Posts Tagged ‘Dying’

Sitting in my office, jamming to some tunes suddenly from a far I hear feet shuffling on the freshly waxed floor. A smile comes across my face, because I know soon I will see my best friend Dale Brown. 
Through the Taoist point of view Dale had reached the rare state of enlightenment, where he was able to see the world through the eyes of a child. I am aware that this state was partially contributed to his illness, but none of that mattered. The brief moments where we were able to interact was always the highlight of my day. It is amazing how we seem to appreciate things so much more when they are gone.

It was the day before Thanksgiving 2009; I spent most of the day by Dale’s side. His biggest fear was being alone I held his hand, and tried to tell him that he is not alone, and everything is going to be ok. I feared that he was so far in the process that he was not able to hear me.

 Dale had just recently been taken off hospice, so he did not have someone by his side, on this day he seemed more alert then the days before. He had spent most his days just laying in bed, on this day Dale was moved out in the common areas in what I call the “death chair”. I call it this, because the residents who sit in this chair pass soon after.

When the day came to an end, I saw him sitting there, I said my goodbye’s knowing in my head that this would be the last time I would see him. There was so much I wanted to say to him, for some reason it did not come out.

I received the text on Thanksgiving eve that he had passed, looking back there are so many things I wished I would have said. I wish I would have given him a hug, and told him exactly how much he meant to me. I wish I told him he is loved.

I still hear shuffles coming from the hallway; I look up with a smile waiting to see his smiling face. I never see it, it has almost been two months and I still have not talked about it, accepted it, or discussed my feelings.

I did not intend on forming any relationships with the residents I work with.  Dale came into my life at a point where I needed a friend. The conversations we had were delusional, yet very personal. I could be myself, I did not need to hide my disease or who I really was, and neither did he. His smile was infectious and always brightened up my day.

He was here my first day at work, and in my mind I thought he would be here for many years to come. I hate that I never took the time to just sit back, and be mindful of the moment. I am angry and sad that I will never get that chance again. I am regretful I did not let him know the impact he had on my life. I wanted him to know that even in death he will always live on in my heart. Even as I write this my eyes well up in tears, yet I refuse to feel through it. I refuse to accept and let go.

Since his passing my days seem empty, and my heart breaks every time I hear the shuffling, only to look up and see that it isn’t him.

Repost. I still miss Dale, and know he had very few people in his life that cherished and loved him for who he was. I know Dale would pass no judgments on my own mental health. Miss and love you.

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My theory and many others on why religion was created is because the fear of death and the unknown. Ever since man developed complex emotions, and were then confronted with the realization of death and the knowledge of what a hardship is; they needed to construct something that would ease their fears and give them peace of mind in a chaotic world. These forefathers of religion created sun gods and moon gods. They worshipped these things because they had no concept of what they were; all they knew is somehow these two things had massive affects on their daily lives. I would also like to quickly point out that many civilizations did rituals and prayed for rain. They had no concept of how rain worked so they tacked it on to their religious beliefs. Not only did the earliest man need explanations for things they didn’t understand; they also needed to find something to ease their fears of what happens to you when you die. This fear of the ultimate unknown is the sole reason we have religion today.

It takes a strong individual to live their lives knowing they will somehow cease to exist. I know all to well this is a heavy burden to bear. We all want something more to believe in. We all want to somehow feel special. We all want to know somehow we will live on. These are the key driving points for the construction of faith. To illustrate this point I would like to quote a comment from my post “Religion and Anxiety-Reduction Theories.”

“If God and religion are all man-made constructs and there is nothing after this life, then why bother?”

