Why is death frightening? Could it be because we do not know where we are going? Maybe the reason behind our fear is a series of scenarios religions have taught us—scenarios written to frighten. Are we frightened because we believe that worms will devour us underground? Is the fear of not being able to see the world we think we love so much? Can it be the fear of not seeing our loved ones again? Or, is it fear of the great unknown?
Whatever the reason we know that this fear of death has been the motivation behind many a human act!
Let’s take a different look. How do you feel about losing someone close to you? Is it more dominant than the fear of your own death? Does it enslave you more?
Has anything ever happened to you outside the “teachings”? Has anything happened to you that you never imagined could happen to you? When faced with a tragedy you are living, have you ever asked yourself “What should I do now? How can I handle this?”
I won’t prolong this more…I will say it straight. Has your son died?
Yes, my son died…“Passed away” sounds too fancy for my ears. He chose the other side and died.
When you share this with someone else, they either look at you with pity or say they are sorry and try to close the subject. Many times, like most, they begin a series of questions like how or why. To every answer you try to give, they give their own opinion first: “Wish you could have done this…If I were you I would…”
What “what ifs”? All these stem from the ego or the fear that dictates “Nothing bad will ever happen to me. I have taken all the precautions. That’s why nothing will ever happen!”
I like the saying “There is no remedy for what has been done or for who has died.”
Then there are those who cannot stop the flow of their thoughts. They are so stupefied and scared that the following escapes from their mouths: “But, you haven’t changed at all!” What a slip of tongue that is…You can’t reason. You try to respond, yet you fail to find words. What would someone wear, how would one act, what would someone eat or drink upon the death of a son? How can you grasp that when you are so far from it? How can you feel the pain that is so deep? Could that be possible? Nobody asks you what you felt when you first heard it, how you were told, what you told, how has your outlook on life has changed? What lessons have you learned after living through this?
The Moment When You Have to Face the Truth
First of all, you want to hear the words “He is alive, nothing is wrong.” With eyes full of hope, you scan the faces around you. He is alive, isn’t he? He hasn’t died, has he? Only 15 hours ago he was full of life, jumping up and down, making those around him laugh; his joyful laughter everywhere. Only six months ago, you had celebrated his first birthday and not only once but twice with so many of those who so loved him.
Silently you beg God; you beg him for somebody to tell you it isn’t true; you beg him for your son to be alive! You think this is just a nightmare from which you will wake up soon. As you are going through all of this, those around you have their eyes fixed on a certain spot. They see that you are praying. There is nothing they can do. Nothing they can say. They fear to disturb your fantasy. After a while, you look around. You have been trying in vain. You understand it without being told, and suddenly, you taste that bitter death.
Then someone takes over the task and tells you the truth of what has happened.
You sway, you move, and then you are still. Words just come out. So low even you can’t hear them.
You pray that those storms of feeling are only the remnants of a nightmare. You try to feel you are in a dream. You force yourself, your intellect, to a state of non-feeling, but it is all in vain.
You feel the skies have darkened; the spring air has suddenly cooled to the scary autumn wind. The songs of birds sound like ominous screams, your ears ring, your heart aches, and the earth beneath shakes. Suddenly you realize. There is nothing you can do. He is gone…
Then you let out a scream. Your voice becomes a knot. You can neither end the scream, the begging, nor the revolt!
Everything goes quiet!
Nobody asked; you can’t find it in any book; you can’t read it in any news. How does a mother feel when she loses a child? How do all the parts of her body yearn to be with him as they bury him in the ground? Ominous screams, your ears ring, your heart aches, the earth beneath shakes. Suddenly you realize. There is nothing you can do. He is gone…
You cannot comprehend how those around her constantly remind her of her quilt with every breath she takes. Nobody but you can know what you are going through. They say sharing lessens the pain, but you never know whether it would or if they would lock you up in a mental clinic. You would never know.
Everything goes quiet…
The first shock, the first quiver…
A huge silence…
A silence within you grows like an avalanche or maybe just a peaceful serenity.
The quivering, the contraction, the degradation of all parts of your body…
A hole in your heart opened with a blunt knife. Cold air flows in and frees your heart. That emptiness reminds you constantly of your irreplaceable loss.
Going through the first shock, your mind, your speech, your intellect ceases to function.
Afterwards, you start to talk with your inner voice. Why did it happen? You try to find out in vain. There is no answer. You have been taught that for every evil deed you commit, you will pay for it. You are living a horror; you are in constant pain. You blame yourself. What have you done? What am I praying for? You start looking at accounts of the past. You can’t find anything. You realize suddenly: This is not punishment for something you have done or the punishment that anyone has done.
It just happened.
He has chosen death and he is gone.
Has your son died? Mine died, turning my world, my mind, my speech dumb. The day my son gave his last breath, I sealed my doors. The day they washed him, they destroyed me.
When he was a baby, I used to wash him. He died, they washed him; they took him away. The day they buried him, they tore my heart to pieces.
Have you ever felt your lungs catch fire? Has there been a time when you were ashamed to breathe? Yes, I have! My son died.