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Do You ever Wonder about Your Own Death?

Do you walk in Beauty?

Brief life, Long death

I’ve wondered often about death, for as long back as I can remember. I’ve thought quite often of the cessation of life– of what happens when I cease to exist. Probably because I’ve seen quite a few deaths up close and personal, lost family members to illness or accident.

What gloom and doom, I can hear some of you say– but the fact is, if you’re reading this, you’re alive. And if you’re alive, you’re going to die, just like me or anyone else, all living creatures must die.

This morning I read an article by journalist and philosopher Stephen Cave who wonders about a fly he has accidentally swatted to death.

“…it seems to me quite reasonable to think that the death of the fly is entirely insignificant and that it is at the same time a kind of catastrophe. To entertain such contradictions is always uncomfortable, but in this case the dissonance echoes far and wide, bouncing off countless other decisions about what to buy, what to eat – what to kill; highlighting the inconsistencies in our philosophies, our attempts to make sense of our place in the world and our relations to our co‑inhabitants on Earth. The reality is that we do not know what to think about death: not that of a fly, or of a dog or a pig, or of ourselves.”

He goes on to wonder at length about the significance of death, our own and that of the people and living beings around us, and I think the entire article is well worth the read.

 I’m not entirely sure what I think of death, mine, or anyone/anything else’s. I’ve written, briefly, about death on this blog. About the death of my fish, the cyclic death of fish babies, and their mating parents, of my betta and his suffering.
From the post about my dead betta, written three years ago:
But then, what do I know of suffering, and how do I know whether a short suffering is any less hard to bear than a prolonged one? Does a small fish suffer? Does it suffer as much as a human? Is the suffering of the human more evident to me because a human is bigger than a small fish, and the fact that I am a human myself?
I’ve blogged less often of the loss of family members and friends, and then not directly, because this isn’t really a very personal blog. But as anyone who has read my fiction would know– my preoccupation with death and suffering has remained– be it accidental, suicide, or murder and a variety of deaths in between.
My thoughts might change, but as of today, I believe a death hurts as much as the attachment to the dead person or animal or plant.
  • Which is why a friend’s death is devastating, whereas a man dying on the opposite side of the world, who you read about in the news, causes much less alarm. A pet’s death is painful, but the death of a random fly or snail isn’t.
  • Following from this, the prospect of one’s own death is the most scary to some of people, because they’re most attached to themselves, or their survival instincts are alive and kicking. Which isn’t a bad thing.
  • The bad bit, according to me, at least, is not confronting death at all, keeping it taboo, a faraway topic to avoid. No point in trying to ignore the inevitable. Not that thinking about death day and night is the solution, but thinking about it once in a while can’t be all that bad.
What about you? Do you think of death? Your own death? The death of those you have lost? How significant is a fly’s death: is it a tragedy, or a catastrophe, or both?
For anyone reading this post without a blog account– the discussion is also up on my Facebook Page: Damyanti at Daily Write . Would love to have your Facebook comments there.
Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • gina amos says:

    I’ve been contemplating your post, mulling it over in my mind for the past few days and I have come to the conclusion it is not the timing of my demise that concerns me so much as the way in which I will die. Will I suffer a slow, lingering death? Will I welcome it? Will I still have my faculties, my sense of humour?
    My hope is that I would have spent a lovely sunny day overlooking the ocean, with family and friends, drinking wine, eating , laughing, lots of good conversation before going home for a little nap from which I never wake.

  • I think there are a number of us who aren’t afraid of exploring the significance of death. I made a career of it and still wonder about the nature of death and how it informs life. It’s something that people don’t talk about much in the US, so the process of dying, death, and grieving is often done in a vacuum. Thanks for the great discussion here.

  • gina amos says:

    Reblogged this on DEATH BY GINA.

  • Chris Tryon says:

    I faced death almost four years ago with a diagnoses of breast cancer. I had a 50% chance of not being alive in six months. Facing my own mortality helped me to find one of the many purposes that I have for living. It’s not a question of when are we going to die, but when are we going to start living?

    As far as your question about killing a fly is concerned, I feel very little guilt when I kill an insect -whether it is intentional or not. (Most of the time it is-especially if it is a stinging insect!) Human life is precious to me. Not just my own, but everyone that I know on a personal level or the people that I ‘meet in my neighborhood.’

  • violafury says:

    It is interesting bringing this up now. I went through this period of “existential dread” that probably started when I was about 9 years old and a lot of it had to do with an awareness of how flawed my life was, even at that young an age. My mother had tried to commit suicide when I was about 7, and although the adults in my life told me she had gone “shopping” (really? in the middle of the night, in a building that looks suspiciously like a hospital, with ambulances and flashing lights?) I knew different.

    That one act forever soured what had been up until then for the most part, my parents’ loving marriage, and it turned swiftly venomous, bitter and vituperative. So, from about the age of 16 on, I was in a state of depression, and I already was aware that things were birthed, lived and died. My father was much more honest with me when I was a child, than my mother was and once, when I asked him “When do we die, Daddy?” (at about age 6) he answered me, “From the moment we are born.” I thought that an interesting answer then and still do.

