Death is beautiful…REALLY???

whats it all about

by Kenneth Justice

~ “I dream about dying all the time; its something I think about nearly every day” she said.

I was sitting in a little restaurant near the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica last week when one of the people at my table brought up the subject of death, “I dream about dying all the time” she said, “Sometimes the thought of dying will pop up during the day as well and I’ll become fearful of getting into a car crash or dying in some other tragic way

For most of my own life, death has been a constant thought that filled my dreams and plagued my waking hours. The thought of death always stirred massive amounts of fear within my mind and I can remember lying awake in my bed as a child and trembling from the fear of death. During my grade school years I can remember countless times that I would wake my father up in the middle-of-the-night to beg him to pray for me that I wouldn’t die. When I became a teen I was now ‘too old’ to wake up my father so I would sit would up late into the night, all alone, wondering if I were about to die.

I’ve often believed that it was the fire-and-brimstone sermons that I sat through for so much of my youth that led me to developing such a cumbersome fear of death. Its a heavy burden to put on a six year old kid that ‘if you don’t believe in god exactly the right way then you are doomed to a pit of everlasting fire where evil demons will gnaw at your flesh and torment your every moment for the rest of eternity’.

Was god’s love mentioned in the thousands of sermons I sat through during my childhood? Sure, but what do you think is most likely to fill up the imagination of a young child late at night as I was sitting in bed; the few minutes of ‘god’s love’ that the preacher referred to in the sermon, or the scary imagery of demons, torture, fire, darkness, and evil!

In 2008 my father died from cancer and although I initially thought that his death was going to perpetuate an even greater death-obsession within my thinking; the exact opposite occurred. Suddenly, even though I still thought about dying….I now became more concerned with living.

I had been fearful of death for so long that it had never occurred to me that all of my fear and worry wasn’t really aiding me in any way; I now began to realize that death will come, but so what, such is life. My father’s death helped me to see more clearly that death is inevitable and being afraid of it wasn’t helping me at all. Somehow, all that worry and fear that I had bottled up regarding death…..slowly began to fade away.

In Western Culture death is a subject that we don’t handle very well. Unlike other cultures, in Western Society death and dying are typically viewed with anxiety, trepidation, and fear. In the United States, death is something we hide-away in hospitals. We gather around hospital beds awkwardly, in white polished rooms that are so unnaturally different from our homes, as we say our last goodbye to our dying loved one.

When death is discussed in the media we can be sure what the headlines will look like;

—-) “The tragic death of a celebrity…”

—-) “Awful death of a mother in a car accident…”

—-) “Death toll climbs…”

Death is almost always portrayed in the negative. Even in much of the art world death is painted metaphorically as Winter; a time when vegetation is gone, the world is still, and the bitter cold ravishes the earth.

However……this morning as I woke up at 2 in the morning unable to sleep, I was stirred in my mind to write a simple sentence; death is beautiful.

My favorite American novelist Mark Twain wrote, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time“. I’ve read every single short story and novel of Twain’s that I’ve been able to get my hands on. He was an author who wrote frequently of death…..but in a very unusual fashion. Twain’s short stories about death were often happy, filled with his wit and humor, and most of all they exuded massive amounts of deeply introspective thoughts.

Death does not have to be something we fear. Although my childhood religious experience perpetuated long hours of sleepless nights as I grappled with the fear of death…..no matter how hard those preachers may have unintentionally tried; my faith in God was not shattered and now I see hope in the midst of death.

Death is beautiful. It is culmination of a live well lived. It is the next step from this journey that we each take and instead of filling us with sadness and anxiety; death gives us the opportunity to be thankful for life and the joy of living.

Perhaps many of my readers will find my words shallow and trite. Perhaps my thoughts surrounding the subject of death are nothing more than the ramblings of a loon……….but for now, death no longer fills me with fear; and I’m thankful for that very much.

I’m also thankful for coffee, which reminds me……

Kenneth

I’m currently on a national and worldwide tour of 100 coffee shops. My next stop is Atlanta on the first weekend of March. Check out my Website for more dates and locations.



Categories: Culture & Society

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136 replies

  1. I don’t think we can educate ourselves into accepting death. The experience of your father’s death gave you that grace. I believe that each time I am present to comfort and love the dying, I fear it less.

