Have you ever wondered why do people fear to death?  As I watch the film, “After Life” I come to realize that I have feared to death also because of unpreparedness.  Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) and Paul Coleman (Justin Long), are an uneasy couple that argue often, largely due to both of their relationships with Anna’s mother.  After a misunderstanding at dinner of Paul’s big promotion and an impending move to Chicago, Anna storms out of the restaurant.  She suffers a horrible car accident, and is shocked to wake up as Elliot (Liam Neeson), a funeral director, is preparing her body for her funeral.  Elliot reveals he has a gift of helping the dead settle their issues in order to cross over, but Anna refuses to accept her death.  Paul, also not to be convinced of Anna’s death, also struggles to prove that the deranged, Elliot, is planning to bury Anna alive.

Death, it can be safely said, is probably the most feared thing on the face of Earth.  Those asked are unable to explain why they fear death so much. Some scholars who have thorough study of human nature reached the conclusion that there are possibly three reasons for people to fear death.  Firstly, by fearing death, a person actually fears the unknown. No one knows for sure what will happen to them once they die. Thus, this fear of the unknown, that always accompanies man, makes him fear death and dark alike.  Secondly, the thought that we will have to answer our deeds in the hereafter, frightens us. That is because there are not satisfied. That they haven't harmed a man by either hand or tongue and have done good deeds throughout their lives. We all speak white lies shamelessly, and do many awful things, some unintentional, while the others we overlook by thinking them worthless. These thoughts come to us as soon as we think of death.  Thirdly, we are too much in love with the world and its superficial beauties. We can't even think of leaving it and its charms. The thought of leaving the world forever itself is dreadful.  These were the main reasons for people to fear death which, can never be fully understood.

Generally, our fear of death is an unhealthy and unrealistic fear-we don’t want to die, so we ignore the subject, deny it, or get morbidly obsessed by it and think that life is meaningless. However, right now we cannot do anything about dying, so there is no point of fearing the death itself. What kind of fear is useful?  A healthy fear of death would be the fear of dying prepared, as this is a fear we can do something about, a danger we can avert. If we have this realistic fear, this sense of danger, we are encouraged to prepare for a peaceful and successful death and are also inspired to make the most of our very precious human life instead of wasting it. 

According to the Modern Kadampa Teachers, Geshe Kelsang, dying with regrets is not at all unusual. To avoid a sad and meaningless end to our life we need to remember continually that we too must die.  He says that contemplating our own death will inspire us to use our life wisely by developing the inner refuge of spiritual realizations; otherwise we shall have no ability to protect our self from the sufferings of death and what lies beyond. Moreover, he said that when someone close to us is dying, such as a parent or friend, we shall be powerless to help them because we shall not know how; and we shall experience sadness and frustration at our inability to be of genuine help.  Preparing for death is one of the kindest and wisest things we can do both for our self and others. Recentlymy stepmother died due to breast cancer. I believe that she’s prepared on her death because three months before she died, she received the sacrament of reconciliation. And also the matrimonial rite with my father in her bed which was officiated by Rev. Msgr. Rogelio Fuentes, my spiritual director. Then, she also received weekly the body of Jesus Christ with the helped of our local lay minister. I was also able to share with her the facts about death and how to utilize suffering wisely.

The fact of the matter is that this world is not our home. Kelsang emphasized that we are travelers, and passing through. We came from dust, and in a few years, or a few days, we shall move on to our next life. We entered this world empty-handed and alone, and we shall leave empty-handed and alone. Everything we have accumulated in this life, including our very body, will be left behind. All that we can take with us from one life to the next are the imprints of the positive and negative actions we have created. If we ignore death we shall waste our life working for things that we shall only have to leave behind, creating many negative actions in the process, and having to travel on to our next life with nothing but a heavy burden of sins.


On the other hand, if we base our life on a realistic awareness of our mortality, we shall regard our spiritual development as far more important than the attainments of this world, and we shall view our time in this world principally as an opportunity to cultivate virtues such as patience, love, compassion, and wisdom. Motivated by these virtuous we shall perform good deeds, thereby creating the cause for future happiness. When the time of our death comes we shall be able to pass away without fear or regret, our mind empowered by the virtuous we have created, and when the death actually comes we shall feel like a child returning to the home of its parents, and pass away joyfully, indeed, without fear.