    Conversely though, it was my mother who was the stronger of the two and fought harder for her life than my father did. My father was an alcoholic, and not one of the bad kind. He always had a job, he was always very good and patient with me, and as an only child, we spent a lot of time together; he was my initial care-giver in this life and we understood one another on a level my mother and I never did, until I became an adult. My parents, flawed though they were, were wonderful people, and they’ve both passed on. I do think about my own death and know that some day I’ll shuffle off this mortal coil. It is the way of everything. But, life is really about change, as is death. We’re frightened by what we don’t know and don’t understand, and since messages from the beyond seem to either come to us scrambled or or being lost in the ether or cybersphere or the cosmos, we really have no clue what happens and we all hate a mystery.

    This is a wonderful topic and not morbid. The fact that I’m still running around like a crazed teenager and having a blast at age 59 daunts me not one iota, despite the fact that I’ve had some horrendous things happen. It’s called “life”. Thank you, Damyanti! You are wonderful!

  • Hi Damayanti, An interesting blogpost. Your topic actually, inspired me to start write an article which I will publish soon.I will let you know once I post it. Take care and keep up the good work.

  • I wrote about death in my last (upbeat) novel, Border Line. I don’t much fancy dying, but I will be happy to be dead, as I think that it the end – as it is for the fly. I agree that hurt is commensurate with attachment, it is the living who suffer.

    • violafury says:

      I did not address that in my comment, but yes, the hurt commensurate with the loss of a dearly loved person, or pet is just almost unbearable. I really don’t think I’m that attached so much to my own magnificence (snort) to wish it on existence for eternity! 😀

  • Sheila says:

    As a nurse who was at one time the Transplantation Coordinator and later Director of Hospice, the dying process and death has had a significant impact in my life. I’m probably more comfortable with the topic than most. Death is hard on the survivors (not that it is a piece of cake for the one dying) and as a result of my experiences I’ve done what I can to make my passing easier on my survivors. I have written my own obituary, planned my funeral and placed it in a notebook along with many other documents they made need afterwards. And yes, I write a lot about death. My husband jokes that I know 350 ways to kill him; not quite.

  • Ashish kumar says:

    This one is very nicely penned… yes its true we are alive today and we will be dead some time in future which is really going to happen… it is one of the truth which is surely going to happen… we cannot avoid it…
    a brilliant writing as always… 🙂

  • This was a very thoughtful look at a rather difficult topic. To tell the truth, the idea of my own death doesn’t bother me much. I know my time on this earth is finite, so I try to enjoy it while I can.

  • When you get old, you come to terms with it. Death is part of living. It’s not something to be feared or even, necessarily, to be avoided. Certainly not at all costs.

    After my mother died, I came to understand that when we mourn the loss of another, we mourn ourselves.

  • First time on your blog, so just wanted to tell you that the place looks inspiring. Love this kind of blogs.

    On topic. I think that my way of dealing with death is writing about it. It doesn’t mean that characters are dying like flies in my books, but my genre allows stories connected to Karma and reincarnations, which are both prolonging life as we know it beyond death. Myself, I believe in both those concepts and it does provide me consolation regarding my own death. Not so much about death of other people.

    I haven’t witnessed much loss in my life, but I know that I’m going to have to see my grand-parents go soon and my parents too, eventually. In the end of the day, what happens to them after they die change nothing to us, the living. They still go away. It still hurts. And I think it’s impossible to come to terms with losing someone precious. It’ll never be right even if you (somehow) get a proof they went to Haven. Maybe they did. But without you.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks for your kind words about my blog.

      Love, loss, and death– such hard topics, and yet so relevant to all our lives, without exception. Whatever consoles us, keeps us peaceful, and compassionate is definitely the way to be, and believe.

  • Reblogged this on Books and More.

  • Brian Bixby says:

    Having grown up with institutionalized forms of death (see blog link at end of comment), I’ve never been able to escape thinking of death, not that I’ve tried. Yet as I get older, and closer to death, I think more about the lives people lead. Since we only see how people behave, not how they think (except insofar as writing reveals more of their mental processes), it’s hard to realize that every person has their own complexity of thoughts and dreams, motivations and fears. And death extinguishes all of these (or at least radically transforms them). So these days I contemplate mostly what is lost when someone dies.

    Of course, when I was younger it was different:

  • hya21 says:

    I think of my own death often. I wonder what it will be like to have absolutely no control over my own body.

  • lexacain says:

    I never really understand why people get so upset about death. Everything dies; therefore, everyone dies. The only thing that’s sad is if the person was very young and died tragically or if they died in a lot of suffering. Then I feel bad for the sufferer or the family of the one tragically lost – but still, it’s inevitable. People should be respectful of someone’s passing and stop being histrionic babies about it.

  • Shadahyah says:

    This is something that I’ve thought about often. I’ve lost a lot of family members last year to illness, so I’ve always wondered what the afterlife is like and if there is one, will I every see them again.

  • Sessha Batto says:

    I don’t worry about death – mine or others. Death is an inevitable part of life. Death turns the wheel to a new chapter. As a Buddhist death is my chance to fix everything I screwed up in this life next time around.

  • Lucy says:

    I do think about death, as I work with the dead. I also think about flies and everything else, too. I am acclimatised to death, but that doesn’t mean I am numb to it, and will not squish a spider, as the finality of death is the element that strikes me the most. There is enough death in the world, it doesn’t need me to add to the toll.

    We are used to being able to change our circumstances, having certain amount of power. We lose a job/house/lover, we can get another. We are diagnosed with a terrible disease, there is hope when some survive, we aim to make that us. One thing I hear from families at work, especially those of young people, is that they want to change the situation. What can they do to make it not so, how can they suddenly be so powerless? But death cannot be debated with.

