Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What Comes Next?

I will be 68 years old this year. I am no longer young. Of course I do not feel old either. My health is quite good for someone who has not been kind to her body.

Even so I realize that my time here is limited. I hope it is a long limit and as I said I feel good. But I do wonder.

First I must ask a question. Why do many people have such an aversion to saying that someone has died? To die is a natural function. To die simply means to cease living. Die is not a dirty word or even an unpleasant word. It just is.

In recent years I have noticed that more and more people say passed away or simply passed. I can only assume that those terms are an effort to soften the grief of those who no longer have the presence of someone they care about.

Anyway I wonder what happens when you die. Is it painful? Hopefully it is sudden and lasts only seconds rather than minutes, hours, or days. Do you know you are dying? Are you afraid? Do you feel a sense of peace? These are only idle thoughts but they seem to pop into my mind more often as I get older.

Then there is the question of what happens next. Is there an afterlife? Is there just nothing? Will I simply switch off and cease to exist? Will there be a tunnel leading to a bright light with all my loved ones waiting for me?

Most religions speak of a better place if you follow the tenets of that particular religion. Many also speak of a terrible place if you have not behaved in the manner taught by that religion.

Heaven or the equivalent is supposed to be a "heavenly" place. Everyone is happy. Everyone is able to do whatever they want with joy and contentment. There will be no conflict only peace. All needs and wants will be provided.

Hell or the equivalent is a terrible place where you will be eternally punished for your sins. No one is happy with the exception of the minions that are assigned to make sure you are miserable at all times. Discomfort and misery are all you will know.

Some religions believe that you could be given the opportunity to be reincarnated. Maybe you will be an animal of some sort. You might come back as a whole new person. Some even believe that you come back multiple times to atone for mistakes you made in past lives. Once you have corrected your mistakes your earthly trials will be at an end. But I wonder what then?

If there is any conscious thought after you die do you still have feelings for those you love now? Will you be able to check on them every now and then? Can you try to assist them in their lives?

So is there a "next" or is there nothing? I wonder........


  1. As you know, Emma, my mother died that past December, and when telling people she is gone I use the word "died" but then when writing to someone, I seem to revert to "passed away" at times. I am uncertain as to the reason. Also, having celebrated another birthday this month, my thoughts at times dwel on the hereafter and is there one. I was raised in the Catholic faith which like other religions does glorify Heaven and condemn Hell. But I often wonder if all good people do go to Heaven... what stage of life will they be: children, young adults, older adults, seniors...is there a choice?
    Like you, I am curious, but far prefer to live a longer life on earth. There is so much yet to explore and experience. My fear is running out of time, but not what to do with it

    1. I understand what you are saying. My main problem with the question of heaven and hell is what we are taught in religion. God is the Father who loves us all. But if we are bad we are sent to an eternal place of damnation. I cannot believe that a loving father would do that. There are so many questions.

  2. Ahhh it is so frustrating. I've just written a long comment and it disappeared when I pressed the publush button. I know that you don't have comment moderation.

    Anyway, what I was trying to say was that the euphemism "passed away" is simpky used to soften the pain of the loved ones who lost someone. It does help in a way. Our grandma passed away last December and sometimes when we talk about her, we still can't get used to referring to her as "was".

    Last night we remembered her saying the she was tired of living. It posted a deep thought on us. Do peopke really get tired of living? It is a question together with your question about what is there after death.

    1. It is a good question. I have often said that my mother was tired of being here and that was why she died. She was fairly young (my age) but she had not remarried or even dated after my father died. She knew her children loved her but I think she thought we no longer needed her. She had become reclusive in many ways and I think she was tired of being here.

    2. That saddens me because lately, my mom is quite vocal about death. She said that she was only waiting for my youngest brother to graduate from college and then she'll feel that she and my father have fulfilled their obligations and that she's ready to go. I don't like it when she speaks lije that of course.

    3. Of course you don't. It sounds to me like your mother is trying to transition herself to an empty nest. Perhaps some new activities will renew her interest in staying with you for a while longer.