I know that many regard death as a taboo subject, either because it is considered inauspicious or that the topic has never crossed their mind, or it is a morbid subject that one doesn’t talk about. I think we should get over this psychological barrier because we will all die eventually. It could be tomorrow, a year from now or maybe a decade later. I feel we should accept it and be mentally prepared for it.
But I also understand that many times, death does not come at the right time, if ever there is a censensus on what is. I guess we would regard death as inevitable for an old person. When that time comes, hopefully, death is quick and painless. However, when someone younger passes away, we typically feel that life has been robbed from this person. But life is never certain, though death is.
For many, there is an innate need to cling on to life. As for me, it really depends. As long as Buddy is not independent of age, I feel I should have the will to continue living in order to care for him. But once he becomes independent, I will accept death when it comes, regardless of how I die. My loved ones will probably grieve, but like what my Husband’s always said, “we should learn from the Irish. They hold a party at the funeral!” Well, it’s not exactly a party in its true sense, but there are lots of food, drinks (especially alcohol), funny stories, some dancing and even games. The Irish believe in making the passing more bearable for the deceased’s family during the wake.
For those who believe in God, in death the deceased is united with the almighty and it should be a joyful occasion for him/her. This is especially so for the old folks. We should celebrate the divine reunion instead of mourning the departure.
Buddhist teachings also advocate that death is nothing to be afraid of. If you have accumulated good karma during your current life, you will have a better rebirth. Buddhism even advocates that a believer should not have any attachment to this earthly world. It is only when one let go of any attachment, the person will be able to break the cycle of life and death.
I like the idea of detachment, though I can probably do it at the end of my life. (Yes, I know I can’t be selective about this because it’s supposed to be a lifelong attitude.) Anyway I guess if we remind ourselves that if we have led a fulfilled life, we should have no regrets about leaving this world. Even if there are regrets, these are situations which cannot be reversed, and we should accept them as they are.
I know it is very hard to transcend our emotions when death is near or when our loved ones are at their death beds, or have passed away. However, when we truly accept the respective religious philosophies, it does make the departure less painful. Using one of my husband’s favorite quotes, taken from the Dalai Lama XIV (which also applies for the atheist):
“If there is no solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it.”