    • “I don’t think we can educate ourselves into accepting death. The experience of your father’s death gave you that grace”

      exactly Ellen, I had read a lot of books about death when I was younger and tried to stop being afraid of it….but it wasn’t until I experienced the death of my father that finally began to look at it differently

    • Hi Kenneth,

      I’m so glad your faith survived your fundamentalist, fire-and-brimstone upbringing. I think the hellfire thing creates more atheists than the creation vs. evolution issue.

      About death, I’m with you 100%. Death is a natural part of life.

      Of course, death can be quite sad if it comes too early. I do recall a few times when I was young and had near brushes with death, and I really wasn’t ready to die. So I do have some sense of what it’s like to fear death.

      However, I was brought up with a very thoughtful, accepting view of death. I’ve never felt any major fear of death in the ordinary course of my life. I’ve simply thought of it as the natural conclusion of our life here on earth, and the beginning of the life that we were created for in the spiritual world. Like our nine months in the womb that prepares us for life on earth, we have our threescore and ten years (or more, or less) here on earth to prepare us for the eternal life that we are born into at the time of our death.

      On my blog I don’t usually get personal. That’s not what the blog is about. But I made an exception when both of my parents died about nine months apart after over sixty years of happy marriage and a very busy, fulfilling life together. For that occasion I wrote this piece:

      When Death is a Celebration

      Based on this post of yours, I think you’ll enjoy it.

      Thanks for a good, thoughtful, and balanced piece on a topic that really shouldn’t be an issue for fear and avoidance. Mark Twain had the right idea!

    • Lee – checked out that post – and a few others – and I really like your insights (need to read more later, but I am glad you linked that here – ;)

    • Agreed. I have found for myself, too, that it was something I needed to experience directly.

  2. For me..and perhaps it came from the life I have faced..seeing death..me leaving this place as too real of a possibility…
    But I always think..when I die..what will be said about me…will it be..she lived..took chances..loved..even when love was not given back..?
    or was it she played the right steps..followed the rules..sat in a box..and believed she was only here for nothing..just another cog in the wheel…
    or perhaps…she made the wheel turn just that special way…she swung from vines over cliffs..with the big NO..trying to munch on her toes….and she loved with such courage…even the skeptics..said..there is something here…and she allowed herself to believe..what was spoken a long time ago..sitting in a closet…that she is loved and can love…and it seems like an eternity ago..she had to step out of the closet..and love..but it happens…in many moments..from 2 years old..to 51…
    Without living..death is scary…the beautiful part steps in..at least for me…when you have completed the steps..finished the dance..used all you have been given…and the greatest of these is love…

    • Legacy….I think about that quite a bit especially since I have children. One of the motivations behind a lot of my writing is to leave something for them to read so that they can better know who I am/was and what I believed and hopefully it will bless them and their own children (if they have any)

  3. I think most people fear that ‘Death’ will hurt.

    They fear pain and suffering (more than the actual ‘end’ of life).

    I also suspect they fear they won’t have accomplished their goals in life – wealth, security, assets, family, home, car, top job…….and so on. They fear they haven’t left their partner, children or family in the best position to live their own lives. If only people would realise that they can’t live their life totally for what they leave behind in Death, and that they should let their partner, children or family live their own lives in their own way, then they will become more comfortable with the idea of Death.

    When we accept that each day should be lived Mindfully and that each task should be done in a Mindful fashion and relax into the moment, feeling blessed for what we have in any given moment, we feel less anxious about the material things in life. We start to feel ‘satisfied’ and ‘complete’ within ourselves and trust that we are on the right path. Success in not about what we’ve achieved at the end of our life, it’s about being satisfied with what we have in any given moment on our journey through life.

    It’s about being ‘at home’ where ever you find yourself, not being ONLY at home in a 2 storey house, with 2 cars and 2.2 children (the average) and owning a company with 2 hundred employees. A shack in the wilderness can be just as much a ‘mansion’ as a 10 million dollar house in Hollywood. A Mansion and Success is a figment of your Mind and your Mind is merely a collection of thoughts.

