Mortality a reminder to embrace what matters most

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Dr Mafole Mokalobe Social Observer
Dr Mafole Mokalobe Social Observer

So many lives have been lost due to Covid-19. In the stillness and the sadness of death, tears have been shed and hopes have been shattered.

We are exhausted. Consumed by the pain of death.

Of course, mortality is never a happy place. With the passing of every soul, we feel lost, forsaken and empty.

We have so many questions and so few answers. The pandemic has reminded us that life and death live side by side.

Funeral insurance policies, age-reversal treatments and anti-aging medications are all telltale signs that we know very well that our days on earth are numbered.

Still, we fear death.

We are uneasy around death and avoid thoughts about it. Instead, we hang on to every inch of what remains of our life.

The Abrahamic religions’ promise of a happy life after death is no reassurance. We would rather suffer in life than be happy in death.

Even the advocates for the end times do not want to see the end of their time.

This feeling is aptly expressed in the lyrical brilliance of Peter Tosh that “everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die”.

All this is perfectly understandable. Who really wants to die when all we know is life?

Only the dead know about the afterlife.

Truth be told, that which we do not know we fear the most.

Maybe – just maybe – our only glimpses into the afterlife are near-death experiences.

Having had such an encounter, I can confidently say that we are freed from the body and the soul seems to live forever.

Then again, this is not the exact idea of mortality.

But in the darkness of death, there is light.

Occasional thoughts of mortality can inspire us to live our lives to the fullest.

Knowing the future is a distant dream, we become driven.

The urgency of the present becomes all we have to make the most of our life.

We live with no regrets and stop lying to ourselves to avoid hurt.

We are emboldened to tell that secret crush that we like them, cross the Sahara Desert, go see the northern lights or even apologise to the world for the pain we have caused.

Knowing that the end will come, helps us pursue our true passions. We embrace what matters most and let go of insignificant things.

We begin to find ourselves and become better versions of who we are.

Our true sense of worth is awakened.

We make better choices and treasure what matters most. We become focused and are inspired to leave a lasting legacy that will outlive our mortality.

We learn to love more, do good deeds and become compassionate.

As the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates reminded us: Life is nothing but preparation for death.

After all, we are mere mortals made of flesh and blood.

There is a time to be born and a time to die.

Sad as these thoughts may be, they arouse our fearlessness of death and make us appreciate life even more.

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