“Even as I was born, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, unhurrying.”
Have you ever read a book you loved so much that it left an emptiness in your life when you finished it? You laughed with the characters and grew with them, you cried through their pain and made friends that never existed outside of those pages. And suddenly, you reached the last page, and the characters stopped existing — just like that. You still have memories of everything you went through together, but you can’t make new ones, because one of you has reached the end. This bittersweet emotion is the closest one can come to experiencing what Death is.
When we lose someone close to us, a part of us dies with them, and a part of them lives with us. There grows an unfamiliar and newfound fondness for the dead person, and nothing can compare to the incomprehensible beauty of this feeling between two people. This is what makes Death so terrifyingly beautiful. It is unapologetic in its actions. It takes what it wants and spares no soul. It commands the respect of everyone and bows to none. And yet, few other things are capable of invoking a thousand emotions all at once. There is love and sadness, regret and anger, fear and loneliness and a sense of calm in it, and it is beautiful.
It is strange, then, that all who live are destined to die, but no one seems to understand it. Every soul has an appointment scheduled with Death, yet no one knows when to expect it or how it might come, nor does anyone know what to expect when it does. And when we don’t know something, we try to explain it as best we can – with theories, with stories.
There are some amazing theories out there that people have created to try and explain the mystery that is Death. The scientist believes that the world is a simulation and that we are controlled by higher beings. The solipsist thinks that he is the only one in the universe, and that the universe, and everything in it, is but a creation of his mind. Therefore, as soon as he dies, the universe ceases to exist. The hopeless romantic brews a beautiful story of love between Life and Death (this is my personal favourite).
All the demystifying, the solving the mystery of Death, however, begs the question: why? Why do we constantly need to explain everything that happens around us? Maybe it is because we fear things we do not understand. But some things are better left as mysteries. The magic is only exciting so long as the trick is secret.
Not knowing about death gives life purpose. When you know that any day might be your last, you try to make every day count. You weave a story out of your life. For what are people in the end but stories? Stories that form chapters in your book. Some chapters are unfinished, and some are long closed, some are beautiful, and some are better forgotten. All of them teach a lesson. You weave a story with the chapters and hope that people find it interesting. And as long as there is someone who still reads your story, are you truly dead?