My daughters witnessed their hamster die while it was pooping. It was such a traumatic experience for them. The next day a bird just dropped dead on the road right before my eyes. Yesterday an ex-schoolmate died in an accident, something that was totally not his fault. Of course, all these moments of life being ended got me reflecting. (Coincidently I have been invited to contribute a chapter on death rituals among the Dusuns, in a book on the interplay of local wisdom with the cultures of the people in Sabah. It's kind of creepy actually but I wouldn't miss writing the chapter for all the world. The topic is too interesting for the cultural me to ignore.)
We can't choose the day we were born, nor the day we will die. These two things just happen. I guess that's why most people, me included, are consoled by the idea that there is a Higher Power aka God, that will take care of you after death. In that sense, death is not the end but the beginning of another life.
I quite like the idea of a new life. It might not be a life we know. But at least we don't just 'end'. We'd continue to exist, in the memories of our loved ones, and in another world which is always painted beautiful and serene, without pain. The ones left behind will suffer the most, naturally. In fact, in the case of the ex-schoolmate, my heart bleeds to know that his children are still very young, the youngest being only 5 months old. I say a little prayer that his wife and children would be strong in this difficult moments.
Death to me is the greatest puzzle...