Death is a big topic. One that many choose to ignore and never speak of. I think that's where the mistake is. You see, even though I believe that we should give our life everything we've got, without being held back by fears, I believe that by avoiding the topic of death- that's what fuels our fear of it.
Death is...well, it's a lot of things. It means different things to different people. For some, nothing but a scary promise, for others, an obstacle, others- fear. Some don't think of it at all. Some just aren't bothered by it. But what about those others whose life death has brushed by walking past? Those who lost someone to it? It can't be easy, I know, I've lost someone as well.
Truth is, we should talk more about it. We should raise awareness, so that we could help each other when it strikes. Take me, for example. A girl in her late teens, with a perfectly fantastic life. I had nothing to complain about or be afraid of, until my friend passed away to cancer last month. To be honest, at first I didn't understand. It didn't hit me until last week, I think. At first, it was more of "How? It doesn't make sense." It just wouldn't sink in. I knew it wasn't a mean joke, but it still felt too far away to be true. Anyone else experienced that? And once it DID hit, it brought on all these other unwanted questions like "Who'll be next?" I mean, I had no idea that she was terminally ill. It literally all happened all at once, none of us had any warning. She seemed perfectly happy and healthy when I've last seen her a few months ago and now she's gone? So now, I find myself constantly in fear. I have a lot of people I'm afraid to lose. And yes, I believe in life after death, but it still doesn't make it any easier. We continue to miss them, right? We can feel their absence. When they die, a part of us dies with them.
That's what started my obsession with the topic. What happens once we die? When will we die? Is it painful? What comes next? Most importantly, if we lost someone to death, how can we continue living? Smiling? Laughing? I know that many people probably posed themselves with the same quetions. I even went through google, trying to find answers, but somehow, none of it seemed to have helped. "Talk to someone about it", yes- check! "Think happy memories"- check! What now? Forget and move on? This isn't a bad breakup, for Christ's sake. This is where I decided to create another option for people like myself- my step by step guide to battling death.
Step 1- Write a blog about it. Or diary, whatever. It's so much easier than talking about it. Paper seems to understand better than some people sometimes. Write down what exactly happened, how you felt, how you feel now, what questions are spinning in your mind. You can even cry, without being embarassed by being seen. I'm not saying don't talk to people about it, I'm just saying that writing it down is the first step. It helps us organise our thoughts in a more orderly fashion, we can be more sincere and write and write for hours. Once you write it down, it will make step 2 easier.
Step 2- Talking about it. With people you trust and love, or- with random strangers like myself, who've been in a similar situation. You need to realise that you're not alone. Instead of hearing "It will be alright" and "I'm so sorry" from people who have no idea what you're going through, you get to discuss it with someone who understands and can shed light on your situation. It's easier to follow up on advice from someone who gets what it feels like. I spoke to people who've lost loved ones myself, I kept asking them "How can you still smile?" and I got to hear some great advice. I figure, if they can do it, I can too. And so can you! Just talk about it with the right people.
Step 3- I found it so helpful reading quotes about death. I know it sounds unorthodox, but just hear me out. You get to see wise, recognised figures saying inspirational things like: "Do not fear death so much but rather the inadequate life." and "Death will be a great relief. No more interviews." Some of it is very twisted humour, but it's so much better than reading "Hold on, keep believing." I believe that last one too, by the way, you have to keep believing in better days. All I'm saying is that the quotes help shed light on some extraordinary contrasts! People who aren't afraid of death and make laugh about it, or those who provide smart ass remarks right in the face of it. I want to be brave like that too! I want to laugh at it too! That's why we're having this conversation. Seriously, look up some quotes. Here's a great starting point: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_death.html
Step 4- Eventually, you will have to deal with the person themselves. Going through old photographs and re-reading old messages. Hey, you can't keep avoiding it forever. Just keep in mind what you learnt from the previous steps I mentioned and rip off that bandaid! You must remember that none of us are immortal. You will die one day too. We all have an expiration date, friend. But that doesn't mean we should fear death or be sad. Live your life wild, so that each day is memorable. Watch inspirational movies ("Yes Man" recommended here) and get motivated. Fuck it, live for your loved one and say to the skies "Isn't this great? Aren't you so proud of me?" Create a "To Do Before I Die" list and write down the things you want to get done in this lifetime and get started! Learn to dance or go skydiving. Go skinnydipping with friends! Remember- Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.
Step 5- You believe in something, right? If you're an atheist, change that. Believe something, what's the worst that will come from believing? Go wild on google and read about mythology and afterlives, aliens, illuminati, some sort of religion, I don't care. I have my own version of what happens after death. Many people say "they move on to a better place", I call bullshit on that. What if they're a psychopath murderer? I believe that you have three options- Heaven, Hell and Otherworlds. You all know about Hell and Heaven, I'm sure, but let me explain the otherworlds: parallel worlds or similar worlds to ours. I believe that some people will choose to go there to get another chance at life. Not necessarily Earth and not necessarily reincarnated as an animal. I mean, hell, look at the universe! It's huge! There has to be a place there for people to be born into. Whatever, my point is, read up some stuff about our history, realise that people believed in things for THOUSANDS of years (surely that equates to some sort of truth) and believe in something. It's healthy for you.
And now, on to tips and hints. It is cruicial to remember that death will affect your mentality, especially if the person you lost was close to you. It shatters our beautiful fairytale and replaces it with things like OCD, Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and others. Not necessarily, but traumatic events like death often act as a trigger to many of these, hence why I'd advice you to seek medical help of sorts. I, personally, don't approve of pills, but it might still be a good idea to see a doctor. Or go on the following quiz site, which will help you almost as much as a doctor: http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/
Next tip. Time heals, true or false? True. But don't expect it to be a short-term time frame. You're looking at years and years. It's not so much that the pain disappears, you just learn to live with it. It becomes part of you. You learn to breathe with it, sleep with it, even be happy with it. In other words, it gets easier. But don't expect for that hole to ever be gone, after all- that hole used to be filled up by someone important. But, we meet more people and they become precious too. Sometimes you just have to live for the future, you know? If you're a young girl, remember that one day you will be a mum. Be grateful to be alive, if only to see your future children look up at you in smiles.
Death can make us lose our will to live. We feel shattered and broken. But we must get up. Because we are not alone and people care about us and our well-being. It can be hard to notice other people's concerns, when you find yourself stuck in a total shit storm, but you've got to. There are people who would be just as broken if you suddenly decided that you didn't want to live anymore. Don't start a chain reaction.
My time to wrap this up has come. Learn from what I have said, understand my story and write your own. Talk to me if you want to, I will gratefully listen to your story and talk with you, just send me one into the inboxes. Don't give up, find some rays of light in your life, live for those other people you're afraid to lose and don't give up to death.