The Grim Reaper may give us no advance warning.

If you are reading this, you are most likely over fifty. Even more likely, in less than sixty years you will be dead. But, for your peace of mind, eventually we shall all be dead. A lot of people know that! But none of us knows for certain what to expect.

Death of the body has been likened to bursting a balloon. The spirit (or air) is indestructible and survives by escaping its terrestrial shell which eventually disintegrates, having fulfilled its purpose.

Eventually, if we want to move on to finer things, we should be prepared. The Grim Reaper may give us no advance warning before striking and hoisting us before the judgement panel. Whether we have practised mass genocide or jumped a queue in Huddersfield, we need to ask if we are fit to come in.

When called upon to leave our temporary encasement, we are therefore advised to reflect on our sins of thought, word, deed and neglect. This makes me feel uneasy, for they are many. And if we reject the concept of an “after-life” completely, we are taking a pretty scary gamble. Richard Dawkins, as an example, is prepared to take this gamble in extremis.

It is, of course, acceptable to believe either in the existence or non-existence of a God and a form of afterlife, because neither view can be proved or disproved. Dawkins dismisses anything that can’t be backed by scientific evidence. He simply rejects the existence of God because it’s beyond his understanding. Furthermore, he has tried to persuade children from Christian families to abrogate their beliefs. Hardly an act of tolerance.

Through a medium, it is possible to contact the “departed”. Those with adequate faith do receive messages and communicate with the spirits, especially of loved ones.

Do the Pearly Gates actually exist? Heaven and Hell? Reincarnation of spirits? Everlasting Life? Until we croak, we can’t be sure.

As in the Monty Python parrot sketch, there are many ways of expressing this transition. We will have fallen off the perch, gone to meet our Maker, crossed the great divide or simply snuffed it.

Should we be fearful of death? It depends on our attachment to the people, objects and experiences we have held dear during our lives on Earth. By the time we gasp our last, all our life experiences are mere memories and we can’t take the BMW or our library of books and music with us. We’ll miss not sharing further time with friends and family, but we may meet again in a better world.

Fear of the manner of death is a different matter. Those suffering prolonged illnesses, starvation, mental issues or life in captivity may face death with resignation. Likewise, people without medical care or family comfort. And for those facing torture or execution? They may be terrified of dying – but praying for death.

David Worboys’s opinions are his own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.

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Written by

David Worboys

Born Aylesbury, 1939. Have lived and worked in London, Zurich, Vienna and Frankfurt travelling extensively throughout Europe and then worldwide as Financial Controller. Interests include travel, music, literature, sport, photography and gastronomy. Bought property in Nerja and contributed to local magazine "Market Place". Retired 1965. Married to Margarete with three daughters.


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