Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Reckoning

I have been thinking a lot about death lately. Not in a horror movie kind of way, but in an it's-inevitable-might-as-well-think-about-it, kind of way. Death and taxes. And for a thing that is absolute we don't spend a great deal of time pondering it. I mean really pondering it and not in a goth, depressed way. I have wanted to know why it is I am so afraid of death. And I think I have narrowed it down to three very clear reasons:
1. I am afraid of pain. Whatever way I exit this life it may be painful. Karma dictates, at least when it comes from the mouths of self-righteous religious people, that you die as you have lived. I don't know if that is definitely true. I would like to imagine myself worthy of death in my sleep at the age of 90. But the dealer of the karmic cards may have seen a few more transgressions than I would care to admit. And so that leads me to my second fear.
2. I have no control over the time. Well, I do, but that is part of that karmic thing and we learned in Beetlejuice that those who take control over their exit come back as social servants in the afterlife. I could die at any time and in any way. And that uncertainty makes me cautious sometimes and a little on edge. It can cast a pall over my day if I spend too much time thinking about it. Why should I even leave the house? But I do leave the house. And mostly it is because of reason #3.
3. I worry about the people I will leave behind. This is the fear that really floors me. What about my kids? What about my friends? What about that nice lady at the dry cleaners? Not to say that all of these people will not go on without me - of course they will. And the world will continue to spin on its axis. But there will be people I love who will be sad. People I love who will be angry. And part of my job as a mother, wife, friend, child, sibling is to bring happiness and to comfort sadness. I cannot bear to be the cause of pain.

That is my fear. Death is hardest on the people left behind. I let go of thoughts of heaven and idyllic afterlives. I believe in karma and reincarnation, through those I have touched, loved and birthed. I do not believe that when I leave this earth I will go some place else to await my next body. I think I will go to sleep. And while I love the idea of G-d, I am not so sure there is one involved in my every move (psst, read my friend Minkgirl's post entitled "Heavy" on this topic). So my prayers for peace get exalted to a variety of dieties: Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Kwan Yin, Yemaya and Bob Marley. May the light they bring to my life help me see the right choices, so karma is a silent sleep at 90 years old.

in peace