    • Vicki, I love that last paragraph. You’re right, too many people are focused on doing what is expected; being average…..but as you said, “a shack in the wilderness can be just as much a ‘mansion’ as a 10 million dollar house in Hollywood’……… it comes down to our state of mind and living out each day. great comments :-)

  4. Nailed it. Beautifully. Profoundly. With dignity. Your mojo is on fire today.

  5. I am so sorry that you and others were tortured by the concept of death. To me death IS beautiful!

    I went to one traditional funeral when my boyfriend’s mother died. But even her death had unusual circumstances as she had prepared meals for a month, paid all the bills for a month and then she just lay down on the couch and went to sleep. (I’m wondering now if it was suicide and “sleep” was what they led everyone to believe.) On the wall, next to the two paintings of her daughters who had both been killed by a drunk driver a few years earlier, were her hand prints. It was clear that she missed her girls and wanted to be with them but took her last moments taking care of the men in her life before she left. I was moved by all of her thoughtfulness and completely understood her loss and wanting to be with the girls. Her son and husband seemed to understand this as well.

    Since that time, all the other funerals I have attended have been “celebrations of life” which has always given me a feeling of comfort about death.

    • great story….and those are the best funerals, ‘celebrations of life’….I’ve been to a lot of sad and depressing ones so the celebrations are the ones I will cherish the most.

  6. If we are to worry about how long the memory of us will last, be it positive or negative, we’ll, only 3 generations. We continue in our children and their children’s children, thus becoming immortal. The self matters less (nothing)

  7. Thanks for this one. It prompted me to organize in words my own experience with becoming much more peaceful about the inevitable end of this kind of life.

    • when I was in college studying the psychology of death and dying one of the main points of the class was to point out that as we get older we can become more peaceful and accepting that we will eventually die, or we can continue to allow it to drive us nuts…..I’m choosing the peaceful route ;)

  8. Death sometimes freaks me out. I try and imagine what it might be like to not have a body. What will my consciousness be like? And I just go on and one forever? Can that really be possible. The opposite of that seems any more terrifying. I’ve known atheist who don’t believe there is anything after death. You’re just gone. What would it be like to not exists? Certainly that can’t be painful, because you’re simply not there. At the same time, I can’t imagine not existing.

    I have no logic to believe in an afterlife, but I do. Somehow, the most illogical thing to me seems to be the idea of complete non-existence. That’s all I can say because death is so uncertain. It something that none of us can be completely sure of until we face death ourselves.

    • “At the same time, I can’t imagine not existing. ”

      for me that is one of the reasons I have the hope in life beyond death; because to imagine ‘not existing’ seems illogical to me. ‘not existing’ seems like something that someone merely made up out of their imagination because it doesn’t have any meaning to me…….

      I also look at nature and feel this metaphysical sense that there is more to life. I can’t help but look at the stars on a clear night and be filled with the thought that there is so much more beyond this world and beyond this life…………

    • I met a guy from India once who explained the balance of. It reminded me of something I encountered in a video game called the Lifestream. The world is alive and all life comes and goes from this lifestream. Trees, animals, humans – we are all a part of the same. He explained that, as humans have grown in population, the populations of other life forms have gone down. That’s because there has always been the same amount of life in this world, but now humans are taking more of it. I’m sure there’s more to his beliefs, which I think include reincarnation, so I may be getting some of this wrong. If I were to believe in no God, I think I would at least believe in something like that. I can’t help but feel that all life is connected somehow.

    • “If I were to believe in no God, I think I would at least believe in something like that. I can’t help but feel that all life is connected somehow.”

      yea, I’m with you. Plato thesis involved first cause, the idea that ‘there is something rather than nothing’ and its always made sense to me. If not god….then I would have to move my thoughts toward ‘something’ rather than ‘nothing’.

  9. Beautiful Kenneth. Our God is not about death, but giving life. Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” Our Lord is here in this life now, daily, seeking to share and enhance every aspect of life. Death and separation are sad for us who remain, but it is simply a transition into a fuller life. Nothing, not even death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  10. I can’t say the process or the act of death is beautiful, but the lessons learned from it can be. Like you, when my step father died last year, I was taught to live. To focus on life, because up until that moment, I had never felt nor faced the finality of death. Learning to live and to cherish others was the gift he gave me when he breathed his last breath.

  11. This was a great read. I, too, have an unusual heightened fear of death. Not only for myself, but also my children, family, etc. It’s the fear of the unknown. It helps to know that I’m not alone and there’s hope. Thanks!

