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When I was younger, I used to fear death.
There was no definition of what comes after life; will you be alone or eternally tortured? Both were my idealistic hell. Of course, there’s the bright side; you could be with your loved ones who have already passed on or be free to be whatever you like, no matter your race, gender, health or wealth.
But what truly happens when you die?
There has been countless speculation of this puzzling question – but it is a question that is determined to remain unanswered. And that scared me.
Near death experiences are not uncommon, and people swear that there is something after life, but maybe that’s what they want to believe.
“There is no way of knowing for sure,” I would tell these people.
“God does,” some choose to argue back. “God decides whether you have been good or bad, christened or not christened.”
“Is this really in God’s power to do so?” I would retaliate helplessly, for I had not been baptised or anything of the sort, which means I would be damned to hell.
“God’s power is universal and unlimited,” they would reply calmly.
Little do they know what they say makes me fear death even more. In my mind, it simply proves that they do not know themselves and merely look up to God for answers.
As I got older, I realised it’s not just what’s after death that frightens me, but how I will pass away. Will it be painful? Without a doubt. Everyone hopes that they should not suffer any form of pain in their life, but that is impossible. Whether it’s only scraping a knee or giving birth, there’s pain entwined in the existence of humanity. Pain is helpful sometimes – it tells us when something’s wrong and that we should slow down, but when the end of life captures us at last, you would already know something’s wrong, therefore pain would be unnecessary.
I hope endlessly that I shall pass peacefully and at a decent age – not one where I would be old enough to be acknowledged on the news, but not one where people would remark sorrowfully “and at such a young age, too”. Needless to say, no-one hopes for a painful death, but I pray I shall be among the lucky few.
It also scares me how people regard life to be so fragile. In World War I and II, millions were sent to their deaths without as much as a blink of an eye from their superiors. Yet with every loss, there were a handful of family members, friends and countless acquaintances that would mourn in memory of the deceased. Times this by 70 million, possibly more, and it’s no wonder that these wars will be remembered and respected for as long as the last human takes their dying breath.
1 bullet. That’s all it takes for a premature death. 1 knife. 1 blade. 1 fight. 1 punch. 1 touch. Life could slip away quicker than any of us know possible. That’s what shocks me the most.
And as I enter my early teens, innocence and gullibility fades away as I see more and more horrors in the world; hunger, poverty, terrorism, wars and murders. I begin to learn that it’s not just the World Wars we should pay respect to, but to every person fighting and believing for their freedom, family and friends.
I no longer fear death.
There’s a hell of a lot more to fear in life.
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