American cultural avoidance of the subject of death notwithstanding, I need to contemplate my own ending. The preparatory stuff is already done. That’s not the issue. It’s to come to terms with my own ending.
I wish that I were religious and could look forward to life after death. I was raised as a Christian, and I very much want to believe in God and a church. And I do my best to persuade myself. I pray every night before I sleep in hopes that there is a deity up there who’s hearing me. It’s not working.
At bottom, I conclude that when I die, I cease to exist. That’s hard to accept. I comfort myself by saying that I’ll live on in my books. I remind myself that my children are a part of me that will go on living after me. I focus on the good I have done during my life, the people I’ve helped, the things I have changed for the better. Somehow, none of that is very comforting.
Every culture, from the beginning of time until today, has believed that the soul survives the death of the body. We have created endless religions that emphasize life after death. Despite all that, I am compelled to recognize that my existence will end. Tom Glenn will cease to be. I’m working to accept that.
So what’s left is to come to terms with two aspects of death: its inevitability and going through the process of dying. Am I strong enough, calm enough, wise enough to do that?