What Death Taught Me About Life

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Death doesn’t care about your ethnicity, sex, religion, or socioeconomic status.

Death doesn’t give a shit if you’re poor or wealthy, a doctor who found a cure for a type of cancer or if you’re the sadistic psychopath serial killer who just blew that doc’s head off.

No matter your age or who you are, death will always find you no matter where you live.

Death always seems to be the elephant in the room.

Most ignore and try not to address it, but it slowly finds a way to creep into everybody’s psyche.

When someone dies, people like to say, “It was his time, or it must have been her time.”

That makes no logical sense as time is irrelevant, it is not subject, its objective to the human looking at it, and it is non-existent in the spiritual dimensions.

Humans invented time and only seem relevant to the 3D form.

I don’t think other species on earth have the concept of time or death,  as most animals don’t have the same brain parts that can process that type of information.

What is time exactly?

It’s a theory most abide by.

Is time a part of the simulation?

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Death is Avoided 

Death has a bad rap today in the modern western world.

It’s mostly ignored and not dealt with until too late for many.

Many bury the dead 6 feet into the ground on land space, owned mainly by the Catholic Church.

Then it’s more so a sad event, black and dark, when it should be rainbows and celebrations more potent than any birthday.

Since 2010 I have lost over 40 friends and family members, I consider friends as people I knew a minimum of 2 years, but the majority I knew my whole life.

I made a joke on New Year’s to my girlfriend that I bet 2020 will be a good year with no death and no funerals.

But, of course, COVID had other plans last year and lost an Uncle to COVID in March of 2020. I also lost three friends later that year, but not all simultaneously.

At the start of 2021, I didn’t say anything out loud, but I thought this year couldn’t be any worse than the last.

It is the beginning of April of 2021, and I have lost seven friends and family members, including my grandfather (he always wanted me to call him that, but he had no choice but to settle for the more accessible word: papa).

What I have learned about losing a small village worth of people over the last 11 years is:

Celebrate Death

This is how countries around the world celebrate death, with cultures far much older than ours:

Japan

  • The Japanese commemorate the dead by the celebration of the Obon Festival. The tradition is said to have been started about 500 years ago by a Buddhist or Buddhist. The Oben Festival lasts three days, from the 13th to the 15th of the 7th month of the lunar calendar.
  • During these three days, the Japanese placed lanterns around lakes, rivers, and cities to help guide them back to their origins. During this time, families go together to the graves of loved ones to pray and clean.
  • Similar traditions are found amongst Northern Asian cultures by respecting their ancestors by visiting their graves and light lanterns.

China

  • Qingming is the most significant remembrance of the dead in China. The Chinese celebrate this day by taking care of family and other loved ones’ graves, picking weeds, adding new soil, and cleaning the tombstone and surroundings.
  • The current traditions involve people bringing paper to the graves that symbolizes money as an offering for those who’ve passed.
  • Families also tie lanterns to kites and fly them. Again, it is a representation of good fortune.

South Korea

  • South Koreans celebrate their ancestors during their Chuseok festival.
  • Chuseok is considered the biggest holiday in South Korea, and it is their version of thanksgiving.
  • Chuseok is celebrated on the 15th of August. They believe their ancestors harvest the grains, crops, and fruits during this time. The Koreans indulge in their favourite dishes, including bulgogi, songpyeon, and japchae.
  • Families wake up early on this day to prepare their tables for their dead ancestors. Then, they bow twice at the table to their ancestors to wait for them to accept their gifts, a Charley ritual.
  • When the ritual of Charley is over, that is when they eat. When they finish eating, they continue to honour the dead by visiting their tombstones.

Poland

  • Polish people who have passed have their doors and windows left open as it is believed that the soul needs an open path to reach the spiritual realm. Also, clocks are stopped, and mirrors are covered.

Ireland

  • People in Ireland also leave their windows, except they open for 2 hours.
  • They believe that the soul has to have a path to descend.
  • If a person blocks the way, they think that person will have bad luck. After 2 hours, the windows are closed, preventing the soul from coming back.

Ghana

  • It’s not uncommon for people to have their coffins built into shapes of airplanes or animals to represent something meaningful to that deceased person.

Nigeria

  • In Nigeria, people sacrifice animals and print posters to announce the death of a loved one.

Death shouldn’t be the elephant in the room. Instead, it should be discussed like a birthday. First, people should be encouraged to specify how they would like to see their life celebrated. Then, like birthdays, the day that person passes should be celebrated every year to keep that person’s soul alive in the family and friends’ lives they impacted.

Death shouldn’t be ignored and accompanied by a 3-hour funeral where everyone wears black, and the body is either reduced to ash or buried 6 feet in the ground then forgot about. Death is celebrated with more emphasis than a 100th birthday. Not everyone will celebrate a birthday, but everyone has an opportunity to celebrate people’s lives when they die.

Dean Mathers

Editor-in-chief

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