I was recently asked to submit my thoughts on death, dying, and the after life for a friends senior project… My thoughts are not terribly insightful, but none the less this is what I wrote.
I know my days as a human are numbered, from the day I was born to the day I die my life has been made up of a series of interactions. My life experiences, the people I associate my self with and the actions I take throughout the course of my life make up the entirety of my being. I believe that our ‘being’ (some refer to as soul) lives on in the form of memories in the minds of family and friends. The people’s lives I touch are how I will make my mark in this universe.
I don’t mind if my name is forgotten the day I die. If every word I have ever written disappears instantly the moment I die nothing will really be lost. My actions will be remembered, even if my name is not attached to them. The children I have helped learn to read, the young adults I have taught to cook and sew and care for their families, and the elders I have shown kindness too by saying hello or visiting on a lonely weekday. It is my hope that my being will live on through these actions. I have no desire to be immortal.
A separate life after this one does not appeal to me. Going to some alternate place to live forever in eternal happiness sounds to me like something people would rationalize out of fear.
I am not afraid to die.
My body will eventually perish; slowly it will decompose and become nothing more than a pile of carbon and ash. It will then be absorbed in to the soil, which happens with all decomposing things. That soil will grow grass or wheat, or here in the tundra it will grow berries and tea. Depending on where I die I might even become nourishment for a tree.
If only I could be so lucky to become food for a tree.