In response to survey question: What thoughts do you have about your own death?

John M. Medeiros, May 2011

I have given death a great deal of thought in the past and have had a couple of meditative experiences in years past where I feel that I acknowledged and openly accepted my "mortality." My main thought on my own death (or death in general) is that death is the time when all questions will be answered. Although I do not feel certain that consciousness will continue, and that a living mind or spirit will survive after physical death, I do feel it is valid that "all questions will be answered." If my physical death is followed by nothingness, by the complete absence of any existence or any form of consciousness, then that is the answer to all the questions. Other than that, I usually feel that I do not fear death because fear of death could not have any meaningful influence over what death is or will be. I will die as all living things die, and what follows is what follows by nature. I do not have any power over what occurs during that process or event that we call "death." As far as morality is concerned, and reward or punishment following death, I do not see any real rational sense in that. For me, all the reasons to be a good person and lead a good life exist right here, and do not require a prescribed future consequence as an additional motivation for good behavior. It is my observation that although many people claim they believe that behavior will be rewarded or punished after death, they still act as though they believe they are out of reach of God. -- Just before sending my response, remembered that I faced death for real when I had my heart attack (nine years ago). I remember that there was a 10 to 15 minute period, while we waited for the ambulance, where I thought that maybe "this is it." I distinctly remember my dominate feeling was that it is a shame that I am going to die then because there are still things that I want to do. I am quite sure that I said that out loud to the people who were with me at that time. I also remember thinking that this reality -- "there are still things I want to do" is probably a logical response for anyone who is dying and who has generally enjoyed life and does not want to die, not yet.

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