in for a mix of dismay and sentimentality. Fairly typical really.
So the obvious: death is the end. Effectively.
There is no way we can possibly know if anything can exist beyond the moment of brain death. It is closed to us. (Of course, from the solpsistic point of view there’s no way we can rely on the existence of anything beyond ourselves, and strictly speaking, that Cogito Ergo Sum thing is a bit of a leap of faith if you ask me. These viewpoints are, however, quite impractical, and worth ignoring in the long run. I tend towards a functional belief in the world around me, with an awareness that what I see isn’t the same as what is there. It’s a fine balance of enough reality to get by, and enough skepticism to stay flexible.)
Where on earth was I?
It’s going to happen to us all. It’s a pretty big event. The big full stop. It’s horrible when it happens to someone close to us. It’s something most people are scared of. It’s the big unknown. The undiscovered country (though I don’t think the crew of the Enterprise have actually been there).
I saw a book in the library yesterday, it’s subtitle was ‘dealing with the dread of death’ or something similar.
Death is apparently dreadful. It seemed like such an emotive word for what should have been a practical guide for people too scared to get on with things.
I don’t know what will happen when I die. I suspect I’ll just not be here any more, but I’m quite happy to know that my body bits will still be here. Fading and rotting and melting back into the world that I was borne from, and have always been a part of.
The matter of me (what’s the matter?) will still be here in some form, and will continue to be, in myriad different forms, for as long as there’s universe. I want to be buried, so that my chemicals remain useful for the animals, plants and soil around me. (I also want a breakcore big band and male voice choir cover version of Breakaway by the Beach Boys, for the record).
In death we are still part of the world.
This is where love comes in.
Think, right now, of someone you have loved and lost to the undiscovered country.
Picture them, remember them. Their face. The way they made you feel. The way you feel about them.
They’re still there aren’t they.
Still here. With you. In your brain, your memory and your feelings. The people I’ve loved are with me always, death or no.
So love is more powerful than death.
Love brings people into your heart and mind in a way that holds them tight and close forever.
I’m pretty hopeful that after I’m in the ground. I’ll be in a heart or two for a while.
Illustrated by Anna-Kaisa.