People and Society

Death: The Inevitable End

“What do we say to death ?”
“Not today.”

Iconic lines from the television Game of Thrones. A line that kept Arya Stark going through tough times. It is also an embodiment of not giving up when the going gets tough.

But I feel like writing about death today. You could ask why. I have two reasons. Firstly, death is a fascinating topic. Secondly, people shy away from talking about it. But what is prompting me to air my thoughts on it?

Recently I watched a movie ‘The Sky is Pink’ , based on the life of teenager Aisha Chaudhary who had a short life due to the medical condition she was born with. The portrayal of Aisha by Zaira Wasim as she accepts the inevitability of her death is quite poignant and it got me thinking.

Loss of hope is a factor prominently associated with death. When there is no hope, despair begins to set in. In this situation, an individual begins to despair of life and fears death. However, in this journey called life, death is the destination at the end of a journey. Yet, why do we fear death?

Death is absolute and inevitable. Every being on this planet has a definite time to live. At the end of this time, people say their goodbyes to this mortal plane of existence. But how people spend their time between the irrefutable events of birth and death is what defines their life. That is how they are remembered.

But the life and death of no two individuals is exactly the same. So people deal with death in different ways. Some people just die once, some people die every day. Some people die early and some people die later. But there is no escape from the cold embrace of death.

So why fear something that is inevitable?

Is it because the thought of death makes people aware of their mortality or they see the unrequited and unfulfilled dreams evaporate in front of their very own eyes that makes to be wary of death?

Outside of science fiction and fantasy, mortality is a fact. Our life spans are finite. It can be threatened at any point of time. Your mortality can be thrown in your face to give you stark reminders to make you appreciate or question your existence. It can be put in danger either by a person’s individual actions or from events conspiring to put you in mortal danger.

I was quite blithely made aware of my mortality twice in the span of last 18 months. To do this date, I still can’t figure out what caused a cancer to be formed in my blood but the series of events that led to it being detected and my subsequent hospitalisation pointed out that I can’t take life for granted.

The second instance, where I had to confront my mortality was a creation of my own. Stuck in a place with no possible future to lead a happy and successful life due to wrong education choices made me question my existence. A high jump off a high rise building did seem to be a good idea for a while. Fortunately, better sense prevailed. Enabling me to discuss it with people today.

People are pushed into the throes of death with a lot of reluctance. The premise is applicable to both the instances narrated. When I was hospitalised, I was lucky enough for the cancerous to be detected early as death definitely was not featuring in my future plans at that point in time. In the second instance, though I was more welcoming of it, I was hoping for a miracle to avoid it. And the miracle did happen!

Now, coming back to the morbid discussion of death, which has already been established as inevitable, why ponder over an event which is destined to happen? Why shroud ourselves in fear of an unknown future? But a coping mechanism does help to deal with it. So, how do we deal with the event called death? How can shift focus to imagining a beautiful life instead of a morbid end?

On a philosophical and pragmatic scale, surrounding ourselves with a support system that accepts our successes and failures will go a long way. The knowledge of that confidence helps you battle your demons better. Or you could just stare death in the eye and say ‘Not today’.

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