The Death of Me, the Death of Them

Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

I have always been curious about death.

I think about my death, sometimes in a suicidal way and other times not. I think about the death of others — the death of loved ones and the death of those I could care less about — and it’s not death in itself that fascinates me but the aftermath of death — not for the ones left behind but for the ones who died.

Voicing my thoughts about death would earn me pitiful looks from other people, but while feeling sorry for me, they would also avoid me. My culture believes that anyone who thinks and talks about death would attract death upon themselves and others around them.

Regardless, the thought of death and its aftermath is something that I am constantly conscious about and has lulled me to sleep many nights.

And it always begins with the question; If I died today, do I want to be buried?

Growing up a Muslim and as someone still in the faith, I was taught that half a life is returned to the dead after they are buried. This is so that when Angels descend into the grave, they can punish or reward the dead according to their deeds in life. A person who died as a sinner would receive eternal torment, and this makes me wonder if the same would apply if the dead were cremated.

I know the general rule is to bury dead Muslims, but Muslims have been cremated for one reason or another. Do they get to escape being punished or rewarded?

Interestingly, from this point, my thoughts would take another curious path. While it’s still undecided whether the punishment and reward scheme is attached to the grave or the soul of the dead — I wonder if the demons that plagued a person’s mind while they were alive also gets punished?

If I murdered all the things I wanted dead in my life and buried them, would they be punished for the horrors they have put me through while they were alive?

Would my anxieties suffer the torment they have put me through in this life? Would they feel the heat and tightness from the grave? Would angels descend into the grave to punish the anxieties and insecurities that have plagued my life for more than a quarter of a century?

If I dug them up, would I find them still looking fresh, like the corpses of saints and prophets, as if in a deep sleep?

Is the punishment after death reserved only for souls who have lived and not for the things that made them suffer while they were alive? I think it would be interesting to see my anxieties take form and watch them burn and suffer like they made me suffer.

But the real questions are, do anxieties die, or do they follow one about until one died? And maybe even after death, they come in the guise of Angels to continue their torment under a new name called punishment.

Questions and more unanswered questions form the rambling and somewhat disconnected thoughts of death that lull me to sleep at night, but it also tempers my wish to die because death might not be the escape I think it is.

Novelist. Feminist. Creative Writing Teacher. Lawyer