Judgement in the Ever After

 Looking up into the trees. 

It seems to defy reason that relatively young people can still die of non-accidental causes. It is easy, even in this field, to take it for granted sometimes. I have a tendency to insulate people that I know and love socially from the possibility. 

Not them. It could never happen to them.

Until it does.

Someone your age, someone you know, dies unexpectedly for unknown reasons and suddenly you are left staring in wonder at your own mortality.

Some day it will be my body undergoing that autopsy… Organs excised and weighed, body fluids analyzed, my brain in slices before they stuff it all back in…

What will it be like, this death? Some days I pray for it, long for it. Mostly, though, I just live in fear of it. 

I will NOT go quietly into that good night….

Truthfully, the man annoyed me when he was alive. I preferred not to be around him. 

But he was not a bad man. 

When I look back on my interactions with him now, I find that I interpret them very differently. Death makes me hesitant to even speak these words but they are important: If death can all of a sudden make all of the things that annoyed me about him seem to go away then WHY were those things so critically important when he was alive?


92 thoughts on “Judgement in the Ever After

  1. I certainly want to live a long life; at the same time, I know that I have no choice in the matter – accidents can happen, and I’ve had some close brushes with death enough times that I don’t take life for granted. I hope that when it comes, it isn’t painful and / or horrific. I eat healthy and maintain a positive attitude, but I’m too cynical to be a Pollyanna. Some would say that I’m a pessimist. I say, “No – I’m a realist!”

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  2. You’re a good, kind-hearted person, Doc. I just don’t have that reaction, and admit that one of my short comings is being a bit mystified when I see it in others… But then, maybe I’ve known too many truly “bad” people. I usually keep it to myself though, because I’m branded a horrible person for not suddenly praising the dead who were horrid in life… (I shrug) It just is… I’m over feeling the need to understand it. πŸ™‚
    Anyway, you are spot on with the mortality issue. I have to gently remind myself that as I age, I will see more and more people my age pass away. It is very unsettling. A cold feeling in the pit of my stomach. Lately I wonder what they were thinking and feeling before they knew they were sick, or after they found out.
    Wishing you sunshine. Hugs. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES! People that are my age are not necessarily young anymore now. I have patients who tell me about being the last one alive of their generation that they know and how each time someone dies, they feel more and more isolated. Disconcerting for sure. ((Hugs))

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really tried to avoid that with my sister (not so much with my parents).

    Whenever I think of my sisters, I often try to think of the things about them that pissed me off most. That was their humanity — and the focus of endless ribbing. That was what made them who they were. And why I still, often, want to smack them.

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      • It does make a difference — sometimes. I have a brother who is a nasty many. I do not talk with him often, and am always sorry when I do. I cannot imagine missing him (I haven’t seen him in over 10 years and am not planning any visits!). But maybe time will change that.

        And how you feel about yours.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Maybe death erased the annoyance part and we are left with just an important memory?
    My brother in law died suddenly, he was just a few months older than I. It was a wake up call, as we never know what’s round the corner. It decided me to go and see my brother in NZ as I felt that life’s too short to make excuses.

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  5. There is a finality to death that takes over our perception of a person. All of the little (and sometimes bigger) annoyances all affect us on a backdrop of assuming that person’s continued existence. Even if it wasn’t healthy to be around them, once they are dead they can’t hurt you anymore, so it’s easier to get that emotional distance that was missing when they were alive and appreciate the good things about them.

    I think it’s a good thing to be able to reframe our perceptions on the dead this way, as long as we don’t look at them through excessively rose-colored glasses and, for an extreme example, rationalize abusive behavior.

    Anyway – great thoughts!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Whatever the relation may have been, my condolences.

    Death ends the cycle of life. After death there are memories and maybe more. What ifs are a matter of regrets and lost opportunities. Then you become aware it is a part of life until your time comes.

    Memento mori et memento vivere…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting question Victo. I agree with AthenaC – the frame changes with death – likes and dislikes are generally predicated on survival. I have to confess that there have been one or two people in my life that I detested and I continued to detest past their termination. That is rare, usually I can find it in my heart to mourn their passing regardless of their accomplishments or lack thereof. After all where there is life there is hope. The extinguishing of that life means the loss of hope.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Your post reflects the way I feel about death, also. Sometimes I look forward to it, and sometimes I’m scared to death of it. Even though I’m an atheist, I assume that there is a hereafter. To assume otherwise is too depressing. The way I figure, as soon as I know that I’m dead, I’ll know my assumption about a hereafter was accurate. And that will be a sweet moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In all my end of life care I only had one woman who was scared of dying, and at 101 you would have thought she had come to terms with it, I’m not so much afraid of dying more the manner of death

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I think when someone we don’t especially like dies we have a little self-hatred for not having liked them, a kind of guilt, as if our not liking them affected their mortality, as if it had something to do with their death. I saw this when one of my aunts died (30 years ago, probably about 60 years old) and her youngest sister (45 at the time) — who’d never liked her — was the one most overcome with grief. Grief is never clean.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. A friend of mine, a friend I had gone to high school with went out for a walk and died. She’s just dead. A healthy happy woman with a husband and a 10 year old son. I am still a little shook up about it. She was my age.