  12. Great post, unlike you I can’t seem to recall a memory of being afraid of death but then again I was never subject to any fire and brimstone speeches as a kid. I was, however, subjected to many deaths in the family from a young age. We even took in my cancer ridden grandmother when I was in 4th grade to take care of her in her last couple months on this planet. It was hard to watch people I loved wither and die but it always seemed pointless to spend time worrying about the inevitible. I suspect it was those interactions that created a pragmatic nature in me. Instead of fearing death I would contemplate the way in which I wanted to die (fingers crossed I get a brain aneurysm in my sleep) that would be the least unpleasant. I think it is much easier to install fear with words, but not so easy to banish it with them. I have met people that were frozen in life out of their fear of death and mere words never seemed to have much effect on them. Some things cannot be taught with words, some things must be experienced in order to really take hold in a person. (Side note, best song I ever heard whose message dealt frankly with death is “Everyone Will Die” by Motion City Soundtrack, may not be your taste in music but the message is solid)

    • After studying death and dying in college I’m now convinced that it is healthy to expose children to death as was the case you mentioned from when you were in 4th grade. its a normal part of life that shouldn’t be hidden from children

  13. I don’t know how beautiful death will be, but I’m not afraid of it. I must say that I had moments in my past feeling threatening of my life, suffocating moment but I survived and learned that death is my last adventure.
    Death in family or friends it’s a sharp,deep,unforgettable, chasing pain, which alerts us of how precious and valuable life is.
    Whenever I die I don’t want to be alone, short suffer, and I’d like to be missed, have my children be proud of me by keeping the good memories a life, passing on family tradition, challenging the present for a better future to next generations.
    Interesting post!
    Keep the light on at night.. 😃

  14. I’m not suicidal at all. However, death had always made me think of peace and escape, it’s not something I fear.

    • “escape” definitely wasn’t something I thought when I was younger and if I had heard something like that when I was younger I couldn’t have related, but now I can totally understand what you mean :-)

  15. Death is the ultimate mystery. It is no wonder it is viewed in so many different ways.

  16. I just left Starbucks. I have my coffee.

    There is so much I agree with in your post. Death is a difficult topic. I think with maturity and faith we begin to see how beautiful the process can be. Tough to witness, yes. There is a peace I am blessed with when I think of death. I’ve spent 10 years trying to explain that to my sister who lost her 5 year old son. Not in an effort to speed up her process, but in an effort to explain why my grief looks different.

  17. I can totally agree that death is beautiful. In my own case I refer to death as being relevant. I think that to me, relevance is beauty.

    http://chandlerklebs.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/why-death-is-relevant/

    Death is such an inspirational topic. I think that overcoming the fear of death is what allowed me to break free from religion.

  18. The Bible often calls death by another word. That word is sleep. Who doesn’t like a restful sleep. And though our body is asleep until the resurrection, those souls in Christ will be in his presence.

  19. yeah, being so close to death made me want to live happily, L

  20. You remind me of Keats’ sonnet “When I have fears that I may cease to be”. I^ll stop there – this comment was becoming a post!

  21. (sorry my pc did something weird…but again being so close to death made me realize how much I wasn’t LIVING…so I will live happily Love deeply , breathe and BE

  22. “We do not have to fear death if we lived our lives without regret”

    That is all there is to day.. the shorter Twain version LOL

  23. What is your take on the Un-Dead? Are they to be feared?

  24. To me death is neither ugly or beautiful . . . it just is.
    I’ve seen it all prettied up in a parlor and I’ve seen it lying in a creek bed with bare ribs poking through a rotting shirt and half the face chewed of by rodents . . .

    Some reason the latter was not near as ugly as the former.

    This heaven/hell thing has done a great disservice to humanity IMO.

    Read Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani (or watch her video on youtube) . . . very enlightening

  25. I am with you, and Mark Twain, on this!!! Ready at any time!!!

  26. When I was a child, I said to myself, “I wasn’t afraid to be born, so why should I be afraid to die?” Logic!

  27. Unfortunately, the preachers and/or priests of “fire and brimstone” destroyed a lot of young minds (mine included) and pushed MANY people away from faith.

