I think of death quite often. Every time I board an airplane, for example, I think: ”I might die now”. My next thought is ”but I’m not going to stay at home for the rest of my life, so I’ll just have to accept whatever happens”. Sometimes I go on to thinking about my apartment, and how my dying would leave an awful mess for others to tidy up.
Only once have I really thought that I really might die; the first time I had a pneumothorax. My chest tightened and I thought I was having a heart attack. I cried bitterly then, because I had just started to like living. I was not afraid, but disappointed.
I am an atheist. I do not believe in any deity, nor do I believe in a life after this one. Not through reincarnation, not by heavenly ascent or infernal descent. Maybe I’m wrong. But I just don’t believe in it. Life is magical as it is, without higher power or purpose.
I have not had much experience with death. Yet. I did not know my grandfathers. One was killed by alcohol, the other by cigarettes. My grandmothers on the other hand, were very dear to me. One died in her sleep. I had been to see her the night before, and she seemed more at peace than in a long time. The other died on the operating table. During the last months of her life, she had been bleeding internally, yet continued to cook, mangle her sheets and keep her three-room apartment nice and tidy.
I miss them both and speak to them now and then. True, I don’t believe they can hear me in some after-life. But they are a part of me, and, as long as I live, the part of me that is them also lives.
I have no children, and I never will. Physically, no part of me will live on after I’m gone. Emotionally, mentally, I will remain in the memories of some who outlive me. Unless I do something grand in whatever time I have left, those memories will die with their owners, and there will be nothing left of me but worm food. And perhaps this blog.