    • Damyanti says:

      Yes, you can’t debate with death.

      Being acclimatised to death does not inure us to it– you put it so well. I’m fascinated that you work in this field. Thank you for stopping by to comment. I’m sure you would have lots more to say on the topic.

    • dotcamomblog says:

      Accurate observation 🙂

      A Western culture persuades people to believe they have power of choice and power of control over each detail and circumstance as they live their lives. But you already see that this is an untruth about human capability and power to make changes on things and situations like the Earth, and natural phenomena that just wipes out people as they occur (call these phenomena Tsunamis as an example).

      The reality of human life is that humans die at an age and by natural phenomena like Tsunamis and by their own genetic termination date.

      Some people genetically are longer lived than others. And some people die earlier when they experience Cancer.

      But despite genetics, long lived people still die.

      The lack of power of choice when faced with mortality is what a Western socialized person faces. Western democracies make a big deal out of choice, freedom of choice, power of free will, power of self-determination. But these beliefs ring pretty hollow when applied to death.

      Death just occurs because humans are mortals and to even think that humans can evolve to eventually not die is actually ridiculous. Human babies and children just would no longer exist nor be necessary if humans became immortal. Also there would be limited space on a habitable world for humans that don’t die.

      Those immortal humans would see that if they birthed other humans, then the human species would be like a growing cancer on a planet that exists in a physical universe where it is fact that individuals from every species die, and if the didn’t die then they would crowd the space they occupy.

      Immortal humans would also wreck the space they occupy as they perpetually live in it and use it.

      • dotcamomblog says:

        I made typos that I missed to correct:

        Accurate observation 🙂

        A Western culture persuades people to believe they have power of choice and power of control over each detail and circumstance as they live their lives. But you already see that this is an untruth about human capability and power to make changes on things and situations like *natural phenomena on a planet like the Earth* that just wipes out people as they occur (call these phenomena Tsunamis as an example).

        The reality of human life is that humans die at an age and by natural phenomena like Tsunamis and by their own genetic termination date.

        Some people genetically are longer lived than others. And some people die earlier when they experience Cancer.

        But despite genetics, long lived people still die.

        The lack of power of choice when faced with mortality is what a Western socialized person faces. Western democracies make a big deal out of choice, freedom of choice, power of free will, power of self-determination. But these beliefs ring pretty hollow when applied to death.

        Death just occurs because humans are mortals and to even think that humans can evolve to eventually not die is actually ridiculous. Human babies and children just would no longer exist nor be necessary if humans became immortal. Also there would be limited space on a habitable world for humans that don’t die.

        Those immortal humans would see that if they birthed other humans, then the human species would be like a growing cancer on a planet that exists in a physical universe where it is fact that individuals from every species die, and if *they* didn’t die then they would crowd the space they occupy.

        Immortal humans would also wreck the space they occupy as they perpetually live in it and use it.

  • violafury says:

    I loved this post, D. This came at such a (I almost said timely time) good time for me, and let me explain why. Last month on the 13th of May, I lost my life companion, Jimmie Carl. He passed away peacefully here at home. This was after 2 and a half to three years of almost constant pain, debilitating and ever-growing weakness and loss of bodily functions. As he put it, “he was about runnin’ out of fun”; being from west Texas, he had that wonderful power of description that made me love him so very much.

    I, being me, and being the head-strong, nothing-defeats-me-EVER! was trying to get hims to see the opposite: “you can beat this! You can walk again, you can do what I did! Hell, you can even play the viola, when you weren’t supposed to, laugh in the neurologists’ faces and claw your way all the way back up from last chair in the symphony to second chair! I did!” All of this is from MY perspective; MY take on life and it was selfish. I was trying to impose my outlook and my capacity for running headlong into something akin to a burning building on someone, who didn’t want that. On someone who was really, really tired and had lived long enough and sadly, had been punished by the U. S. penal system for something he shouldn’t have, and it broke him.

    We met in the homeless shelter. He was a gentle, shy man, and a wonderful companion. He cared for me, and made me laugh and we had some great years together. We just didn’t get all the years that I wanted and I fought that and it was wrong. So, I had an epiphany and realized that I couldn’t fix this and that the best I could do for him was to help him out of this life with as much grace, and love and light and laughter as I knew how. We had Hospice come into the house, for the last month of his life and I was here with him as much as I could be. We said our “I love yous” and “this has been so greats” and “I’ll love you always and forever” a million times, and when he could no longer talk, we could see it in each other’s eyes.

    During this time, I was finishing up my very first concert season in over eleven years. It had been at least eleven years since I had played any type of music and even longer, since I played any symphonic music. We ended our season with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 for Big Orchestra, which is so rich. It is heroic, harrowing, terrifying and ultimately, life-affirming. I know this symphony very well, and it’s history, but have never played it and I got to know it intimately.

    When Jimmie slipped into his final coma on Mother’s Day, I was ready. I knew he had been ready. He passed that Wednesday, so peacefully and quickly. I certainly mourn his loss, but I will never mourn having him in my life, for as brief a span as it was. I don’t mourn or think about my own passing; that will come in it’s time. What I took from this, was the ability to see death for what it is; a release. He had done what he came here to do. He knew I would be okay. He knew that I was back doing what I loved and ready to spread that love to others.

