The Inevitable: Fearing, Coping and Realizing the Ins and Outs of Death

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It’s the only thing we can be sure will happen in our lives. Some may never find love, some may never travel, some may never understand Donnie Darko (seriously, that movie makes no sense) – but all of us will die. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow – but it’s going to happen. Sheldon Cooper once said on The Big Bang Theory, “Mourning the inevitable is a complete waste of time,” which is true. We can’t sit and live our lives thinking about that unavoidable end to all of our stories, but at the same time – it’s scary as fuck. I sometimes sit by myself and if the thought of that little voice in my head just one day stopping creeps in, I freak. I panic. I can’t. This isn’t uncommon though. Lena Dunham noted it in her memoir, Not That Kind of Girl, “I think a fair amount about that fact that we’re all going to die. It occurs to me at incredibly inappropriate moments.” She’s not the only one, Felicia Day lamented about it in You’re Never Weird On the Internet (Almost), “I was going to die someday. I was going to END.” At that point she realized she had to do something more with her life.

That’s the thing, this thing we call life – it doesn’t last forever – so you better get all you want in now because tomorrow may never come. Hello, Garth Brooks has one of the best songs about that. Yeah, it was about love – but still. If tomorrow never comes, you don’t want to be like…damn, I wish I would’ve done this, that, and this and that and so forth and so on. So like every other motivational poster in a college bookstore says, “Live.” Simple as that. But while you’re busy living, you have to think about your loved ones as well. Most of us won’t get out of this without losing someone we love. Be it a family member, friend or a celebrity we felt some sort of connection to even though we never met them once; Robin Williams’ death still hits me hard.

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In reality though, I’ve yet to lose someone close to me. I have friends who’ve already had to say goodbye to parents, siblings and friends and I look at them in awe. How do they manage to go on? Everyone copes in their own way. I’m sure tears are involved at first, but then they think to themselves, they can’t live their lives sad about the inevitable. Scott Taylor Smith talked about a lot of ways to cope with the death of a loved one in When Someone Dies. What I walked away with was that you have to help yourself before you can even start to help another deal with it. He compared it to being in a plane when they tell you to put your oxygen mask on in the case of an emergency before you help another simply because, “You can’t be there for anyone else if you’re gasping for air.” So when someone passes, make sure you deal with it on your own terms first before jumping in and trying to be the hero for everyone else. Everyone deserves time to grieve.

Dying is something we can’t escape, but living in fear of it will get us nowhere. We have to continue on with the one life we got and when someone we know and love passes, we must cope with it first and foremost on an personal level before trying to save everyone else. Over this week we’ll talk to a man who lost one of his best friends too early, dive more into the fear, talk about The Walking Dead normalizing death and give you ten ways to cope with death.

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