I think the reason why we fear death so much is a result of materialism, and our obsession with the physical universe. Death means loss. Death means the end. There’s nothing that can be gained from death, except for pain.
But death is part of life; it is the natural cycle of life. Why are we so scared of it?
Maybe it’s because we fail to conceive the bigger picture. We are so afraid because we think that we will each die a singular death, and when we die, we’ll leave behind a huge chasm or vacancy in our space-time–that we’ll just simply disappear, and we’ll become an absence. Maybe we’re so scared of death because of the profound loneliness we are experiencing as a human race–because we cannot perceive ourselves as interconnected and part of a whole.
What is the death of a single cell to a body? The cell is born. The cell serves its functions. The cell lives its life. The cell dies. The dead cell is recycled and replaced by new cells.
I don’t think it’s as tragic as it sounds…this kind of analogy makes the cell sound so insignificant. What’s the point of living if you’re simply going through the cycles? That you’re just one in a million–and you’re just a process?
But I think that’s exactly what we are. We are cells living on earth, and we are all part of earth. Does earth notice if one single person dies? No. But that doesn’t mean the cell is meaningless. What matters most is, I think, that the cell has been part of the whole. The cell has existed as part of the greater existence, To relate to the video (if you spent the time and watched it)–we’re all part of a bigger story. We are a cell in the grand narrative. We are a letter, an alphabet. Together, one after another, we become words, phrases, stories. We become part of the collective memory and existence that have always been.
And that is the way I’d like to die. When I die, I don’t want my family and friends to come to my funeral and cry over me. What’s the point in that? I want everyone I’ve ever loved to come and celebrate what a fantastic life I’ve lived. Come sing at my funeral. Sing happy songs, not sad ones. Dress in colours, not in black. Eat ice-cream, chocolate, things that are sweet and and wonderful. Come tell everyone what a giant goofball I was. Come tell everyone my favourite drink was bubble tea. Come complain to my dead body about that $5 that I forgot to return. Come and make jokes, laugh, take pictures with my corpse (okay, that might be too creepy). But come celebrate the life that I’ve lived, the life that I’ve given, the life that I have completed. Don’t come to my funeral because I’m dead, and there’s no longer any more of me. I don’t want that at all.
Death shouldn’t be scary. It should be viewed as part of life, a celebration of a life well-lived.