    Every death is a loss in some way; thinking abstractly, even if it’s just a skill set. It sounds so cold, but it’s much more than that. I hate loss. But part of me can’t help but wonder, what if we knew, we were all going to re-spawn on the planet Zebulon. Would that make it better? I think that the quality of preciousness of life comes precisely from the well-spring of NOT knowing exactly what happens after we die. Sure, there are a few miscreants who think it gives them a pass to be horrible, but by and large, most people want to get it right.

    Sorry, this response is soooo long, D.

    • Damyanti says:

      So sorry for your loss, I didn’t know– haven’t been to your blog in a bit.

      As during all the struggles and losses in your life, you ‘re coping with this with grace, love, and tremendous courage. You’re an inspiration, Mary, and I think this is so true: I think that the quality of preciousness of life comes precisely from the well-spring of NOT knowing exactly what happens after we die.

      I pasted your reply on my FB thread at I think a lots of non-bloggers who follow that page would appreciate reading your comment.

      Sending you hugs, and lots of love.

  • msdalice says:

    You have echoed many of my own thoughts about this topic. My biggest question about death is due to the fact that my brain is always on and I’m always thinking. I’m trying to imagine what happens at the end, when you no longer think. Of course, I’m just thinking you don’t think. That also remains to be seen.

    • Damyanti says:

      If we had no thoughts right now, we’d be a lot more peaceful. No one really knows what happens at death, or after wards. We have the here and the now, and the ability to make it count.

  • wgr56 says:

    Interesting views. I’ve written rather extensively about the subject on my own blog, but I fear I’ll never reach a definitive conclusion, even though that series is finally winding down. In life, we are like metal shavings lying at varying distances from death’s magnet, and it seems no one will be able to describe the experience until actually feeling the magnet’s cold touch. Will it be too late to describe it then? As obvious as the answer to that last question seems, it still gives me pause.

  • Andrea R Huelsenbeck says:

    I look forward to death, the portal to immortality. As a follower of Christ, I am confident of what eternity holds. Not because of anything good that I’ve ever done (that would be a very short list), but because of what Jesus has done for me. He will grant entrance to Paradise to you, too, if you will let Him.

  • Gee says:

    Reblogged this on The GeoGee Experience.

  • Not funny. but sometimes it can be fun…As a matter of fact, it is our last big adventure with our bodies…Definitively, out of routine.

  • oshrivastava says:

    Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.

  • sfarnell says:

    I like the thoughts this post provokes. How and when may or may not be up to us, depending on the type of dice roll that’s thrown for our lives. If someone gets to choose the how and when are we they the lucky ones. What happens next?

    As a famous writer once wrote: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.

  • ccyager says:

    Interesting post! I’ve thought about death much more in the last 13 years, since being diagnosed with a serious chronic illness (then acquiring four more). But I’ve also thought about death for my fiction — the death of characters and how their deaths affect the other characters in the story. I think your point about the degree of attachment is important, but I also think that how we think about life is equally important. By that I mean how we respect and revere life. Here in America, we claim to hold human life sacred, but you sure wouldn’t know it considering the headlines in the media — another massacre at a church this morning in Charleston, South Carolina. I think also how someone thinks about death can be influenced greatly by religious belief. Is there life after death? Is there Heaven? Hell?

    I personally believe that as an individual I’m essentially energy from the divine collective unconsciousness that has chosen to experience physical existence in this body. When I die, I will return “home” to the collective unconsciousness in the Universe. Where I end up next, who knows? (smile)


    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks for your comment, Cinda, and sorry to hear of your illness– it is not easy, because I have certain chronic issues myself, and know the price we have to pay.

      I’m preoccupied by death and suffering in my fiction, and those who love me often want me to write lighter stuff, about laughter, life, etc. But for me, I have to remain honest to what comes out– we writers work on the same themes again and again, till we work our what we believe and what we have to say about it.

      I believe life needs a seed and a catalyst: or maybe, conditions and a catalyst. When the conditions that help my body stay alive cease to exist, I’ll cease to exist. I’m part of everything that lives and dies, so my death isn’t really terribly important in the larger scheme of things. What matters is what I do with what life I have, how positively I affect my surroundings and community.

      The Charleston deaths sadden me as do all such completely avoidable tragedies: we humans continue to divide ourselves by race, religion, color, shape, size, origins– but the fact is we’re all human, and we have this one home. And no reason to think we’re that superior either– the way we’re evolving, our intelligence might prove to be our doom, just as it has contributed to our rise.

      I don’t know if there’s life after death, but I know this: what life there is, now, is precious. We cannot give life, so we have no right to take it.

      • ccyager says:

        It took me a while to figure out that my preoccupation in fiction was power and its abuse, the effects of its abuse on people, and what is needed to change attitudes toward power. Death and suffering are a part of that, and I’m interested in how people respond, what they do. The Perceval novels are my exploration of all that. Dividing ourselves is a part of the power issue, too. It continues to astonish me just how deep the divisions run, how much people need to label other people in order to feel safe in the world, secure, and in control of their environments. It seems like we’ve come a long way, then something like Charleston happens and we can see we had only scratched the surface. My friends laugh — I want everyone to think and believe like me! LOL then we would not need guns and divisions and fear.

  • Abhijit says:

    I think we need to change our perspective of life and death. Death is the logical end of manifestation that is life. In Mahabharata, Yudhistira was asked about the greatest truth of life. He replied that all of us are going to die some day, yet none of us believe that we shall die. Sri Ramakrishna said life and death are two different compartments, like moving from one room to the other. I think in present time we think death is the end of everything, something unknown. It is a transition as natural as going to sleep.

