Why do People have to Die?
With all the incredible discoveries and advances mankind has made in the areas of medicine, science, technology and philosophy, death still remains an absolute mystery to us all. What happens when we die? Will we experience life anew in the Great Beyond or does death bring an end to our conscious experience of the universe? How can it be that someone we knew and loved is suddenly just not here anymore? People have always asked these questions and the best answers we've been able to come up so far with always seem philosophical in nature, completely devoid of a simple 'yes' or 'no'.
Religious and spiritual beliefs aside, it has long been said that death gives meaning and importance to life. Without death, perhaps there would be no need for things like love, care, and understanding--things that undoubtedly make us human. As people, we seem to have a universal tendency to want what we can't have. If we did have the option to choose to live forever, would we eventually become bored with immortality and ultimately feel jealousy toward mortals? If there was no death, would the passions of life also be stripped away from our existence?
Dealing with Loss
Dealing with death is one of the most difficult things we will ever have to do. We don't like to think about it, but it is something we will all eventually have to deal with at some point in our lives, whether it's the loss of a loved one or we're faced with the reality of our own death. The mysteries surrounding death have always cast a shadow over all human beings. Even though at present we maintain some slight control over the direction of our own lives, death is the one thing over which we have no control.
Experiencing loss and the associated grief is a highly personal process we all must endure.
Indeed, the word 'death' itself invokes a variety of emotions. We do not like to even think about death because doing so can remind us of the people we've lost. Contemplating the subject of death for an extended period of time would also eventually force us to acknowledge our own mortality, causing our minds to unleash perhaps one of our last remaining primordial, yet incredibly enduring and virulent fears: the fear of the unknown.
Throughout history, the subject of death has been examined and scrutinized by philosophy, religion, art, science, literature, and music. Human beings have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and death is something we may never truly understand. It can challenge us to question our very existence. But aside from the obvious philosophical issues, psychologists have relentlessly studied death and its effects on the human psyche. Some experts have even acknowledged there isn't a lot that can be done to help a person through the situation--an experience they call the grieving process.
The Grieving Process
A person experiencing the death of a loved one generally begins the grieving process at the time of the loss, or shortly thereafter. However, the grieving process may also begin before the loss actually takes place. This is especially true in cases where a family member is terminally-ill.
Over the years, death has been examined by many researchers in an attempt to study grief and how people react to it. Because grief is apparently so complex and its effects are so varied from one person to the next, experts are oftentimes unable to agree on what is 'normal' behavior when dealing with loss. Unfortunately, it seems impossible to determine what normal grieving behavior is, simply because everyone experiences grief differently. While some experts have concluded that people need to experience a specific set of emotional 'steps' before they can expect to be healed from the loss, others contend that a specific set of emotions and behaviors cannot be quantified as normal reactions to grief, since some people will never experience things like denial or anger, for example, during the grieving process.
Therefore, it is not possible to describe what is to be expected during grief, nor is it possible to predict how a person will grieve. However, even if a death was expected, a person may feel shock when the death finally occurs. You might be thinking, I still can't believe it, for weeks, months, or even years after someone you loved passes away. Crying is an ordinary reaction to loss, but you also might experience a loss of appetite and insomnia.
There isn't anything that anyone can say or do that can change what has happened, and this simple fact makes acceptance very difficult for many people. Likewise, there isn't anything anyone can say or do to make you feel better. Grief is simply a natural process in which a person needs to adjust his or her life to a completely new reality, and while this can be difficult to do, it is certainly not impossible. In fact, you may discover new strengths through the grieving process that you may have never before known you possessed.
It's most important to remember that anyone experiencing grief should not have to go through this process alone. While solitude can provide a great comfort, people are ultimately social beings. Help from others should always be sought from family and friends if you are having trouble coping with grief. Sometimes a good conversation with mutual friends or a short change of scenery is all you need to lift your spirits, even it it's just for a little while. Finally, you might want to consider attending grief counseling or a bereavement support group, where you have the opportunity to meet people also coping with loss, as well as share stories and memories about your departed loved one to people who truly want to listen.
The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.