It was 3 in the morning. My exhausted eyes pleaded me to stop watching random dog videos, but the task seemed insurmountable. I detested my life, the world around me felt hostile and I was a narcissistic addicted cry baby finding it difficult to move my lethargic ass away from my desk chair for the past 10 hours. But, I put my passive staring to a pause as the screen started flickering.
Before I could comprehend, a bright ball of white light just appeared out of nowhere. As the seconds ticked away, the bright ball crystallized into a ghastly silhouette. My heart skipped a beat when the silhouette approached me. There she stood majestically in her red cloak. And she wasn’t pleased. I somehow was certain that something awful was yet to happen to me.
“I am death and you would be mine within the next 10 minutes. Until then enjoy!”
she said nothing more and faded into thin air. It made me go berserk. My entire life flashes in front me. I close my eyes and scream “Now is not the time”.
I went on my knees and begged her to spare me. Everything started going in super slow motion. I could sense my breathing, the silence between the ticking of a clock, and all those tiny silences that you could find in a typical room. It creeped me out. I walked around the room convincing myself it was just a nightmare. But only later did I sense something was wrong. I noticed that my reflection in the mirror didn’t act the same way as I did. I was beyond terrified. I looked at my reflection which was fuming out of anger with bloodshot eyes.
“Stop whining jackass, you will die.” he screamed.
I fell onto the ground as my knees trembled like an old building. The clock was ticking. I didn’t know what to do. So I started chanting,
“Forgive my sins, I am sorry.” till the last minute.
With just a few more seconds to spare she came back.
“You Wanna live son?” she asked.
I shook my thick skull back and forth, like a bobblehead.
“One more day, that’s all you get.” she said
“But…” before I could complete she interrupted “One day, take it or leave it” she commanded.
I had no other choice but to take up the opportunity. She faded away once again. I sat in the room’s corner with my arms around my legs worried about the little time she had bestowed upon me.
That’s when I realized something. I didn’t want to live my last day worrying. So I set out the day doing activities which I had neglected for a long time. I helped my mom cooking and my dad with his garage work; I stopped complaining and took responsibility for all my actions. I never felt so happy for my life until that point. And that day passed.
During the last few minutes I contemplated how my life was immensely fruitful, joyous and happy in the last 24 hours. Had I been given the chance to live a few more years I would have lived a life I dreamt of, I said to myself.
Time passed and during the last few seconds she came back once again. But this time she looked different. She looked delighted, and I saw in her the affection of a mother. She lifted my head up with her gentle hand and said to me,
“Son, I wanted you to know that I (Death) am beautiful too.” she said with a smiling face.
“Always remember, I love you son, just as I have loved everybody else. You are a good person. Live your dreams and help people along the way. You have a whole life ahead of you.”
“I will always look out for you from the stars; hoping you, my son will live the life you dream of. When the time is right, I will meet you once again.”
She kissed on my forehead, gently rubbed my head with her soft palm and vanished away.
Most of us cannot acknowledge the beauty of death. We fear contemplating it our entire lives. We fear the pain, suffering and incomprehensibility of the uncertainty that comes along with it. I know that death is painful. But, that’s just one side of the coin. She is beautiful on the other side and very few of us see it. Here’s why…
1. She teaches you to be grateful
It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.-Marcus Aurelius
When we contemplate death, we appreciate the little time and things we have in our lives. We stop complaining, become more grateful and happier. There are people who are less blessed than us and they try to find joy without losing hope. But, we often are unappreciative of the time, health, family and the environment it provides us with.
2. She teaches you not to take anything for granted
Going face-to-face with death, makes us realize that we are blessed with something that’s priceless. Time, the most precious gift of all. It’s time that we give them the value they truly deserve.
3. You realize that most of the things do not matter
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time-Mark Twain
When we realize that they have provided us with a short time in our lives, we throw off our masks and live the lives we want to. We tend to stop pleasing people and can be our true selves. You start understanding that most things doesn’t matter even after a few days.
It’s our life. Let’s make it as beautiful as we can.
4. You become more empathetic
Who knows? Your best friend, spouse, girlfriend, son, daughter, mom or dad may not be there 3 days from now. I know you are cursing me, but think about it for a second. Anything could happen. We fear contemplating the death of our peers and family. But only when we do it we could have more meaningful conversations, form deep meaningful connections and we could truly value them. Else we take them for granted.
5. It teaches you to be more humble
Life is hard. Then you die. Then they throw dirt in your face. Then the worms eat you. Be grateful it happens in that order.David Gerrold
Me, you, everybody on this big ball of blue is present here only for a short period. Even if we do something bigger than Gandhi, Michael Jackson or Erin Gruwell we will be long forgotten in a few decades or centuries. It’s better that we stop acting as if we are the center of the world and be more humble.
Humility is the new hotness.
Start acknowledging that you will die someday and it may be very much sooner than you think.
Steve Jobs contemplates death every single day of his life. He looks in his mirror and asks himself,
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
By asking this question every single day of his life he made death his friend, allowed it to empower him. This made him one of the most influential men he was.
Death is a gift in disguise. Start embracing it.
I love death just as much as I love living. How about you?