    • Damyanti says:

      Death is a natural process, and inevitable. I have heard of both the perspectives you mention, having grown up in a Hindu household, but don’t know what to believe. For now, I just want to listen and learn (the reason behind writing this post), and maybe the truth would rise within me.Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Ah, death . . . the great equalizer. The ever present cloud that hangs over me from the moment I wake up till the moment I fall asleep.

    Our culture glorifies death while treating it as the great elephant in the room. Much of my speculative fiction deals with death because it is the one thing no one wants to talk about, but the one thing we will all face.

    • Damyanti says:

      That “elephant in the room” status is what I want to remove. Having put some thought into writing this post, whether it would offend people, I realized we need to talk about this, not get offended. Not as if getting offended or making it a taboo topic would keep any of us from dying.

  • Laurie Welch says:

    Both my dog and cat died at different times at home, with me at their side. In both cases their breath slowed down until they finally didn’t take another. There was no struggle, no fear. They were comfortable, one on a futon, the other in his bed; both in quiet semidarkness. And both surrounded by love and allowed to go through the process naturally. I should be so lucky…..

  • Sara J. says:

    YES. I’ve often thought the pain of being left behind to miss the departed was worse than the thought that the person had actually died. But I don’t waste time thinking of my own death, it’ll come eventually and there will be little I can do about it.

  • I used to volunteer for hospice, and as a counselor I provided grief counseling for children and families. Then in 2003 my youngest brother was murdered. I contemplate death quite a bit, but not with fear. More with a sense of poignancy, because loss is so deeply connected to love. And because as far as I know, we each only get this one tiny sliver of time. We are so important and so insignificant at the same time. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

    • Damyanti says:

      “We are so important and so insignificant at the same time.”– that about sums it up.

      Sorry to hear of your loss, I cannot imagine what it must have and must still feel like. Thankyou for sharing with us. The death of loved ones hurts more than a grave physical injury, that much I know from experience.

      I do wish we could make more sense of certain deaths, because people who have so much more to contribute are so often snatched away from us.

  • Only two things are certain, birth and death. In Bhagvad gita Krishna discuss the issue of mortality by addressing Arjun’s dilemmas. I find death like a comma and not a full stop. That’s why I found relevance in your post at first place. If we were to disown desires then death becomes as beautiful as birth. I acknowledge the slenderness of this with respect to the materialistic life but the inevitability of this cycle of death and birth pushes me to encounter the larger question. Who am I ? The body is being subjected to this cyclic process but who is it that fills each body. Non dualism arises only after one accepts dualism at the primary level.

    • Damyanti says:

      Very deep thoughts, and thanks for sharing them. I do not feel qualified to discuss the teachings of the Gita, but yes, the question “Who am I?” bothers us all, at one time or the other.

  • Max Beaulieu says:

    This is deep stuff. Death is curious. We are all so afraid, but I know several older people, I am talking 94+ who want to go home. They say they are tired, they say they want to rest, which is so curious. We spend our whole lives in fear of something that many beg to have. Too little or too much is still wrong I suppose. Good post. Glad I followed.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks for the follow, Max, and for your comment.

      I know people (some in my family) who would embrace death if only it chooses them. Sometimes,when the body fails you, and there’s little dignity left in life, death has its appeal. Accepting life can often be as difficult as accepting death.

  • lesleysky says:

    An important post, and one that makes me want to write my own blog post in response. Maybe soon… I’ll keep this short, though. I too have thought about death almost constantly since I was very young. My feeling and philosophy about it changed over the years, moved in and out of fear, strategies of denial, belief in afterlife, rampant atheism… eventually I discovered the peace that comes with acceptance. Perhaps it’s getting older. There is less and less ‘me’ to be attached to, and I have lost one parent and am preparing myself to lose the other. I have also been close to death myself, and that shifted something at a deep level. My philosophy now is one that comes with the lessening of the importance of the ego, maybe. I see that everything is connected and that I am a stitch that one day will be dropped, and that’s ok. It’s what we do while we are here that matters – what we put into life, not what we take from it. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to voice our thoughts and feelings here.

  • I believe that death is not the end of life but a continuing process of life. Again,debatable. As a teen, I was often wondering at my own death, people visiting me on the canopy and whether I’ll be able to see them. I had a fascination in exploring death as a living entity. It’s quite a passionate thing, in a way.

  • Rebel Sowell says:

    Great post! As my parents age and their health declines I think about death more often. I would like to be able to discuss death with them, but they are in denial. So aging and dying have got me thinking more about life and how I want to live the rest of mine. I don’t want to waste anymore than I already have. I read a sign that motivates me: The purpose of life is a life of purpose. I’m continually searching for my unique purpose, and I think as long as I do that then my life, and consequent death, will not be in vain or insignificant.

  • A very interesting post. Death is something I’ve always wondered about, I think that’s just something human. Ever since my mother’s death four years ago though it’s something that I’ve wondered about more than usual. I think I’ve also realised that it’s scarier to lose someone you love rather than actually die yourself. Which is quite interesting. As it’s also quite human to fear death, but I no longer have that fear.
    Really interesting post, it really got me thinking. 🙂

  • Tyra (Random Acts of Snark) says:

    Reblogged this on Random Acts of Snark.

  • It’s got to be a bit of a tragedy I think. I often wonder about how easily we swat a fly or a mosquito to death, and imagine that a tsunami or an earthquake is a higher power swatting humans – who are no more significant than the fly.