  28. Great post. “So number your days that you gain a heart of wisdom.” Similar to Stephen Covey’s recommendation that we “begin with the end in mind” in order to prioritize and give purpose/meaning to our lives. Two of the nine questions that John Patrick says we must all answer are “Why am I here?” and “Where am I going?”

  29. Well said. I don’t fear death, I fear regret. When it is time for me to go, I just ask to be ready…

  30. “Death is beautiful”? Interesting. As an atheist, I don’t consider death to be a “next step in a journey.” I consider it to be the end of life, the end of consciousness, the end…period. And since I value life, I wouldn’t describe death as beautiful. Inevitable, but not beautiful. At the same time, I have never feared death nor have I been preoccupied with it. I don’t look forward to death, but I’m not afraid of it. It will happen to each and every one of us and it will happen when it happens. So I don’t think about it a lot. In fact, hardly at all. My only thoughts of death, on those rare times when I do think about it, are about the manner of my inevitable death and my hope that it will be peaceful, perhaps in my sleep.

    • Doobster,

      great thoughts! Yet even as an atheist you can’t know with certainty that there is or isn’t anything more after this life…can you? isn’t it still, to borrow the colloquialism, ‘the great unkown’?

    • Yes, it is unknown. But I believe that there is no afterlife just as firmly as you believe there is one. So, to use another colloquialism, ‘we’ll see.’

  31. Great article. The ones who are afraid of death are the ones that are not yet living. Once people learn the truth death is nothing but an illusion.

  32. BRILLANCE! excellent post bro…”ultimately, we are all dead men….” proximo in the movie gladiator…

  33. “Death is beautiful. It is culmination of a live well lived.”
    And that’s just it. I used to be frightened of death when I was a child. I did not have any sort of a God-believing upbringing. Now that I do believe in God and have a relationship with Truth, my aim is to live life to its fullest, in the present, accepting what He may bring along the way and walking hand-in-hand with HIm through it. And if my life is being lived, “Coram Deo” then there truly is nothing to fear and there is joy in the journey. Yes, life is an exciting adventure, leading up to the day the I pass over to the other side.
    Blessings =)

  34. I am not a psychologist, but my previous fears of death had to do with anxiety and panic attacks (this is very common). This may not be the case with you! It was with me. I have gone through hospice training, read many books on the subject and have been fortunate to be present at the passing of loved ones in the comfort of their own homes. I am very grateful for the hospice movement in this country and that more people are spending their last living moments peacefully at home. I believe that as a culture we are becoming more aware of the connection of birth and death.

  35. When a child I was given a copy of The Pilgrims Progress. It terrified me, what made it worse were the depressing illustrations. I don’t know how I shock the fear that book instilled in me off.

  36. Kenneth, I thought on this topic recently, and I hope that this post I made will speak to what you have said:

    http://jaklumen.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/a-heros-journey-death-is-not-the-end/

    It really was one of the most joy-filled funerals I attended, and my aunt-in-law (this was for her husband) had a similar understanding. She didn’t have many tears in her eyes that I could see, just hope, and a smile on her face.

  37. Since I know me I am ready. Though God wants me here, I’m like that cat with nine lives… Do not ask my how many I have left :) Remember the Merry Cemetery:) But do not think all Romanians are like this, my bro fears since he was a kid. Thush I cannot accept or cannot think if ones of mine won’t be here….I’ll lose my minds, that’s for sure. Or i’ll get an external strength…I don’t know.

  38. I had a similar childhood to yours. Death scared, wait a minute… the thought of death scared me. I know where my destiny lies, but sometimes it still scares.me
    I think the FEAR is not in death itself, but we either fear the HOW, or because it’s an unknown experience.

  39. Hey K,

    I found the moment of death intensely ‘beautiful.’ But the months before, we were a kind of casual surround, which I regret.

    Afterwards comes grief which changed…me. For me, not having my rock to anchor has been very confusing. It’s always better when the big man’s around, and suppose that is my job now. I see you made a C reference, I get a lot of irrational resentment to fit fiddles living past their 60s…is ‘dumb,’ eh…as for faith, there is solace, but not something I have embraced particularly, or ever dare to share my thoughts.

    As for writing, this was a very strong piece, very appealing voice and I hope you put your talents to good use, thank you. Big documentary on future of Christianity, radio 4 last night, not sure you get?

    Look at me, scribbling on your wall, tch :)

    • lol, well I gotta say when people say nice things on my wall my attitude is scribble all ya want!

