As a writer, I have a thing for zombies; stories about man's hopeless plight against the flesh-hungry once-humans only to succumb (to the virus or become food) themselves. Other stories like The Road, John Carpenter's The Thing, or even Final Destination where humans battle (whether it be a post apocalyptic world, or an otherworldly creature, or the Grim Reaper itself) to survive only to meet their demise in the end. What's the basic theme for all of these?
No matter how hard we fight, or how we try to put off certain things, in the end it is always the same.
We all must die.
I first came face to face with this stark reality at the age of thirteen when my best friend and cousin, Darren, died (from complications due to the disease, Duchene Muscular Dystrophy). He was also only thirteen. This particular event made me realize at a young age that we don't live forever. That our bodies are not invincible.
Since then I became curious, even somewhat fascinated, with death and what possibly lay beyond this life.
I don't believe that all the religions of this world can truly prepare you for it. No one can honestly say that they know without a shout of doubt where their souls go after their bodies die.
We don't know. Not until we are faced with our own deaths, and we cross that threshold, will we truly know what's in store for us beyond this life.
Does this frighten me?
No, not really.
I believe that our souls do move on to somewhere after death. I do believe that death is not the end of us. We do continue. To what capacity and to where though we won't know until we are there ourselves. This is why I'm curious. It's like standing at a door that's locked and you can't access it until that right time. Until that time, you wonder what's on the other side. Dreams and imagination abound with the seemingly unlimited possibilities. Then the door opens on its own, but only to you and to no one else, and only you can pass through but once you do, there is no turning back. You can't go back to tell anyone what's truly on the other side.
Over two weeks ago, I was at my dad's side when he took his last breath. I didn't know quite what to expect as I've never been in the presence of death before. All I saw was how peaceful he looked, and that he was no longer suffering. He had crossed to the other side of the door. He was gone physically, but somehow I could sense his presence telling me that there is something on the other side, and it wasn't anything I needed to be afraid of.
Now, I am even more curious.
In the meantime, do I try to rush through this life to see what's on the other side of that door?
No. I want to live each day to the fullest because once I cross through that door, I know there is no going back.