The Art of Death

By Sneha Saha
Picture Credits
Vogue Italia

“Death is not the opposite of life

but a part of it.”

-Haruki Murakami

With the recent pandemic taking over the world, there has been one persistent thought that has been at the forefront of my mind or pretty much, I guess, everyone else’s too-the fear of facing death. So if you are one of them, you might want to dive in further as to know why death is nothing but just a part of life, as Murakami said.

You see, birth comes with death; they come hand in hand. And it is death that brings with it the beauty of uncertainty, the hopefulness for tomorrow. Have you ever thought how mundane our existence would have been if we knew that we were to live forever? There would be days when it would be just as tedious and dull to watch every sunrise as to see the stars and the moon every night.

Our inescapable mortality is a law of nature and this impending death that awaits for us makes us even more human, more alive.

However, if you have seen the movie ‘The stoning of Soraya M’ you would definitely know what I am trying to convey. When Soraya, the protagonist, is led to execution based on a false allegation set by her husband against her to get her out of his way, Soraya is asked by her grieving aunt before the trial if she is afraid of death. Soraya vehemently answers that what she is afraid of is not death, rather dying. She concludes, “I am afraid of the pain of my death, the pain from the stones, but I am at peace with myself and my God.”

Her reaction has left the audience with a cliffhanger and made everyone invest an ample amount of thoughts on it. Death is an inevitability we cannot deny but it is also a constant reminder that demands us to enjoy the present and of course spend the limited time we have in our hands with our family and friends, expressing our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude at every step. While musing over death it also rings a bell that like Soraya, I am not afraid of death but afraid of the ones I’m going to leave behind.

It is both sad and comforting to know that our words shall go on to live farther more days and our voices shall travel farther more miles in the memories of others after our existence is removed from the cycle of this universe.

I am not immortal and tomorrow I might not walk on this earth and knowing that death is coming, maybe sooner or later, makes life more worth living for. When someday the breath of life unhinges itself from the cares of my body, I will muse over the love I have earned and the opportunities I have received to love in return so that when I’m gone, my family and friends would have rich memories to cherish of the times together.  

At the age of fifteen life threw a crazy curveball at me, such that I had to bid my final adieu to the most important person in my life-my father. It was at that instant that realization dawned on me out-of-the-blue- the moment we are living right now becomes a memory the next and we leave this world, handing it off to those who are still living, breathing and actively participating in life’s choices and goals awaiting.

On the other hand, many times I have seen people considering death as the separation of the soul from the body, a moment of separation and goodbye from this world. But if you ask me, I would rather say something different. To me, death is the drifting away of the reality from you, of what you know now or have known since years- family, friends, relatives, and etcetera. 

I think the only reason people are so afraid of facing death is because it throws you into an oblivion and what seems real to you now suddenly ceases to exist. So what really happens to all the struggles, accomplishments, failures and lessons you have acquired throughout your life? Do they just float off into space as specks of dust or become a part of history with a summarized biography including dates of birth and death, spouse and children’s names?

I believe that on the last days what is going to matter most will be the knowledge and experiences I had gained so that I leave this world with an eternal understanding that I had not failed as a human or to humanity and I guess that will be enough.

“We all die.
The goal isn’t to live forever,
the goal is to create something that will.”

Chuck Palahniuk

So what do you think now?

Are you afraid of death? Or dying?

To read more musings, click here.