Nearly everything in pop culture today- from the television shows and movies we watch, the books we read, to the stories we listen to- make death out to be a triumphant moment. That in which the hero of some tale, fearlessly accepts death as the final leg of his journey, welcoming it with courage and bravery in an ultimate gesture of sacrifice and goodwill.
Realistically, this is not what most of us experience, or even what most of us would like to.
Most of us experience vague curiosity, fear, and trepidation just at the mention of death. These thoughts are the ones that are normal, the ones that make us human. The heroic stories of men boldly walking toward their fate is not the story most of us can understand or embrace.
And that’s truly alright.
It is in our nature to avoid pain and to fear loss. We are only human after all, and we are known to fear what we may not understand. This fear of the unfamiliar, of what follows death, can often be what’s most frightening when it comes to dying. What happens to us? Where do we go? Some find the answer to these questions through faith, whether religious or spiritual. And yet, even when we have an answer of sorts, it might still be anxiety inducing to think about.
When it comes to the passing of those around us, or even our own, the fact of the matter is; death is simply unavoidable. It is something beyond our control and understanding. Once we take into consideration how death is just another facet of life, we can reconcile with our mortality. Death doesn’t have to be frightening. We also don’t need to live in denial of our eventual passing to make it through every day either. The sooner we can live with death, the sooner we can live a more fulfilled existence.
For many, feeling a sense of authority over our own lives, our choices, and our journey is an ever-present desire. Illness and accidents, tragedies and deaths, are all outside of our capacity to influence. The moment that we start to accept and understand death, the easier it becomes for us to come to terms with it.
And we absolutely must grow comfortable with dying and with our loved ones dying as well. If not, that fear and trepidation will only make the end that much worse. If we live in denial or terror, when the time comes that we do experience death, we will find ourselves completely unprepared; both emotionally and logistically. And yes perhaps it isn't possible for everyone to get fully comfortable with death, but acceptance is, at the very least, where we can begin. Acceptance of mortality and it’s inevitability.
As we become accustomed to accepting certain truths in life, we can find ourselves enjoying each individual day more and more. There’s a certain peace, a certain solace, that comes when we accept the things we cannot change or control. It’s healthy to view death and dying as part of the process of life.
Having a healthy relationship with our mortality promotes a positive outlook on life itself, rather than a depressive focus on its end.