Death in the Obituary Department


I work with death everyday.  I take calls about the dead.  I correct writing about the dead.  I confirm deaths.  What an odd job left for those who are living to undertake.  Inevitably, the omnipresence that is death seeps into your consciousness and you ponder what exactly is death.  What is the meaning of a life lived?  You’re left with more questions than answers and the thing I must accept is that all my questions are not meant to be answered.  Obituaries are quite mundane, spelling out the the accomplishments and progeny of a person, but not their hopes, dreams, and fears.  What happens after you die?

If anyone purports to know exactly what happens after you die, they are lying.  We fear death and so, we assuage our frightful thoughts with the imaginary, for we could only imagine what is life after death.  I used to think this arcane and foolish, but as of recently, I’ve come to accept that we all need a little imagination in our lives.  I would highly recommend a video with author Margaret Atwood, who explains that she knows what she believes is not real, but it’s a fantasy she’s willing to accept because it is better than reality.

That is religion in a nut shell, and I see how detrimental it can become.  Here, I offer a caveat.  Believe what you want, but know that belief is not knowledge.  Oftentimes, people confuse the two and then say things like the world is 6,000 years old or we should never use birth control.  And yet it is our fear of death that helps ingrain that belief is knowledge, when it is not.  When you understand fear, you can understand how powerful it is and how it can be used as a tool.  Death is but a reminder that all good things must come to an end.  And because of that, it is the only thing we will never overcome, so we must accept.  Accept who it is that you are, the body you reside in, the times you live in, what you can and cannot change, and live with what you have done.

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