Is death the end, or just the beginning?

Death can be scary and complicated:

Death means so much to so many people. Many fear it as the painful ending of a painful life. Others feel it is just the beginning of a new and wonderful life. Some feel it may be the end of this life on earth and the beginning of another life on earth. And many feel that this life is the punishment and we will die and go to a wonderful world of beauty and wonder as payment. How do you define something that has so many definitions and yet can never be truly defined until we die?

Is death as we have been taught? Or is it something more (or less)?

We believe as we are taught:

We are taught by our parents (guardians) what they were taught as children. We gain enlightenment from those teachings and thus perceive death accordingly. Yet, we often learn that what we have been taught is actually not the truth: like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. These are actually creations of someone's imagination to entice children to be good around the holidays. So why would the teachings we have learned about death be any different? If we are taught to be good for Santa Claus only to discover that he isn't real (or is he), then why should we believe in what we have been taught about death?

Even what we have been taught is changed as we grow and learn other things:

I am not an expert on death and I do not claim to know what happens or where we go. I have feared death for a long time as a gruesome monster who wears a long dark robe and carries a scythe. He comes to your dying bedside and smirks at your discomfort and pain waiting for that very last breath to escape your lungs before dragging you down to join others who have also breathed their last. Then he places you in a position of suffering for the length of millenniums to come.

I was not taught this, exactly; but that is how it was perceived as I grew and learned other things about the world around me. I saw hatred, bias, violence, theft, murder, pain, and suffering all around me and began to add things to the 'death' I had been taught. I believe we all do the same thing. We are taught what our parents believe (usually based on their experiences and what they learned growing up) and then we add things as we see reality unfolding around us. And, of course, what we experience ourselves.

What will we see and feel?

I fear no one can truly answer that question, since none of us can know the answer until we die. Many have died and come back claiming to have seen so many wonderful things, but each of their stories were different.

  • Does that mean that each of ours will be different? Is death something that is personal to each of us?
  • Will we see our lives passing before our eyes in a kind of parade or celebration, emphasizing our good and bad points along the way?
  • Will we slip away from our body quickly and know no more even though loved ones sit at our bedside and weep for our passing?
  • Will we be aware of those who sit and await our death? Will we hear the soft voices bidding us farewell or feel the lips gently kissing our forehead?
  • Will we feel the warmth of the hand that holds our hand as we slowly slip away?
  • Will we know if anyone is there to comfort us, or will we see and hear others who have gone before us calling us to join them?
  • Will we feel the intense pain of a stopping heart, or will we simply fall into a deep sleep from which we will never awaken?
  • Will we see those around us as if we are seeing something from another's view, or will we just be gone?
  • Will we float around like a ghost?
  • Will we know we are dead?
  • Will we be afraid?

Perhaps......
Perhaps...... | Source

Which is the truth? What I believe:

We may never know until we actually face death ourselves. However, I believe that there is a new, better world waiting for us when we die and that we are guided by an entity (our conscience) though we don't always heed the guidance. I believe that there is a reason why we are offered good and bad choices and that we will learn why once we have passed from this world. Each of us has a belief, whether we share it or not.

Who knows if any of us are right in the way we believe. Perhaps we have all been terribly mistaken. Perhaps we will have to face a whole new way of life totally alien to us. Perhaps we will have to admit that we are simply the larvae for another life like the caterpillar whose life ends when he becomes a butterfly.

I have heard people talk about the light and salvation. I have heard people talk about heaven and hell. I have heard people talk about a new beginning and I have heard people talk about the final end. I have heard it all, as I am sure you have; but the truth? Sadly, we must wait, as a passenger waits for a delayed plane, to see what the truth of our lives will be. Until then, I hope we all live life to the fullest so that when we die, we can at least feel that we have lived.

© 2012 Cheryl Simonds

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I would love to hear your thoughts 10 comments

ALUR profile image

ALUR 4 years ago from USA

I think contemplating death is not unusual for those of us that revere life. But to fear it may not allow you to live the life you have been granted know. I'm just accepting that so that I can at least contribute and say I have fullfilled my role before I take my last breath.

Good work.

You're welcome to visit my hubs:)


cherylone profile image

cherylone 4 years ago from Connecticut Author

ALUR, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I lost my mother to cancer in June and my aunt died last night--both slow and dragging. I was hurting and hoped that by sharing it might ease some of the stress.


cheatlierepeat profile image

cheatlierepeat 4 years ago from Canada

It was only yesterday that my 10 year old said "Mom, I worry about dying but I think it's just like sleeping but without the dreaming" it for some reason really disturbed and upset me that he is only 10 and thinking about stuff like that. We have lost so many family members, he has seen way to much death for his young age :(

Death terrifies me and I try to not pass on that fear as it is someday inevitable


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 4 years ago from Florida

Only when you embrace death do you really begin to live and death is a new beginning. IMO.

JT


mljdgulley354 profile image

mljdgulley354 4 years ago

I agree with JT. Fear of death I think is because we have a fear of the unknown but for those who believe death is a new beginning it can be embraced with hope.


cherylone profile image

cherylone 4 years ago from Connecticut Author

cheatlierepeat, the children are growing up so fast these days, and when there is death around them they inevitably think of it. Thank you so much for sharing with us.


cherylone profile image

cherylone 4 years ago from Connecticut Author

JT, thank you for reading and commenting. I believe death is a new beginning, but sometimes, especially when we lose a loved one, it is hard to see that part of it.


cherylone profile image

cherylone 4 years ago from Connecticut Author

mljdgulley354, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I used to fear death, but now I wonder about what might be in store.


unvrso profile image

unvrso 4 years ago from Mexico City

The thought of death may be scary; however, it may be scary or pleasing, depending on how you choose to construct your way to it. I believe that death should be a long, from an earthly life perspective, therefore, expected transition to another stage for those who have made the efforts to reach the end of their lives with integrity.

Voted interesting!


cherylone profile image

cherylone 4 years ago from Connecticut Author

unvrso, thank you for reading and commenting on my hub and thank you for the vote, I agree that death can be scary or pleasing depending on how you choose to construct your way to it.

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