Is Death the end?

Posted by EOPL


Is death the end of our life’s journey? Most people would say ‘Yes, it is.’ This is because death as the end is the reality we see in our world, or our realm.  No one knows whether after death, there’s anything else because no one has returned to tell us, well some have I guess, but has any been proven?  What if there really is another reality that we do not know of, and it only presents to us after death?  It may be the reality for the deceased.  Once died, they are transcended to another reality where they cannot turn back to tell their loved ones of its existence, or of their continued existence, for that matter. 

We probably heard that there are those who died and returned, but they each have a different reality of death to tell, so who do we believe?  Perhaps, each encountered different reality after death, who knows?  Only those experienced it knows.

For as long as there’s human beings in this world and their awareness of death’s existence, they have speculated as to what happened after death.  This is why we know about hell, heaven, spirits, ghosts and more.  None have been proven and likely never be proven.  Some of us firmly believe that there’s another reality beyond death, some simply believe that once died we are like a light switched off, and nothing more.

My mother used to tell me exactly that, once died, there’s nothing more.  I agreed with her for most of my life but shortly before she passed away, I re-examined this belief.  Faced with the imminent end of my mother’s life due to cancer and other health issues, the process of grieving had begun even before we were told about palliative care.  The thoughts about death, what it means, what it will be like and what happens after that, had visited my mind, even though I didn’t want to invite them in.  I pondered on the world beyond death; heaven and hell, the world of spirits and whether there’s reincarnation and how that would happen.  I still could not find myself convinced about the possibility of heaven and hell’s existence.  I also find it hard to believe that there is a spirit world out there, in another realm that we don’t know about, but I’m not ruling this out.  In some way, it is because I find it even harder to accept that once died, there’s nothing left, what was the purpose of life then?  All the experiences, knowledge and wisdoms learned in the course of our life will vanish into nothingness with death? What a waste!

I was able to discuss my thoughts with Mum.  She was an exceptional person, she always had her own opinion of things, and she never treated death as a taboo subject like most people in her generation and from our community.  Being Chinese, death is a subject one does not talk about to elderly parents or relatives.  It’s seen as inviting death’s visit.  Mum never bothered about this and she even told me a funny story about someone, who said that she did not want to be cremated when she died, because it would be very painful.  It was as if the lady had not really considered what death was about, and when Mum said to her, once you are dead, you would not know about pain anymore, it doesn’t matter having a burial or cremation, it seemed like a ‘light switched on’ moment for the lady, she laughed and agreed with Mum. 

I told Mum what I thought about death: I am not convinced completely that there’s nothing left after we died.  It just seems such a waste after we acquired all the experiences in life and ‘puff’ all went up in smoke with the last breath we take.  I am inclined to believe that once we died, our essence will leave the body that is no longer capable of providing it with protection and life.  A deceased’s essence is invisible, intangible and may not be detectable by any current devices invented by man (who knows, one day there may be more sophisticated devices that can).  I believe that ‘essence’ moves from end of one life to another, and in each life, it would be denser with experiences, knowledge and wisdom, but without the memories of lives lived.  However, it does not mean there’s complete lack of connection to the people we once knew in our past lives, if our ‘essence’ meets a loved one’s ‘essence’ in another life, though we would not know each other, there maybe be a connection, for example, we may find that we get on very well or like each other on sight, or feel as if we’ve known each other a long time etc.  Mum considered what I told her and she nodded in agreement, though made no comment.  Mum liked to chew over something she found interesting but not entirely sure about.  I was glad she was kinds of agreed with me.   This gave me some comfort after Mum died.

I don’t know what a ‘good death’ is, but in my mind, if someone can peacefully leave in their sleep that’s a ‘good death’.  This had been what I hoped for Mum – no pain, no discomfort but with peace and acceptance.  Unfortunately, my wish was not granted, Mum suffered a lot in the last month of her life.  Cancer was partly the reason, but what really shock me was that she died not of cancer, but heart failure which none of us, including the professionals looking after her, knew was progressing and eventually killed her.  We only realised in the late stages and treatment was too late to stop the damage.  Mum took her last breath just after midnight on 3rd December 2022, after not able to lie down to sleep for over three weeks and had suffered severe shortness of breath, pain and discomfort.   During the past year, sometimes Mum would say that she wanted to die as she felt tired and no longer wished to continue.  However, I think it was just on the down days, when she said it, and she didn’t really mean it.  I truly believe that Mum did not want to leave us so soon, she tried to fight off death, but was not successful, her heart failed.  We were devasted by our loss and still grieving.

In those dark days after Mum’s funeral (before her burial, I was in automated mode, was not able to think or grieve because I just had to make sure I organised and carried through Mum’s funeral), I thought again what I discussed with Mum and tried to find some comforts in believing that Mum’s ‘essence’ is with us and will reborn. Even though Mum’s ‘essence’ may no longer know us or has any memories of us, Mum has some connection with us still.  One night whilst trying to sleep and could not, I talked to Mum in my mind and said to her that I hope her ‘essence’ will reborn and find a good family to born into, a new life with a good and strong body, with loving new parents and have a new good life.  Whilst closing my eyes, I saw a small dot of light which grew slowly bigger into a mixture of purple/lilac ball shape, and then I saw it seems to have a tail, the shape is a bit like a huge tadpole, but no eyes just a ball of purple/lilac light, then I saw angel wings, transparent wings flapping, very cute.  I asked ‘is this Mum’s essence?’  I had no answer.  After a few seconds, everything went dark and the purple ball of light disappeared.  I felt that it was Mum’s ‘essence’, just letting me know of its presence and to comfort me. 