I think this comment illustrates my point perfectly. I have grown to admire this reader’s thoughts and opinions and in no way am I saying she is weak. She was most likely raised to believe this. I do however think this shows a small chip in the armor of her faith. I have heard this comment before, and usually follow with “Is this your driving force to believe?” I tend to stump people on this point because it forces them to re-evaluate their beliefs. If they believe simply because this is the only way to give life meaning, or the only way to quell their fears of death then their faith is flawed. In essence their belief acts as a band-aid to cover up the deeper fears they have inside. We bother because it is our moral and ethical duty to improve the lives of our fellow man. We are here to cultivate a positive way of life for other generations to come. We do not need religion to dictate us to achieve these things; we only need to look into our hearts.

Religion has evolved over time, but every religion is built upon one another. With each new version declaring they are the only version. The concept of a virgin birth was described well before Christianity was created. For example the birth of Buddha was described as a virgin birth in the “Nidanakatha”

“The Brahmans said, ‘Be not anxious, O king! Your queen has conceived: and the fruit of her womb will be a man-child; it will not be a woman-child. You will have a son. And he, if he adopts a householder’s life, will become a king, a Universal Monarch; but if, leaving his home, he adopt the religious life, he will become a Buddha, who will remove from the world the veils of ignorance and sin.'”

This is but one example;virgin births were also described in Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Mithra, Mithras, and the Greco-Roman Mythology. This is by no means the complete list I am sure it goes on and on. In addition to this Muslim, Hinduism, and Taoism also have stories of a miraculous births. The one I find most interesting is one that precedes Christianity and Judaism the ancient religion of Persia “Zoroastrianism.” In this religion it not only describes a virgin birth, but it also has the messiah, death and resurrection, a final battle between good and evil, and the resurrection of the dead to stand judgment. This and others are perfect examples to describe the evolution of religion.

Creation stories, miraculous births, the death and resurrection of a messiah, and end times are all parts of every religion past and present. Each and every religion is just built upon one another. With each new edition religion evolves into something different than what it was before. Religion is like a fable passed on from generation to generation. In a sense it is like playing telephone, with each new generation the original concept gets changed and turned into what we have today. I feel there have been no new changes to religion because we live in a society that does not allow a change to happen. Everything is set as is, and everyone knows what is on the table. Trying to change a religious concept via word of mouth is simply just not possible. Those who try ultimately end up being defined as cults. In the end the purposes to believe in religion are all the same. We ask the exact same questions are ancestors asked, and we share their same fears. We cling onto religion because it just makes sense. We tend to look at other religions and judge them compared to our beliefs. We turn our nose to them claiming we are right, and their beliefs are silly. I am just as guilty of this as they are.

I came up with the quote “conceived in the weak” not because I am calling the religious weak. I am illustrating how our beliefs at their core are because of our fears. I think I am the perfect example of this. Right now I consider myself as being weak, because I have lost the strength to accept the reality of nothingness. Once this fear crept into my conscience I immediately sought out religion to ease my fears. I am searching for answers to questions which cannot be answered. If I were to latch on to Christianity to make myself feel better I really wouldn’t be a Christian because the only reason I am a Christian is because I fear the great unknown. I would be a fake; a liar, and a coward. I desperately need to find faith, but I am hindered by my reasoning and logic. Perhaps all my new religious readers who have offered me guidance are the sign from God I have always asked for, but perhaps it is all just a coincidence. These are the questions I ask myself. I ask them because of the intense fear inside of me. Perhaps God is placing this fear inside of me, and delivered me my readers to bring me to God, but perhaps the fear is there because death is really f’ing scary.

If we did not fear death, if we did not fear the unknown, if we didn’t need to see the light within chaos there would be no need for religion.

The one component of my mental illness I dread the most is my crippling depression. I would rather deal with my psychotic episodes (thoughts) than my depressive episodes (feelings.) This depression can get so intense I feel as if I am lost in a forest of darkness with no glimmer of hope ahead. The longer I stay entrenched in this darkness the direr the situation can become. Like my other symptoms my depression has gotten worse as I have aged, as a result my suicidal thoughts have increased when I am walking in the fog of obscurity. One of the things which keep me from following through with this act is my atheist beliefs. I fear death on so many levels, and as a result I have never had the courage to set myself free. Perhaps this is a blessing, but I sometimes view this as a curse.       

