"In the Tibetan philosophy, Sylvia Plath sense of the word, we're all dying."

By: Sarah

On March 28, at the age of 65, Richard Griffiths died of complications following heart surgery. Griffiths, also known as the infamous Uncle Vernon Dursley from the Harry Potter series, got me to thinking about something I actually hate thinking about.

Something that, from time to time, gives me panic attacks. Something that I usually don’t even let cross my mind because it’s so unsettling.

Death.

But today, I want to talk about it. And what I write might be jumbled and out of order and maybe even naïve, but those emotions echo my thoughts on death. No one can ever truly understand it until they’ve gone through it, I feel.

Dying is the one thing that every single human being and creature has in common. Sometimes I wish I had that sort of blind optimism that I had as a child – before I knew even what death was. But whether we accept it or not, we are all going to die.

And we’re going to watch people we love die. And people we admire. Provided I live the 80-90 years I am given in this body, I will watch Meryl Streep die. And Tom Hanks. And J.K. Rowling.

This may seem silly – to care so much about people I have never and will never meet dying. But, with social media today, it’s almost like I know these people. I can read what they’re doing through tweets and instagrams. I can watch them become characters on a screen or their true selves in interviews on YouTube. So, when they do die, like Griffiths, it’s like someone I know and cared for died.

I will also watch my parents die. And other relatives. And some of my friends.

So then, what’s the point of living? What’s the point of experiencing the heartbreak of watching someone you care for die? What’s the point of spending countless amounts of money on school and getting a job and doing anything really if we are just going to die in the end?

I think the point of it all is to do something worth remembering. To change a few lives. To experience what the world has to offer in the short time you have on it.

Humans die twice, I think. Once when their souls leave their bodies. And a second time when they are forgotten.

Personally, I don’t want to be forgotten. And I think that is what freaks me out about death so much. Richard Griffiths won’t be forgotten. But me? I think I’m finally having the realization that I need to do something great with my life.

I also am starting to realize that I shouldn’t fear death. There’s this part of Jainism (an Indian religion that emphasizes spiritual independence and equality between all forms of life) I like, called Skama marana.

Skama marana says, “He who is not afraid at the time of death, dies by welcoming death as a festival. He, who is born, necessarily dies. There is no way to avoid death. Then why raise a hue and cry about and against death? Thinking on these lines, he who entertains good thoughts at the time of death, requests for pardon of others and dies with good feelings.”

This is something I would like to work toward. Because currently, I’m afraid of dying. And I’m afraid of being forgotten. However, I am not afraid to live. I’m not afraid to try great things. I want to be remembered. And that, I think, is what makes all the difference.

So, I raise my wand to you, Uncle Vernon. And those to follow. Whether you are forgotten or not, I hope your life was memorable.

Oh, hello!

Oh, hello!
We're Sarah and Kaitlyn, roommates from Milwaukee who started this blog to promote creativity and life.
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