Who decides what death is when we are yet alive? Breathing and yet not really living, why is the fear of the unknown more than the hell we bear? Death is probably simply a question of what you want it to be. Everything in this world changes and the only definite unchanging thing is death. Death, the biggest reality, the most ignored, the best permanent cure of pain.
I was a little girl when death took away my brother's friend Philip. Perhaps, thereafter, we lost a lot of friends, family members, watched in horror as the world around us fell apart and the televisions became the visual medium feeding us with so much of horror that we have now become immune to what can move us and cannot. My closest experience was when my Biji (grand-mother) passed away. Life is short I realized. If you wish to say something to someone, say it. If you wish to hug, go ahead and embrace it. If you wish to love, do it. You just never know when it will slip through your fingers. I had another experience dealing with it when one of my dear friends' mother passed away. The process teaches you so much!
What does one do with death? I am awkward with condolences and the loss of a person really. There! I said it. I am not immune or indifferent. My threshold for hanging on to loss and pain is different; intense, meaningful and short. I prefer it that way now. It gives me more moments to celebrate the good about the person I have lost, remember and smile instead of cry. Isn't that better? I come across as indifferent perhaps but then I cannot live up to others' measurement of my loss or pain. Who decides how much is acceptable? And why?
Either way, I see more dead people walking and going about their daily routines than those who have stopped breathing. Have you ever met someone who wakes up really early morning and prays and then goes about in the next few hours abusing the house-help or the driver or the child, wife, husband, father, mother...what have you? That is a dead person. Death of kindness.
For instance, the man who whistles to a waiter/waitress instead of calling out to him/her? The youngster who doesn't stand up to offer his/her seat to an aged person, a pregnant woman? The people in the commute who push and shove the tiny frail ones, the ones who look poorer than them, those who are short? Death of courtesy.
The people who watched while a bride burned to death, a child molested, a woman or man sexually abused in public (or otherwise) and watched, driving past an accident victim without stopping to help? Death of selflessness and compassion.
I could go on....but you get the drift of it.
Who are we to fear death when so much around us is killed, so much of ourselves we kill? Yes, I die too sometimes because self-preservation pushes me to smother some of the instinctive reactions I would normally have. I have had my experiences where I have stood afloat somewhere, watching myself be, deciding whether to let go or tell myself it is not yet time. Yes, I have had those moments. One wishes not to return mostly. I did.
Death is my biggest motivator. It is unchanging. It gives me the opportunity to cherish those I have in my life, those who love me unconditionally, presents to me each new moment that I have to make the most of. An unproductive day nags at me, not because I did not earn money out of it but the satisfaction of having lived it up! At the back of my head, it nudges me, fires up my zest for life, to breathe in love and energy.
I know when I am dead. I am dead when I cannot feel; passion, love, joy, sadness, pain. That ever happen to you? To me, the phase was my worst ever when I felt no passion at all. But then, that's just me.
Mostly, it is whatever works for you.