      “afterwards comes grief which changed…me”

      very powerful sentence right there and that absolutely sums up what happened to me as well.

  40. I am so lucky that my church and my pastor wasn’t like that at all. I think my brother’s health situation also instilled in all of us how lucky we are to be alive. My problem is feeling I haven’t lived to the fullest so far and I worry about time passing me by. Just a thought – those examples you gave do relate to HOW someone died which is part of the sadness and “tragicness” of it. There is the fact that on occasion in obituaries it’s “peacefully” died, etc. Just something to consider. Anyway, other places do seem to see death differently than here in the U.S. Even the Irish tend to hold wakes and celebrate life instead of mourning. It is amazing to think how others view it. It doesn’t serve any good purpose to go around being afraid of it. Death is just as much a part of life as life is. Go figure.

    • “There is the fact that on occasion in obituaries it’s “peacefully” died, etc. Just something to consider”

      ya know I’ve never been one to read the Obit section so that is really interesting.

      “Anyway, other places do seem to see death differently than here in the U.S. Even the Irish tend to hold wakes and celebrate life instead of mourning. ”

      right, and especially in places like Asia where death is celebrated SO much more than in much of Europe and the U.S.

    • You don’t need to read the obit section, I’m just saying that it’s not always just gloom and doom. I was simply pointing out that while I understand your examples and they are good ones, that it can also related to HOW someone died NOT just that they died. In the case of a celebrity, such as with Phillip Seymour Hoffman it is tragic because it was so unexpected. For the purpose of a headline perhaps it should only be “unexpected” so as to not infer opinion but still you get my point. I think part of our perspective, as you said or came close to, is related to how we live – we’re supposed to work to live but we end up living to work so “wasting” time ties in with our fear of death. It really ties in so much with all the other things you discuss about our way of life. Naturally that way of living is going to impact our thoughts on death.

  41. “Perhaps many of my readers will find my words shallow and trite. Perhaps my thoughts surrounding the subject of death are nothing more than the ramblings of a loon………”

    REALLY???

    No way. Thanks for the post, Kenneth.

  42. For reasons that I am unsure of, my fairly lengthy comment could not be posted. I don’t have it in my to rewrite my response. Suffice it to say that you were not alone and that you are not a loon. I am happy that you’ve come to peace on the topic. Blessings to you as you continue your journey, Lydia

  43. What a wonderful, thought-provoking post – thank you!

  44. Death is our final life experience, it should be cherished as a conclusion to a story we have hopefully done our best to make worthwhile.

  45. Should we really be scared of dying? Of course, this depends on what philosophy you subscribe to. In the Hindu philosophy, you come back. And if you look at it carefully, maybe coming back isnt the best thing after all?

    • “maybe coming back isnt the best thing after all?”

      now THAT is a really interesting thought……I think I might agree; coming back doesn’t sound like the best option!

    • That’s the essence of Hinduism and Buddhism … To attain freedom from the cycles of birth, death, rebirth … A book which really changed my life, as of millions others is Autobiography of a Yogi! You might find the book a very engrossing read.

  46. for some odd reason i have been pretty accepting of death.. though i can sympathise and experience the grief myself ( i am not unfeeling), i do tend to ‘move on’ very quickly. it’s like i have a ‘shrug’ moment? it’s hard to explain.. i feel sad for the moment, but then i pull myself together and im ok. i dont linger in my grief. I seem to have a good grip on my emotions and showing what i feel and some people feel if you’re not showing you’re sad, then you must not be… lol im going off the topic here.. point is.. i’ve never feared it, it’s never crippled me when people close to me die.. i accept it and i make sure they know i love them

    • “it’s never crippled me when people close to me die.. i accept it and i make sure they know i love them”

      great attitude! It also probably has a lot to do with the situation. I went to the funeral a few years ago of my client’s son; he died unexpectedly at the age of 14 due to a drunk driver….it was a very difficult funeral to be at.

    • reminds me of when my neighbours 1 and a half year old died when her eldest brother accidently hit her with the car. She was too small in order for him to see her in the mirrors. I knew i’d be ok dealing with the sight of her small coffin, but i was worried dealing with everyone else’s grief. Children are not meant to die

    • how tragic, how awful – and how sad to lose a child – and especially “that” way – hope your neighbors continue to cope and find peace after such an event.

