His white tufts glimmered in the lamp light, he was tapping on that iPad with a warm smile, squinting his eyes at the most mundane cute cat videos out there. He looked perfectly happy, and I knew I had to do something to bring him back to his normal miserable self.
Me: Aren’t you afraid of death?
Tubby: Death? [He laid down the iPad gently, the notion didn’t seem to have moved him at all] Why would I be afraid of death? I don’t live or die, I just exist inside your head, which means I die when you die.
Me: Right. [The smirk on my face turns slowly into a grimace as I realized the joke was on me]
Tubby: Are you?
Me: Am I what?
Tubby: Afraid of death.
Me: Well, I have mixed feelings when it comes to death. Sometimes I’m afraid, sometimes I’m looking forward to it, but mostly I’m intrigued by it, I think.
Tubby: Elaborate please
Me: You know, I believe in life after death so it’s not the idea of death itself that scares me, it’s mostly what’s after and what’s before death. Sometimes the “how” makes me cringe a bit but that’s another issue.
Tubby: I get the “after” bit, but what about the “before”?
Me: Ah, that’s the tricky part; it’s the part that gets me confused. I mean, I look at people including myself, we have several reasons to fear death or at least to not want to die, although I know these reasons are irrational are illogical, but they are reasons nonetheless
Tubby: I’m not sure I’m following
Me: Okay, for example, some people, maybe most people… what the heck, I’ll just talk about myself. I’ve always had this feeling that I don’t need to die without a trace, I need to leave my mark on the universe, no matter how teeny tiny that mark is. I need to know I added something to the world, but it’s not only about that, it’s also about ego I guess, I need to know a part of me is still out there when I die, and I don’t know if that’s because I want to have done good that I want to live on after I die or just for pure egoistic motives, I hope it’s not really, because that’s insane. But anyway, I think I check out on that regard, I’ve left some scribbling here and there, I’ve also been told by some people that I touched their lives so, you know, I’m not saying that I want to die now or that I’m by any means ready but if I’m to die now I think I’m okay in that regard, that regard only.
Tubby: You know, some people might argue that they are not afraid of dying, they are more afraid of dying alone.
Me: Well, they have a point but don’t we all die alone? I mean, I don’t think that when I die I’ll care if someone is holding my hand or if I am strapped to some heartless machine in a cold, bleak hospital. Because you know, when you’re waiting for death I think it will be what’s on your mind, not if there’s enough people around you to distract you from the fact that you’re dying because no number of people can do that.
Tubby: You’re crazy
Me: No! Okay let me tell you something, remember a few months back when I lost control of the car and it went swaying then spinning on the airport road? When I realized I was likely to die in a few moments I didn’t think of anybody, I only thought of death and of being hurt. Now after the car stopped, by God’s mercy and grace, I started thinking of people again. I thought about my mother who was on the phone and I worried if she’d heard me screaming. I thought I needed to call someone just to get all that fear out of my system. I thought of people because I was alive, not dead.
Tubby: Not convinced. You know, I once read that we are afraid of death because we’re afraid of dying without having loved or being loved enough.
Me: You really believe that? I don’t know, maybe. I mean, some people really worry that they want to get married and have kids before they die but really, think of it, who is less eager to die, people with kids and who feel so loved and all or lonely people with nothing to lose? I mean, the more love you have the less you want to die, no? So at first they don’t want to die before being loved and after being loved they don’t want to leave their loved ones, it’s a vicious circle don’t you think.
Tubby: So you’re saying people should avoid being loved so that they’d be less afraid of death?
Me: I’m just assuming, but I really don’t know, I’ve never been in that position but if I’m ever loved or feel loved in that sense I’ll let you know if it makes me feel fulfilled and want to die or if it makes me want to cling to life longer.
Tubby: then I guess we’ll never know
Me: Very funny [rolling eyes]. Anyway, you know what I think is the stupidest reason to fear death? The fear of not enjoying the pleasures of life before you die. I mean, I could understand it if it came from someone who doesn’t believe in the Afterlife, otherwise you should count on the fact that death is not the end, because when you die I don’t think you’ll care whether you went hiking in Alps or had that muffin you craved and couldn’t have because you were on a diet. But…
Tubby: but what now?
Me: But, I think it’s only human to think that way, we just love life and there are things we think we would love to try while we’re still on earth. I fell for that myself. You know, when I was younger and the school used to take us on trips, I would worry that I would die before going on that promised trip. I would be so excited that it would seem like that trip was the most important thing in my life and that I have no problem dying after it, but I’d be really worried that I wouldn’t live to take it.
Tubby: So, if you knew you a disaster was coming and the earth would be wiped out and you only had one week, after that one week 90% of the earth population is expected to die. What would you do during that week?
Me: Well, nothing much I guess, because I wouldn’t help but hope that I’d be in the 10%.
Tubby: Oh please! You’re taking the fun out of the question
Me: Okay, theoretically if I knew I’d die in a week, what would I do? You know, in that movie a chef was talking about how much she loved butter and she said that if a meteorite was to hit the earth and she only had 30 days to live she would spend them eating butter. I guess I’d be too stressed to do anything but eat yummy food without worrying about calories and gaining weight, cake in particular. I think I’d also spend time with the people I like, just having a good time. I might also do some writing, you know, who knows who would stay around to read, some documenting. I think I’d also become more spiritual and try to get closer to God, not only because of the eminent doom but also because I think the way I see things will change radically and I’ll be more aware of the things that matter. One thing I wouldn’t do is to indulge in tears and self-pity. I wouldn’t spend my last week on earth crying and saying goodbye to everyone, after all we’d all be leaving together.
Tubby: That’s a lot of details; you obviously thought of that before
Me: well, who didn’t?