It’s close to 3 am and I’m nowhere near asleep. Having had quite a dramatic day yesterday, it feels like my head is still in turmoil over the day’s events.
My father was hospitalised for coronary heart condition. He called late morning and complained that he had trouble breathing. I told him to go to the hospital and that I would meet him there and for once, without arguing, he agreed. Once there, the doctor said that there were two options: to have balloon angioplasty with the risk of complications and possibly death or to get intravenous therapy with the risk of a stroke. My father chose the latter. So he spent 6 hours in ER while they injected medication to supposedly dilute the clogging, followed by isolated observation in the ICCU.
While me and my sister were waiting at the hospital, sometime in the afternoon there was a 7.3 (on the Richter scale) earthquake that started in Tasikmalaya, a town in West Java, which ripples reached Jakarta and caused considerable panic. People were worried of an aftershock and, Jakarta being a coastal city and with the memory of Aceh still fresh in people’s minds, the possibility of a tsunami.
All that, combined with the 9 hour wait that I spent at the hospital which translates into watching the endless comings and goings of patients, made me wonder about mortality and the seemingly inevitable fear that people express – whether explicitly or implicitly – when talking about it. So I started asking around and, from the collective answers, arrived at this conclusion:
When people say that they fear death, it’s either because they have things or people they can’t bear to leave behind, an unfinished business they have yet to complete, regrets over past events, not knowing what will follow after, or a combination of those mentioned.
It’s a known fact that we’re all going to die, it’s just a matter of time. After all, ‘forever’ is just a concept and very few things ever last. For my part, I’ve said that I’m not afraid of death as long as there’s no pain, and I mean it. And I’m not a great believer in regret. I know what I’ve done – the good, the bad, and everything in between – and though I may not like some or even most of them, it’s not as if I can jump on a time machine and redo them differently. The best I can hope for is the presence of mind to not repeat the mistakes I’ve made when a second chance ever comes but if it doesn’t, so what?
With everything in mind, life in itself holds little concern and death doesn’t seem that big of a deal. It’s simply the beginning to another adventure to end a pretty much predictable one. So why fear it? If anything, the knowledge that death can come at any time is only a reminder for us to live life to the fullest whichever way we know how.