Death is inevitable and has practically been laid in our cradle. But no one knows exactly when an individual will die. As they say, death is part of life. But most of the time, death is kept silent in many cultures, because it causes fear in many people. And the fear of death is as old as humanity itself.
Death is certain for all of us. Only when it will come, no one knows exactly. But the fear of death should not have a negative impact on life, but rather motivate everyone to use the limited time that everyone has available as well as possible. According to the motto: What can happen to me, I can’t do more than die. So enjoy life and free yourself from your fears.
What happens after death?
The way people deal with death and their views on what happens after death are also very different and have often changed over time. Faith plays an essential role here. Thus, in many religions and world views, death is not the final end, but only the transition into another world or reality of existence. According to various views, matter and energy are not lost after death, but acquire a different form after death.
Death & Rituals
However, the everyday way of dealing with death also has many faces. In many industrialised nations, death is barely perceptible in normal life. It only appears at the funeral, and even that has changed in recent decades. In addition, mourning rituals, funeral ceremonies and rituals for the dead depend strongly on the respective faith. For example, laying out the deceased at home is almost no longer practised in Germany. (The so-called wake is still possible in Germany, however.) In place of the wake at home, there are now certain places where the deceased can be laid out at the funeral home, in the mourning hall at the cemetery or in special rooms at the crematorium. In these places, the relatives or whoever can say goodbye to the deceased once more before the funeral. Funeral ceremonies also vary greatly around the world. In Germany, burial usually takes place in a coffin or urn.
For many people, the funeral ceremony is the saddest part, because for many it is the final farewell to a person. However, as said earlier, it does not have to be seen as final. One can communicate with the deceased in many different ways even after death. Some people put up a photo of the deceased; others light candles for the deceased and put them in the window and others celebrate the birthdays of the deceased with coffee and cake.
But no matter what religion or ideology one is, they all have one thing in common. Respect is shown to the dead and the dead are remembered, even if this varies greatly. One of the best examples are the holidays “Dead Sunday” and “All Souls’ Day” in Germany. On these days, the graves of the deceased are decorated with flowers and candles. Many also pray for the salvation of their loved ones who have already died. At this time, death is in focus and also becomes visible in everyday life.
Ancestors & the dead have an influence on real life!?
In other religions, death is not pushed so far into the background. There, the dead, also called ancestors, are often part of everyday life. In a few sentences and expressed in very general terms, ancestors and also spirits, for example in the voodoo religion and also in shamanism, have an influence on life in the “real world”, and determine the fate of an individual or a whole group. For this reason, they must be propitiated with offerings or through special ceremonies. Ancestors are also supposed to keep evil spirits away from people.
Everyone has to decide for themselves how much death they want to allow into their lives and whether they believe that there can be life after death, no matter what that may look like. It is also important to allow grief, but grief should not influence one’s life too much. Perhaps dealing with death is easier if you believe that you can contact the deceased (ancestors) or ask them for advice. There are countries where you celebrate with the dead, even if it was painful to say goodbye to a loved one when they died. Decide for yourself and enjoy your time until the end approaches, which many see as a transition into another world and perhaps even into paradise.
But no matter how you feel about death, you should pay respect to the people who have died.