    • They are very strong in faith and they have a sense of togetherness that i’ve rarely come across. while dealing with their grief, they made sure that their eldest actually could survive this emotionally and mentally. For a year or so after her death, he went to go live in/on a Kibutz just so that he could come to terms with it

  47. What a great post – I completely know where you are coming from. As a teenager when I was too old to ask for comfort I recall seeing visions of death as I tried to fall asleep. On those nights I would force myself to stay awake until morning for fear it was a warning.

    I’m still in a place where I fear death – I cannot put my finger on why, friends have chosen that path and relatives have passed away but it’s still something I don’t understand.

    Or perhaps it’s something that can’t be controlled and that is why people fear it? I guess it’s the one thing in life you can’t learn from or work around…

    • AJ,

      for me there wasn’t really anything I was able to do that helped me get over the fear; it wasn’t until I experienced the death of my father that suddenly I found myself less afraid of it…..

  48. great post theme after the events of this past weekend (IMO) – :)

  49. I think you hit it on “spot on”….fear of dying is tied into fear of living! I have been blessed to be around a number of family and friends as they pass….sad but beautiful as a natural part of life…we are here but on a brief journey…my faith gives me the courage to face death, but more importantly embrace life…each day…each step.

    Well written, Kenneth!

  50. Death is our destiny, which in Italian has the same meaning of destination: death is simply were we all are going. The very important thing is how we do the journey.
    Said that, I don’t like death, not because I am afraid of it, but because either it takes someone you love away from you or you away from them. You may say I should know, so why getting furious when this happen? Because I am passionate and ultimately I hate saying goodbye.

  51. It was a serious illness for my dad, and a cancer, that he has thankfully recovered from now, that first made me aware of death as a real thing that could happen to me, and since then I have certainly changed my lifestyle to make sure I embrace life more and make the most of each opportunity I am given. There is no greater motivation to live life to the full, than the knowledge of death at some future time.

  52. If I can fulfill my life the best that I can then I can be satisfied at the end of my life because I did the best that I knew, so then for me death is also beautiful because I don’t believe I truly die ~ I just go on to live what is truly my life.

  53. I don’t find your words shallow at all! I’m glad to be reminded of the fact how strange we (Americans/Europeans, same same) look to death.

  54. I think the fear of death is worse than the death itself. I like Mark Twain’s quote about living life the fullest to be ready for death.

  55. Indeed it is a beautiful thing and moment.

  56. As a child I would have bad dreams of being buried and spending eternity in the dark underground. The prayer I was taught to say at night probably didn’t help. Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Every night I was thinking about dying! As Americans we do think of death as the end. i don’t anymore. I think it is fear of the unknown that frightens most people and leaving your loved ones, of course.

  57. Hey, thanks for liking my post, it gave me the opportunity to read some of your posts, this one is my favourite.
    Have you ever seen the film, “The Fountain”? The film made me realise the points in the post, that death is beautiful. The film’s soundtrack has a piece called, “Death is the road to awe”, it’s pretty fantastic.
    I grew up with a hatred of death and dying, and certainly never thought that beautiful belonged in a sentence with death. Witnessing someone dying of cancer, nothing seems beautiful about it, more mean and cruel.
    Death isn’t necessarily the end, funerals are not about the dead, they are about the living, I think that funerals should be more of a celebration of a life that was lived, and a life that could be lived, instead of it being so… final.
    Anyway, I highly recommend The Fountain if you like sci fi type films with an underlying story that makes you really think.

  58. A wonderful post. I have lost both my parents within the last three years and, as I have mentioned today in our blog, a very dear friend of theirs is nearing the end as I write. He has no religious convictions but says he is a “spiritualist” and is approaching his death with hope and joy at the prospect of seeing those he loves again. Hhas given me strength and helped me to come to terms with the death of my very, very beloved parents. Sheshe.

  59. A wonderful post. I have lost both my parents within the last three years and, as I have mentioned today in our blog, a very dear friend of theirs is nearing the end as I write. He has no religious convictions but says he is a “spiritualist” and is approaching his death with hope and joy at the prospect of seeing those he loves again. He has given me strength and helped me to come to terms with the death of my very, very beloved parents. Sheshe.

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