Thoughts on death

A dear friend of mine has very recently passed away at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer. Today I heard that Rick Wright, the Pink Floyd keyboard player, has also just died of cancer. Both of these people made many positive contributions to the lives of others, one can’t help feeling they moved on a little prematurely.

Working in nursing and care work for over ten years, death and dying has never been far away and I’ve been the first person to find a recently deceased individual on several occasions. If they are lucky, they go peacefully in bed. On one occasion I found a man sat upright in a chair in a dignified fashion, having announced just a few hours earlier that he’d “had enough of this”. On another occasion I discovered one elderly lady in a not so dignified situation – on the toilet. Dealing with these situations is not always easy.

QuestionMarkA few months ago I helped a Filipino nurse wash and generally clear up the body of a lady who had just passed away on a general ward in a Sussex hospital. She died with her loving family (well they seemed to be, you never know, funny things families…) all around her, a pretty good way to go I think. I had never met the nurse before, and we found ourselves immediately discussing the most profound questions about life and what exactly makes us human. Although I have a long-standing passionate interest in all things “spiritual”, my experience of these situations has not made me any clearer as to whether I believe there is some form of life after death, or whether death is a full stop, so to speak. The person’s life energy has obviously gone somewhere in some form, but this energy might just dissipate back into the general energy of the universe? Or there might be a soul that travels on, as many accounts of near-death experiences suggest. I have no idea whatsoever!

What I do know is that we don’t seem to be very good at dealing with death and dying in our culture. Odd really, when it’s one of the few certainties of life, perhaps the only certainty of life. Many years ago, a chapter in an Aldous Huxley novel (I think it was called “Island”) made a big impression on me. In it, schoolchildren were taken to visit the dying, including members of their own family, as part of their general education. Death was completely accepted and embraced as part of the human experience. Love and peace to all who have passed away, especially my friend Jayne.

2 Responses to Thoughts on death

  1. Parmalat says:

    Hey, just found your blog and read this article… I have tried many times myself to reach a logical explanation of death… actually I believe the only thing that shuts down is the human body because of the damage that it incurred; I also believe that nobody dies because of age, everyone dies of disease. I think that if you’ll take some time for meditation and try to feel yourself better, you’ll realize that your energy goes well beyond your body. Maybe I sound crazy but I did this several times and I felt some very strong energy deep inside me and in those moments I was very sure this energy can’t disappear even if my body disappears. Maybe from those moments I’m not afraid of death anymore, I’m only afraid of pain and afraid because I might know when I’ll die. And maybe that’s why people aren’t supposed to know the future, imagine what it would be like if people knew they’re gonna die in 40-50 years or worse, in a few months or days maybe…
    So, my logical explanation for life after death, heaven and hell – if there is a logical explanation – would be: what you left behind you in this world, you’ll find ahead of you in the other world. If you left behind you love and good things, when the time comes to meet those people in the other world you’ll get back love. But if you left behind you pain and suffering, I think the only thing you will find in the other world is lonelyness. And that is hell – lonelyness… just imagine taking everything away from your life: your family, your home, your friends, even the other people that you don’t know but you see on the streets and walking by them you feel secure and you feel that you’re not alone, take away daylight, take away the moon and the stars and that’s hell… at least that’s the way I see it… I tried to imagine myself standing in such a place of infinite nothing and it was too painful.
    I hope that every humain being on this Earth has some love left in his soul… because if my hell really exists, it can bring a lot of suffering 😦

  2. Don says:

    I know well what you mean. I can certainly remember the feeling of having a very strong energy deep inside me. mmmm. But this basic Karma idea of the afterlife is hopelessly naive. We are all alone, only the Beloved can save us.

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