Death is a topic that many people find difficult to discuss and accept. It is a natural occurrence that every living being will eventually face.
As I read somewhere, “death doesn’t happen to you. It happens to the people you leave behind.” This statement makes perfect sense to me.
When one dies, they go away into emptiness, nothingness, as far as we know. The people who are left behind, however, have to deal with the void left behind by their departure. They have to adjust to the reality that the person they loved and shared their life with is gone forever.
As someone who has experienced the loss of loved ones, I can attest to the difficulty of accepting death. Losing someone we love can be a painful and challenging experience. It is easy to fall into a pattern of denial, anger, and sadness. However, I have come to believe that accepting death as a natural part of life is crucial for our own well-being and that of those around us.
Many traditional and religious approaches to death involve a belief in an afterlife, where the deceased continue to exist in some form. While this belief can be comforting to some, and everyone is entitled to believe what they choose to, it can also create unrealistic expectations and cause individuals to avoid fully accepting death.
The idea of an afterlife can make it difficult for people to let go of their loved ones and move on with their own lives. Instead, accepting death as the end of a physical existence can help individuals come to terms with the loss and find closure.
Acknowledging death as a natural part of life, can help us develop a deeper appreciation for the time we have with our loved ones. We can learn to live in the present moment and cherish the memories we create with those around us.
Accepting death can also help us to confront our own mortality and live a more meaningful life. It can motivate us to make the most of our time and pursue our passions and goals with greater urgency.
When my father passed away last January, I was devastated. I honestly don’t think I have fully accepted it. I sometimes go to our old Whatsapp messages just as a reminder of who he was when he was still here — a strong, proud, imperfect Yoruba man who did the best he could to be a great father.
I choose to focus on the time we had together rather than the fact that he is gone. I cherish our good memories and use them as motivation to live a life that would have made him proud.
It doesn’t help that I’m in my mid-30’s now, and more and more of my contemporaries — both those I know personally and from afar — seem to be dying unexpectedly. All of this reminds me of the fragility of life. It reminds me that I have to appreciate every moment and make the most of my time because it’s not like I can make it out of life alive — it’s a one-way ticket, afterall.
In conclusion, death is an inevitable part of life that we must all face. While it can be difficult to accept, acknowledging death as a natural part of life, will help us develop a deeper appreciation for the time we have with our loved ones, confront our own mortality, and live a more meaningful life.
Traditional and religious approaches to death, right or wrong, can be limiting and can prevent us from fully accepting death. It is important to approach death with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow from the experience.