WHY BE AFRAID TO DIE?
By Sirohmi Gunesekera
(Teacher, Attorney-at-Law and Researcher into Human Relations & The Family Unit)
Sheila was thirty five when she was diagnosed as having Ovarian Cancer. It was two years since she had agreed to an
arranged marriage and she had no children.
“I am frightened as I am not prepared for death. I asked the doctor how many years I had to live and he said that it was up to me.”she told her husband Ayub. She decided that she was thankful that she had been given notice to prepare for death even if all those who had cancer did not die of it.
In Sri Lanka, most inhabitants follow one of four orthodox religions. Most of them follow the religion of their parents and automatically become Buddhists, Hindus, Christians or Muslims.
There are many Sri Lankans who do not perform religious rites on a daily basis but whose birth, wedding and funeral rites follow their religion.
So when it comes to death, most Sri Lankans believe that they will either have an after life or go to Heaven or Hell. Anyway, most human beings are afraid to die. They go to doctors and undergo operations and sometimes they live with pain and discomfort.
Doctors advise check-ups and once you have passed the age of forty, you go for regular tests for diabetes, high cholesterol level, arthritis, rheumatism and life threatening diseases.
I know of an executive who was given the option of surgery or diet and exercise to have a better quality of life and he chose surgery. He is now thin but says his quality of life has improved.
Some doctors advise surgery even if it is not essential as they make a lot of money on an operation.Thanks
to advances in modern medicine, an operation can save a life. But wait a minute! You may not be sick but you may
be afraid of death.
Let’s face it. You can even die when crossing the road if you get knocked down or if you have an accident at home.
We are afraid of the unknown and no-one has come back from the dead to tell us what it is like. But there are those who have had Near Death Experiences and most of them report that there was light and that it was a wondrous feeling. So what do we have to fear? Many of us feel guilty if we have done wrong or hurt anyone, especially if we have committed a crime. Depending on your religion,you can either do penance if you are a Christian or do good deeds to gather merit by doing charity.
The main thing is to live as if today is your last day on Earth and reach out to loved ones and others. Then you will have no regrets if you die tonight.
It is also time that each individual thought of incorporating the spiritual side into a largely worldly lifestyle. Prayer or meditation is essential and so are doing works of charity.
Many of us are caught up in a hedonistic lifestyle and only think of death if a friend or relative suddenly dies. Then
we attend the funeral and rush back to our worldly lifestyle of work, play and enjoyment trying our best to forget the
deeper issues of life.
I am not saying that one should go about with a long face. But there is a time for enjoyment and one needs to find time to care for and visit the sick, the lonely and the marginalised.
The human family needs love and care. One needs to work and earn money but one also must become aware of those in need, not just the materially poor but also the lonely and the destitute.
Let us reach out to those in distress and pray for a Good Life and A Happy Death.