I was reading an article in USAToday about six bodies found in a home in Pennsylvania. One body had a visible head wound, blood and bone fragments were found throughout the house, some of the bodies were wrapped in sheets, and one wrapped in a blanket secured with a phone cord.
I started thinking about the fragility of life.
What kind of person does this to an entire family… to anyone? A five-year old was among the dead.
The image of the person found wrapped in a blanket and tied with the phone cord stands out in my mind. I imagine this person being struck over the head, and then strangled with the same phone cord used to secure the blanket around the limp, lifeless body. I can almost feel this person struggle with the last breaths of life, the pain, the anxiety, the panic he or she must have felt. Then suddenly, nothing. Everything stops, the panic, the pain, the suffering, the struggle. During those final moments of the person’s life, was this person worried what was happening to the other family members? Was s/he already aware that others had been killed? The fear this person must have felt is overwhelming for me to comprehend, for any of us to comprehend.
Christianity teaches us to not fear death. In fact, if you go to a truly Christian funeral, many are called “Home-going” celebrations — where the soul of the departed is reunited with the Savior in heaven. It’s a pleasant and comforting thought.
Most religions/faiths have a belief of the after-life, the idea that one’s soul passes on to another state of consciousness. But it’s the exact moment of death that interests me most. The moment where awareness suddenly ends. I imagine it’s like falling asleep; one moment you are awake, thinking, breathing, seeing, feeling…then…nothing. Nothing?
This “nothingness” makes me wonder: is there something to it? Are we aware, at the moment of death, of the nothingness? Is death like what we’ve seen on television with the tunnel, the bright light, and the familiar figures of loved ones long lost?
If there is life after death, do we suddenly pass onto that life, aware of our “human” death or do we just start anew, unaware from where we came? I think about reincarnation, which is an interesting idea for me. As a Christian, I know I’m not supposed to believe it, but I’m not like most Christians. Nothing in this life is clearly black and white, so why would the next life be any different? If our souls are reincarnated to the next life, I wonder if it is a sudden event, or if there is a “waiting period” where the soul can ponder the mistakes made in the past, where one can thoughtfully contemplate the steps needed in the next life to reach the inevitable Nirvana.
I think as humans, we fear the idea of there not being life after death. This life is often so full of struggle, strife, and turmoil, the idea of there being something better afterwards is comforting for many. The idea of rewards in heaven, of riches and virgins and peace and harmony, of oneness with God, and everlasting love; it’s romantic and inspiriting.
I have a more universal theory on death and life thereafter. I like to think there is life after death. The thought that such a richly contemplative life can simply end in an instant doesn’t sit well with me. I need the deeper meaning. A person’s religion or faith does not matter much to me; I believe there is one Ultimate Truth we as Humans must learn. I believe there are constant lessons in our lives and signs all around that lead to this One Truth. And if we don’t quite it get it the first time around, we, our souls, are sent back again and again until we get it right.
I believe after death, once we’ve learned to recognize the signs in a way that is adequate to the Creator, all of the answers to our questions, the ultimate Truth, are revealed.
Maybe it sounds elementary, but it’s what makes the most sense to me, and I find comfort in it. And I think that when faced with my final moment of life, I won’t be afraid.