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  12. Here’s another interesting thought: suppose when your own time comes, you find yourself meeting those detested individuals again. Will you still detest them? Will they be the same, or will they (or you) have changed? I’d like to think that there are no bad relationships in the afterlife.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. When flat on my back and watching a tech come at me with the defibrillator pad pre- cardiac ablation, talking about the grim reaper became something I did with more reverence.
    I wish no pain on anyone, even those that have cause me much.
    Your post leaves me wondering – does someone have to die for me to feel the pain of loss. Some people in my life are very alive, but I feel like I lost them anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A great book on the transition of death is by a neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander called Proof of Heaven. It is a clinical look at near death that is amazing.
    Another good author is Stuart Wilde. I embrace his philosophy that we do not die but we transfer to a plane of existence where we have a chance to work through some of our last life experiences. But you also live in the next world you set yourself to “exist” in. So if you were a nasty SOB, your next plane of existence will be that coming back at you. Some would call this hell. People who leave this earthly plane spend the next duration in a pleasant and joyous existence…heaven. Eventually, the soul has time to work out some things and have another go at it here on earth in a new body in hopes to improve and learn. The trick is to access the lessons from your past lives. That is what being enlightened really means and it is very difficult.
    The idea of what goes around comes around and we are the makers of our destiny gives me solace that the people who did me wrong will get theirs all on their own. We have no right to judge and we really have no impact with punishment or revenge. It actually only adds to your naughty list, so why bother.
    The past two years I have had to face a lot of decisions about mortality. I am not healthy and probably at this point have damaged my body so much that it will give out sooner than later. I have prepared for my earthy departure just this past month with advance directives and wills. Its all a crap shoot and its all just stuff and once I embraced that it was very freeing. It was also fun to NOT give to people who have been horrible but expect something. That is about the only control we have in death. Those who predecease me who were monsters will never harm me again and they have to answer for their issues.
    Once I embraced the concept that we are eternal and that the body is a temporary housing unit, and that stuff is just that, I noticed a big change in my thinking and feeling. It is very liberating and freeing to not hold on to the tangible. Instead I focus more on the simplistic beauty that is everywhere if you look. At times, I cry to think I will not always be able to enjoy these things. But I am seriously focusing on the now. And it is amazing.

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  15. Sometimes I wish I would have died when I almost bled to death–no pain, just sleepy. Hours before that in the taxi on the way to the hospital the idea of leaving my young children filled me with regret–did I enjoy them properly? How many times did I let their tiny annoying behaviors ruin my day?
    My brother’s dead wife visited him in a dream. he said it was a heavenly visit with weird and beautiful music surrounding her. She reassured him that she was okay wit her father and told him not to worry too much about working out at the gym–his death was predetermined. After that he didn’t sleep for days because he had this amazing supernatural energy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I, for one, am glad you are still around to make blog posts! I worry about the same things as far as my kids are concerned. What an interesting story with your brother, though, and what a fascinating message. Wow. πŸ™‚


  16. Maybe it is like the scar on my right hand that I have to search for to see if it is still there. But it took weeks to heal because it was right in a spot that I kept catching on a button in the back pocket of my jeans. Boy, it annoyed me for what seemed like forever.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I have the deepest reverence & respect for both life & for death. I presently don’t fear death- I know some have a feeling of dread thinking of it. When I think of death, I want to be certain that when that time comes I am at peace with the life I have lived, which means living an honest & loving life. I have had the privilege of witnessing death occur & those that faced it with absolute dread as it happened, it seemed to me had unresolved issues that causes then great angst when the end was near & no resolution possible.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. My husband’s father died last month, at age 90. My husband said he felt relieved because he knew he would never have to put up with his father’s abuse again. I hope to live as healthy as possible into my 80s or 90s because I still have so much I want to do. Then, I like to think death will be the next adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I don’t like to think of myself, being cut up and weighed. Of, my cold dead body stiffening and the world going on. It’s kind of funny that I don’t enjoy those thoughts, when I can barely stand the alternative – living.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. It’s so much easier to look for good qualities in those who have died, wanting to paint them in a light that is better than what they deserved while alive. Maybe it’s self-preservation…giving up the resentment. ??

    Liked by 1 person

  20. He seems to have gotten under your skin. Like a bad rash. I think there are good reasons to not speak ill of the dead. It leaves you feeling icky insides. Why? Who knows. Perhaps it draws bad luck to you. Fingers crossed that’s not true! Superstition’s powerful stuff. Who doesn’t knock on wood?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I took my son to visit two patients at the hospital (it was an essential thing, as I had to see one of them for sure, and I also had to pick up my son from camp in time). One had just had a brain tumour removed. I found my son asking “I will never get something like that right?”
    and I found myself lying when faced with his anxiety saying “of course honey”
    why would i do such a thing?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I felt the exact same way when this girl in my school only a year older than me passed away. I was left thinking if it happened to her, what is stopping it from happening to me?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hmm, that’s a hard one for me…I think because of my autism and the way my brain process exact words, I’m the exception to the rule. For me, if someone was an asshole when they were alive, I don’t sugarcoat it when they’re dead and rewrite history.

    Liked by 1 person

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