The Icy Cold Fingers Of Death (A Cheerful Holiday Post)
I have always treasured the following words by Mark Twain, who wrote, “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” He spoke the truth. When we die, it will be as if we were never born. While physically we may change from one type of matter to another, the flame that flickered so briefly within will be forever extinguished. The world will continue around us, and we will leave behind our children, our art, and the effects of our deeds during our days spent on earth. Our death may be painful to some, but life will go on, and eventually those who mourn will forget.
That said, when it comes to the topic of death, my heart belongs to Oscar Wilde, who wrote, “Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.” While obviously written with poetic license, Wilde captures the essence of how I view death — as final, eternal, peace.
And then there’s Shakespeare, whose words have been felt by a million weary travelers on this path we all share:
To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.
To die, to sleep–No more–and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to.
‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished…
I have stood on the precipice, and occasionally, I’ve slipped. But my love for others is what makes the daily struggle worthwhile. Life is too precious and valuable to give up. We have no souls; science and experience have shown that we are our brains and bodies, and that is all. There is no help coming from above. Nor do I wish for any. I see death as the logical, natural, and beautiful end to life.
Occasionally, I wonder if the way I feel about death influences or inspires my godlessness. I don’t want eternal existence, and I obviously don’t want to spend it with the monstrosities that human beings have invented as their gods. I have no use or desire for heaven. The only things I fear are the pain of life, and the loss of those I love. But I have to realize that occasionally, my loss is also an end to the suffering of others, and thus, their gain. Ironically, in the end, it is the comfort of death that keeps me alive. And while I live, I want to experience all the beauty, passion, and wonder that life has to offer. I don’t want to take more than my share, and I want to make the world a tiny bit better for those who are left behind. If I can do that, then I will consider my life a success.
Suicide smiles, its beckoning grin,
Holds promise of peace, release from your sin.
Suicide smiles, through the fear and the pain,
It offers solace; it ruptures the chain.
Suicide smiles, while telling its lies,
There’s something ignoble in those hollow eyes.
And when you reach out for its welcoming hands,
It whisks you away to invisible lands.
While in body and mind you will no longer live,
You’ll leave others behind to mourn and to grieve.
For death’s not a problem for those who are dead,
It maliciously tortures the living instead.
Suicide smiles, with its ice-razor stare
It taunts you so sharply with pointed despair.
Suicide rages, since it’s still your choice,
And you’re still resisting the call of its voice.