Perhaps, Mum also reminded me of her presence in another form - ‘sounds’. I heard Mum calling me twice, whilst I was sleeping and I was meant to get up to take my medication.  I had problem getting to sleep at night and then unable to wake up in the morning, I had a course of antibiotics and supposed to take my medication prior to food, so should take one in the morning before breakfast.  I set my alarm but could not get up, slept again, then when it was getting to 9.30am, I should get up else would mess up my times for taking medication during the day, I heard Mum called my name, I woke up.  The first thought came into my mind was ‘Mum called me to get up to take medication’.  However, I was also a bit sad because if Mum is still staying with us, she has not gone to a new life. 

Next morning, I did not hear Mum called but I heard the sound of her movement in bed.  Mum used to sleep on a hospital type bed provided by the OT and when she wakes up in the morning, she would shift a bit though unable to get up without help.  The noise made was exactly what I heard that morning, when again, I was unable to get up on time to take medication.  I know that this type of experiences happens to those who lost loved one recently, and they often hear their loved ones, be it noise, voice or some sounds associated with the deceased.  However, no one can be sure that these experiences are just imaginations or manifestations of our grief.  I would like to believe that Mum’s ‘essence’ exists and tries to connect with us.  It is a dilemma for me because, I do not want Mum’s ‘essence’ to remain in some kind of limbo, I would like it to reborn and live again in another life if there is such a possibility.  Of course, I have no idea if it is possible, I just hope that it is.   

How ‘essence’ can be reborn?  This I do not know and can only speculate: it would probably have a way of travelling and entering a new body.  I supposed it would be the body of a new life (new born) and with ‘essence’, this life will become a new person in this world, with a sense of self/identity and characteristics.  It is unlikely that ‘essence’ can occupy an adult body since it is probably already occupied.  I don’t know how long it takes for ‘essence’ to reborn and where, I guess it could be that rebirth will be sooner if circumstances allow, for example, if death happens near birth, ‘essence’ would not need to travel far to find a new life to reborn into.  So, if someone died in hospital where there’s also a maternity ward, the chances of rebirth happening instantly or very quickly is much more likely. 

When my father passed away in 2019, he was in hospital.  At the time, I had no idea about ‘essence’.  However, I strongly felt that he had reborn to a new life very soon after he left us.  On the night before he passed, I was not by his side, I had been sitting by his side for several nights and had become exhausted, my head was splitting and so I went home to get some sleep.  At the time, I had not expected Dad to leave us,  I guess I wasn’t able to accept that he was near end of life.  When I drove home at around 2.30am, I felt Dad’s presence next to me.  I should say I smelt his presence.   That evening, I had applied some Chinese medication to his sore mouth, it has a distinctive smell.  Whilst driving and approaching a roundabout, feeling very light headed because of lack of sleep, I suddenly smelt this distinctive smell which woke me up and made me alert.  I thought, that’s funny, why this smell suddenly appeared?  I thought it was strange because it was only very brief and then nothing.  After Dad passed away, I kept thinking about what happened.  I think Dad was aware of me going home, although he was not conscious, he had not been lucid for some days, he still projected his concerns for me when I drove home and somehow, made his presence felt to alert me, to remind me to drive carefully as I was not in a very alert state.  After Dad died, I just felt that Dad had gone to a new life, I don’t know why, it’s not something I can explained.  I just felt sure that was what had happened.  After all, we really do not know whether there’s anything beyond death, so we can only go by what we feel and believe.

So, if our ‘essence’ can reborn life after life, how come we have no memories of any.  Well, it would be too much if we have, so everything we learn, experienced, good or bad, will all condensed down to make ‘essence’.  I think I would call it ‘essence of past lives’ or EOPL.  EOPL is not the spirit of the deceased because it does not have an identity of a person, it has no form but can appear in a form as what I seen as Mum’s ‘essence’, this form may be anything, but I guess the condition has to be right for it to appear, otherwise it would be common for apparitions to appear to their loved ones, and we would hear about these experiences a lot more.

After EOPL leaves a life, it will have to find a way of travelling to another life.  The time between one life and another, I was mentioning it as in ‘limbo’, it may well be so, or it could be a transcending dimension, I have no idea how this works, it could be like some networks similar to high ways, allowing EOPL to travel to a new life.  Again, it may have to take the right condition for EOPL to get on these high ways to a new life.  

My belief about EOPL has helped me somewhat in coming to term with losing Mum.  I think each one of us on earth has a way of finding meanings and comforts during difficult times.  I just want to share some of my thoughts and hope others can find their own ways of managing difficult times.