    When it comes to thinking of my own death (which doesn’t happen that often) I feel like I’m sinking. There’s a sudden surrealistic atmosphere where I feel like I am not a part of me. I then go back to living, because in the end that’s all we can do.

  • themonkseal says:

    Reblogged this on themonkseal.

  • The problem with life is that it always ends in death. So what’s the point? I guess there is some purpose to living but I don’t know what it is. I feel sad when I eat flesh of an animal because this creature once had life. I’ve had online friends who died and it hurts almost as much as a friend in real life dying 🙁

  • I think about death all the time and hate everything about it. Hate that these experiences, memories, thoughts, loves, longings, and hates will just melt back into the earth without remembrance.

  • wraxdec says:

    As a nurse, I’ve seen death many times. I’ve also lost a number of loved ones including my parents and friends. I love life but have come to terms with my own death long ago. I believe death can be a positive experience, just as any other aspect of life, and it’s healthy to think about this aspect of human experience. I do believe the spirit survives the grave , and we may choose to have more than one human incarnation.

    I was especially impressed with a book called, ‘ You Cannot Die,’ by Ian Currie, the incredible findings of a century of research on death

  • Susan Scott says:

    Thanks Damyanti, a very important post. Too much denial around death – almost as if it’s a taboo subject. Yes I think about my death and those of others and of plants and bugs and such like. I’m only too aware of how my life can be snuffed at a moment – a car crashing into me (as what happened 2 years ago almost to the day. No-one knows how I got out of that alive -) Pondering on death for me makes me more aware of my gratitude for life and to make my life worthwhile in whatever way for myself and others. If I can help it I wouldn’t kill or harm anything, no spider, bug, no nothing. Thinking on death makes me think a little wider – and yes, I won’t buy goods that have been manufactured by e.g. sweat shops, or the destruction of rain forests e.g. Palm oil or goods that have been tested on animals.

  • shivangi says:

    beautiful post…………..

  • Peter Nena says:

    I think about death. I think about death everyday. My own. And that of other people. The media is full of death stories. Diseases, wars, terrorists, earthquakes, hurricanes. There is so much death in the world, we die so much and so easily that I have often wondered why we exist in the first place. When I was little, I used to wonder about the animals (ants, snakes, lizards, cats, dogs) that I sometimes passed along the road on my way to school, having been run over by motor vehicles. I used to wonder why God didn’t care for them, why he didn’t remove them from the road when the vehicle was approaching, why he didn’t stop them from crossing the road. I asked my mother once and she said: “He will bring them back in the end.” But as I grew up I became less and less convinced by answer. I thought that if all the dead things were brought back to life, the earth may be too full.
    I have thought that I am going to live and die for nothing. It still frightens me to contemplate my ceasing to exist. I saw a dead man on the road one day and thought that I will look like that when I die. He was killed by a hit-and-run driver and people were just walking past, going about their businesses. A lone cop was standing nearby, looking away from it, his face rather placid. I became scared. That man had been important in his life, yet there he was, dead on the road–and life went on as if his death made no difference, as if he hadn’t mattered.
    Last year, I bought something that I had desired for a long time. But after a few days I did not find it as wonderful as I had believed it was. I was saddened. So I asked myself: “What about the time, the energy, and the money I put in it? What about the work I did, the things I went through, in order to buy this thing?” And it occurred to me that I had been chasing vanity, an illusion. My whole life played before be then, like a movie, and I saw that I am going to live and die having chased vanity my whole life, having lived for nothing, died for nothing. I was very dispirited.

  • Denise Covey says:

    A post that will resonate for many months, Damyanti. I am concerned with how desensitized with death we have become, seeing it so often on the media. But it is a big question. I think about how I’d handle the death of my loved ones rather than think about my own death.

    Thanks for visiting my blog the other day. Lovely to see you again.

    Denise 🙂

  • lawrenceez says:

    I’ve always been very frightened of death, and in fact have nearly died a number of times, on one occasion during a short but unexpected illness,I get shutting my eyes and expecting to sink away into nothingness.Strangely, though, I’ve also had “supernatural” experiences, and after reading much up on the subject from both science and philosophical angles, I developed more of a belief in the validity of Near Death Experiences as glimpses of something else. Death still frightens me though, it so so uncertain and final and I believe life is for living.

  • BellyBytes says:

    I don’t wonder or worry about my death because I will be dead and gone and couldn’t be bothered about what happens then… because I won’t be around to do anything about it. As for the death of the fly – I love swatting flies especially when I know the kind of garbage they’ve sat around in.

  • Rahul says:

    The subject matter is thought provoking. No doubt. However, I feel that the writer has erred at many places. I had read this essay before your posted this on your blog and incidentally a few hours before that, in the wee hours. Some of my views:

    I have always looked forward to my death. Rather, I have been trained to do so. In childhood days, when my mother will play a bhajan or gurbaani in morning- they all postulated that to forget Death is to forget God. I remember one gurbani of Bhai Harbans Singh ji relating an anecdote of Nanak and Mardana where Nanak says “Marna sach hai, jyun jhooth hai”. And then “Maili chaadar odh ke kaise” this bhajan is about meeting God after death. I don’t think it’s a “taboo” to discuss Death. Death, in those songs, was always postulated as a reminder of our limitations [before God]. Hindu philosophy has greatly written on Death, and Death as the ultimate truth – in my experience – is taught from early on. These meditations, of ancient sages in India, on Death led to development of Buddhism, Carvaka-ism, Jainism and many isms, which are unknown to world outside, India, from Hinduism. They differed in their outlook towards Death and ultimately towards life as well.

