I often contemplate how small and insignificant I am. I believe in the inevitability of the death of both my physical body, and any memory of my existence. But even though this is considered a pessimistic and depressing thought, I still find it realistic and entertaining. I believe that the inevitability of death should not and cannot take away the joy and purpose of life.
In Mexico there is a widespread holiday called “Dia de los Muertos” or the day of the dead in English. It is a holiday based solely on loved ones who have passed away. But rather than mourning the deaths of loved ones and feeling sad, people celebrate the lives of their loved ones and it is a time of great joy. Death is simply the last moments of a person's life, and I believe that their existence is far more important than the way that it ended.
I am not saying that it is wrong to mourn a loved one, and I am not saying that I believe that death isn’t important. I am saying that the joy brought about by their life is greater and more valuable than the sadness that is brought about by their death.
When I was ten my first pet, a puppy named Bella, passed away. It was really the first time I had ever experienced loss. I was staying with my dad for that weekend, and he said out of nowhere that we were going home early. When I got home, my other dog, Butch, ran up to greet me with an excited bark, but I knew something was missing. All I said was,“Where’s Bella?”
My mother burst into tears and I immediately knew what had happened. I started crying myself and embraced my mother and sister in a tender, sad hug.
My loss wasn’t large, and everyone goes through the same thing or something worse, but I learned an important lesson from that experience. I spent weeks feeling sad about what had happened, and I didn’t start feeling better until I started to forget about the sad ending to Bella’s life, and began to celebrate the joy that she brought into mine.
She had taught me lessons about responsibility, patience, and she simply was a great companion and pet. I have so many happy memories with Bella that any one alone outweigh the pain of losing her. But, without focusing on those memories, I still felt sad for a long time following her death.
This leads me to a psychological concept known as the five stages of grief. It starts with denial, anger, bargaining and depression and only after those can one reach acceptance. I believe that it is necessary to make it to make it through these steps, but I find it easier to make it through by celebrating the life of the loved one you lost.
It is normal and healthy to feel sad about something especially a death of a loved one, but it is not healthy to let it affect the way you behave for an extended period of time or causing you to shield yourself from relationships because you are afraid of their inevitable end. This is my personal belief, but I also find it easier to make it through a period of mourning but focusing on happy memories of the relationship not on it’s ending.
I believe that the joy of a life always outweighs the pain of a death.