I think my belief in nothing compounded with my fear of nothing has saved my life many times. The actual concept of death doesn’t scare me and at times I welcome it. I believe once you are dead then you are dead end of story. You cease to exist, and you are either buried or burned. These beliefs bring me such comfort, yet at the same time bring me a great deal of anxiety. My primary fear is centered on the absence of thought. The reality that once I die I will no longer be able to think is mind bending and terrifying. Right now I am able to sit here and think about what I think death will be like, but once I die I will not be able to think to myself “oh this is what death is like.” There has been one never faltering aspect in my life, and that is the presence of my thoughts. The reality of losing this haunts me.

I do not think us as humans can fully grasp the concept of infinity, nor can we grasp the real concept of nothingness. Can you sit there and honestly say your mind can understand that the universe never comes to an end? If your knee jerk reaction is a confident “yes” than you have not spent enough time truly challenging this concept; everything we know comes to an end eventually. The same can be said about nothingness, everything we know is something. Even the void of space still encompasses something. Now try and sit there and wonder what it would be like if you were to never have another thought or feeling again.  I am 100% okay with the concept of never feeling again, but not okay with never thinking.

This brings me to the conundrum of what it will be like if I ever find faith. I wonder where my mind will be when I hit a deep depression if I fully believe I will go somewhere better when I die. Will I have just lost my primary motivation from keeping me from following through with it?

Over the last couple weeks I have been confronted with my own mortality. This has become a crippling fear which is overwhelming me. It all started from reading my Sports Illustrated. In the beginning they have these small little blurbs, and I begun to notice there were many people who were dying of cancer at a relatively young age. I am not talking as young as say twenty-five; I am saying these guys were dropping dead in their fifties or sixties. This concept has been eating away at me. I think that I may only have twenty to thirty years left to live, and my first thirty-one years have gone by in a heart beat. I smoke and chew so my time may be even sooner than that. So this has been bothering me, but what really set me off was a response I received from one of my Facebook status messages. It was from my cousin reminiscing about our youth. I sat back and realized this time, and it seemed like just yesterday. Yuk! I am festering with fear right at this very moment.

This comment has been hanging over my head like a dark rain cloud. I remember going to see my grandparents over the weekend with my dad. Their place is as clear in my mind as if I just saw it yesterday. I remember catching salamanders and snakes, and exploring their gigantic garage, which seemed to have a little bit of everything in it. I remember picking raspberries and exploring the massive woods around their property. These memories are so fresh in my mind yet were over twenty years ago. In sitting here I can bring up emotions and feelings I had during this time, and the thought I will never experience them again terrifies me. I will never again know and feel what it is like to be six or even thirteen years old. I am stuck in the age that I am in, and at times I feel like a prisoner inside of myself.

It is amazing how fast time goes, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Tomorrow will come regardless if we want it to or not. One guarantee in life is every year you are moving closer to death. I end up focusing on this very fact and it blinds me from seeing today. There will never be another day like today. It will slip away from you if you do not siege the present moment. If I am unable to be completely present in what is going on right at this moment then I am cheating myself out of yet another day. If I continue to fear my own mortality before I know it I will soon be confronted with it. The last thing I want is to look back during my dying breath and realize I lost so much time worrying about this very moment.

I really do not want to die, I mean who does. There are times when life is at its worst when I dream of being released from my torture, but these times have grown to be few and far between. I am so afraid of the concept of never having another thought. I fear being lowered into the ground and in time forgotten. When you think of the millions upon millions who have died in the last twenty years how many of them do you think are truly remembered? I know I never think of my great grandparents and I have zero memories of their lives. They have been forgotten and yet life still moves on. Time does not care about anything and is as cruel as the devil himself. It can never be conquered. Even the mightiest armies will fall to father time, if this is so then what chance do I have?