Inherent fear of dying

When we speak and think about death, our minds are filled with; sorrow, hurt, misery, etcetera. This is mainly because people are never sure of their next fate and are only consoled by their religious beliefs.

When we speak and think about death, our minds are filled with; sorrow, hurt, misery, etcetera. This is mainly because people are never sure of their next fate and are only consoled by their religious beliefs. The ‘either hell or heaven’ belief is too remote to be conceived by people and only remains mysterious. In many societies, people believe that death is not the end of life but a transition to another life. This can be traced in the earlier African traditional societies like the Zulu. For example, when a Zulu king died, he would be buried with a number of his subjects and property, due to a belief that his reign would continue on the other side of life. In many societies today, funeral rites are performed in remembrance of the dead. Around the world some people still consult ‘medians or psychics’ to connect them to the world of the dead and this implies that people don’t believe that the dead are dead. In some religions and societies people believe in recantation. Here a person who dies is transformed into another creature or plant depending on what their character was while still on earth. For instance, the native Indians in North America believe that at the time of death a spiritual leader will chant some sayings for the deceased and their spirit will move into another creature mostly wild animals or birds, which the deceased identified with. The majority of human beings have not come to terms with death and dying. Death being the fact of somebody dying or being killed- the end of life. Dying described as; the actual process of a life ending. Reasons why people fear dying vary. For many, their life on earth is too nice to leave. They cannot imagine leaving the good life where riches and money rule. A life without cars, beautiful women and men and the people they love, is inconceivable. “How can I even think of dying? I don’t have any children to carry my name on”, said Nyirawimana Augustine, a charcoal broker at Kimironko market. In this case, the man feels threatened. Different people have different goals and expectations and without them, dying is not an option. Some people who are finding life horrific on earth especially in war torn areas, places infested with severe famine and people who are living with a disease that is chronically painful, willingly welcome death but not ‘dying’. For them death means the end of pain and suffering. The slow painful process of dying is what threatens people who real do not see any more meaning in life. However, the deepest fear comes from the fact that they are not ready to face the unknown. No people truly believe that when they die, they expect something more on the other side of the world. Nevertheless, believers explain that, “in the ‘Tanack’ (the original Hebrew text from which the bible was translated) life is viewed as a cycle. Life does not come to an end but continues on to eternity and how you get there is your choice. You could either choose to die physically or get transformed to immortality without physically dying”. Furthermore, a number of people have come to terms with death and they do not view death as a bad thing but as a gateway to eternity. In Rick Warrens book ‘The Purpose driven Life’, death is just a time when your soul moves out of your body and from earth to eternity-heaven or hell; this being determined by how you live when on earth. According to the Bible, “If you live a righteous (accept Christ as your Lord and savior) and a sinless life you will go to heaven”. The overall problem resolves around the inherent fear of death and dying. There are some who fear death, those who fear dying and those who fear both. The fear of growing old is to some extent justified especially when one is immobile. Life becomes more meaningless especially when you are no longer able to perform what you used to do. You may be still loaded with ideas, but the fact that you cannot move around to demonstrate them perturbs too much. This is what we call ‘dying’, the state of getting slowly backwards to crawling like a baby. The retardation can be so trying and that is what people fear most. Nonetheless, it is meaningless to fear death and dying as the two are inevitable rites of passage. It is a phenomenon that all of us knows but unfortunately have failed to accept. It is indeed paradoxical! We cannot however, beat the paradox because it is inherent and when it is God’s case we do not appeal. Ends


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