    Cave terms Jainism as anti-Death movement. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised at this point of view towards Jainism, though not impressed by this bold conclusion. Jainism has divided Death into 17 types. Jainism has concept of Samadhi as is with Hinduism and Buddhism. Samadhi is practice of voluntary death towards perceived end of life. Death is glorified by Samadhi. Jain gurus keep reminding their audience that Death will come. Cave then turns to “terror of Death” and how Western religions promise eternal life to overcome that terror. On the contrary, the Eastern religions have habit of absorbing death as a routine of a soul or universe. In Mahabharata, when Arjun gets scared of going to war with his cousins, Krishna reminds him that he won’t “die” only his body will. His soul will take up another body. Now, it is for us to decide whether that was Krishna scaring Arjun of next life or freeing him from terror of death by plainly stating that “dude, you WILL die – your current form will go away anyway”. Jainism is not driven by “aversion” to death – but by aversion to “violence” and violence need not necessarily leads to death. I think Cave made a very erroneous conclusion and formed a rather slanted view of how Indian religions look at Death. Of all things, Jainism and for that matter any Indian religions doesn’t live in denial of death and extracting butter never killed an animal.

  • “Life after death”, “Death is the supreme truth” etc. and many more are some philosophical statements we often hear. Yes, I too have seen death very closely just once in my life, when I was seriously ill. And honestly, for reasons best known to Him, I didn’t feel scared of that moment, which was just a flash though. I will never forget that one second of my life until that comes true.

  • Dharmesh says:

    Since I am too much into philosophy and literature I get to deal with death related issues a lot. I have lost 4 relatives including a favourite aunt so I have seen death closely as well. But O think it is human nature to avoid all thoughts of death. Yesterday I was reading a reinterpretation of the story by a mystic where 10 men cross the river and then count 9 only as they don’t count themselves. Mystic said that we do same with us. Since we see others dying we don’t count us that we too will die someday. Death is not talked about at many places. When someone dies children are told that they went to a farm or to moon or somewhere else. We hide death. We make it a taboo. Children grow up to learn that death is ugly and thus they live in fear of it.

    I’ve got a death related story if you have time.


  • Rasma R says:

    I know there is a world beyond and I also believe that we live more than one life. I don’t dwell on death and try to get as much out of life as I can. I do reflect at times on family and friends who have passed on but I love it when I can remember and it makes me feel good.

  • stevenharris says:

    I’ve lost several good friends this year and my own health is quite rubbish so I have been thinking about death quite a bit. I’d rather be thinking about life and try to counteract this sort of rumination with creative activity. Which might make Sigmund Freud nod knowingly – did;t he claim that the ‘death drive’ powers our most vibrant acts of active behaviour? It’s tricky for me to reconcile the death of friends, family or embrace my own as I have no religious beliefs. When the time comes, however, I may be ok with laying down pain and worry. Thought provoking post, thank you.

  • Our own deaths are significant as those who love us and will miss us. Those who put themselves out there will be remembered for the kindness or evil they’ve created around them. Outside of that, we’ve contributed…something.

  • like

  • nates novel says:

    Death, I also have been thinking about a lot sense my dad died. My family kind of fell apart after that. My brothers abandoned my mother, my wife left me and I lost my house. Now was all these events related to my fathers death? No, of course not, but it is easy to lay blame on him because he is gone and could not help me fix everything.

    Now maybe theses events would have happened if my dad was alive or maybe not. The one thing I can take out of this is it’s always on me to take responsibility for my own actions and to always try to be a better person. I want my children to know this lesson and when I die, remember me and that they are strong and secure in themselves to be able to morn in their own way

  • I do. The thought first came to me when I might have been around 8-9 years. I saw a skull kept at my uncle’s clinic and felt that the person would be a living person like all of us and now his skull is helplessly lying inside the clinic cupboard. It was a disturbing thought at that point of time and somehow reinforced the idea of frailty of life in my mind.

  • I have lived with ghosts, and death is not as it appears. Take risks and reap what you create. Live or die, it will happen with or without your consent.

  • luckyjc007 says:

    The older I get , the more I think about it. The part that is troublesome is the question of How I will die…in pain, not in pain, suddenly, warning ahead of time, or maybe just out of it mentally and I won’t know anything. And, If and When I get really old, I will be thinking each day if it will be my last or even each hour for that matter. Either method, I can’t do anything about it, so people will say just don’t worry about it or think about it. Sure! I can do that just like I turn off the lights or shut the door…..Not!

  • Having lost so many family members in a short period of time, I think about death quite a bit. I am glad that I have my faith and that I believe that life is only temporary and that we will all spend eternity together.

  • cardamone5 says:

    Death used to terrify me, but it no longer does. One day, I thought of my own death, but instead of feeling scared, I just felt accepting. It is inevitable. There is nothing to be done about it, so why waste energy worrying? I wish I could say I no longer worry about anything, but that’s not the case. I can say I worry less than I used to, but I am also on meds so whether this change is due to personal growth or that, I really don’t know. And I don’t care why. I am just glad for the change.

  • sabnabs says:

    Death is a sign that we have this world to do whatever we want to do. However when someone close to us dies like grandparents, parents, sibling etc. it’s a test for us. To see how we would react, what we would do differently. How they change our lives but most of all its a reflection on how the person impacted you and what was taken away by you. You feel like you have so much control in this world and you get to choose between right and wrong but the one thing you can’t control is who will die and when they will die. As for thinking about death, you can think all you want but that would be wasting precious time when instead you could be doing something like spending time with your parents and children because one day you might not be there or even worse they won’t be there.

  • misfit120 says:

    Great thoughts. I used to think about dying. And, that said, had a greater appreciation for life such as in the life of an animal or even an insect. After all, they are alive and if you take a moment to think for a few seconds before you kill something, especially something that may seem insignificant, like a bug, you might take a step back and think to yourself, “I control this bugs fate.” And then perhaps ponder your own life and not kill it. About thinking about my own demise, not too much now that I’m waaaay over the hill. Why? Because I’ve lived a life of many paths and I’m content with what I’ve done. I’m ok with the fact that I could die at any time. Which is fine with me, at the age that I am, and………that in the last 6 years I’ve only managed to accumulate 300 blog followers. So WTF….beam me up Scotty.

  • here what monkey write on own blog in january this year.

    monkey ask Man if Man worry about life end in croakness. Man make think face & then say not at all. that confuse simple brain of monkey & monkey ask why not. Man say there 2 reason. number 1 = it unavoidable and mans & ladies just get used to idea. number 2 = croakness like not exist in time of foreverness before birth so everyone already been there. Man say it better for enjoy life between 2 forevers than worry about what on either end of life.

    monkey think Man probably = correct.

  • I would like to be there for my own death.

  • This is just such a beautiful post, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • thewhatsupguy says:

    I don’t think I’ll be giving much thought to my own death. Not anytime soon anyway. Probably the closest I’ll get is when I choose a life insurance.

  • latawonders18 says:

    Death is a natural part of life; part of the cycle of birth, growth, destruction only for growth to start again. If people shush you about death, it’s because they fear the unknown and the pain of loss – either losing themselves or losing someone they are dependent on. Personally, I am matter of fact about death and because I am like that, people think I am morbid. By labelling people like me such, they are defecting away their own fears

  • God cares about the smallest animal, the smallest bird, and so much so for us. Every living creature’s death is significant and it involves pain.
    I’ve never wanted to think about death. I’m just glad I know where I am going when it happens.

  • Josephine says:

    This is a great post. I wonder about death all the time. I have thought about my death once in a while, but I’ve come to the point of acceptance that one day I will die and I am perfectly okay with whenever that time may be.
    I see death as a natural part of life, a natural part of our cycle. I also believe that death is made more painful by our connection to the death-ee.
    Great post!

  • The Writer says:

    I think the moment something living has the capability to feel compassion, any death is a tragedy.

  • For me what is important is to ensure that those left behind after death are well cared for.

  • Very well put. 🙂

    How much a death affects us is certainly dependent on the value we place upon who or what has died. If you place positive value on a fly, you’ll be affected by its death, but most likely not as much as the death of a loved one who you’ve placed a greater positive value on.

    I say “positive value” because there is negative value that can placed. For example, placing a negative value on someone because of something horrific they’ve done, someone like Osama Bin Laden, might cause a feeling of relief or celebration at their death.

    Having thought of suicide, I know that those suicidal thoughts come from a negative value I’ve placed on myself, believing I have no worth and that I can find relief from killing myself. Consistently feeding positive value into my thoughts has helped keep my afloat even though that tug-of-war with negative value still exists.

    But anyway, yeah, it’s about positive or negative value and how much value we assign to ourselves or the people or animals we love and insects and other life (including plants and trees) we interact with.

    That said, I do occasionally think about death; when I’m going to die and how I’m going to die and what that’s going to feel like. I’d prefer to just die in my sleep, not feeling it. That’s the only thing about death that I wish no one have to undergo: suffering.

    As for what happens when I die, in terms of if I go anywhere else or simply stop existing, I don’t know. I like to take things one step at a time. So once the death thing happens, I’ll go for there. 🙂

  • ForesterCary says:

    I haven’t thought of my own death before. But the death of a sister in Christ recently made me realize how fleeting my life here on earth will be. Truly, we are always just one breath away from our death so now I am determined more than ever to really make every moment count.

  • jdaitken says:

    I blogged about death myself today. Maybe it’s in the air…?!

  • Arlee Bird says:

    Death has always been somewhere floating around in my mind, but now more than ever it is starting to become more real. I’ve seen family members and friends passing and I have started feeling the failings of my own body. I know it’s coming, but the uncertainty of when it will come is the perplexing part.

    I’ve set age 67 as my first milestone that I have to reach–that’s the age my father died. I hope I make it past then. I’d like to at least make it as far as my mother who died last year at age 85. I wouldn’t mind making it past 100 if quality of life was decent. I don’t want to linger for years with health or financial problems.

    My wife who is younger than I says that she’d like to make it to retirement, live a couple more years and then just die. I tell her that I’d rather her hang around as long as I do.

    Truth is we don’t know. Sometimes I worry, but I try not to. What can we do but stay in the best shape we can and avoid danger as much as possible. It’s probably better just to enjoy life as much as we can but not to get overly attached to it. I want to live to the max and not worry myself to death.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  • Great piece to ponder. My views on death seem to vary depending on where on the spectrum of acceptance and devastation I’m at. One thing I am certain, death isn’t anything any one of us can get out of!

  • Gary Lum says:

    I used to as a kid. It was keep me up at night. Now that I’m 50 I’ve started thinking of my mortality again.