What Happens Next? Maybe We Don’t Need to Know

Words by: Coby Renkin
Art by: Gabrielle Poh

When I signed myself up to write a piece on mortality and the afterlife, I had all these ideas running through my mind and I was excited to write something witty and exceptionally non-expert on the subject.

But the last few months have been rough for me. I have lost some of those I hold closest, both of the human and animal kind. I have been putting off writing this article, telling myself my “creative juices weren’t flowing” when truly I think I just wasn’t ready to come face to face with my views on what happens after death. Partly because I’m not entirely sure, and partly because what I think I do know might just be a bit too much to bear right now. 

There are many beliefs when it comes to the afterlife, concerning whether it does or does not exist. The former tends to be based on religion or spirituality of some sort, and to my occasional dismay, I don’t have real faith in either. 

The problem I face today is that the latter is just a little too hard for me to accept. I, as many others do, struggle to come to terms with the idea that when those I love physically leave my world, they’re just gone. That with them leaves their character, and all the parts of them I loved having around. My beliefs in every aspect of life are very much science-based, but when it comes to our mortality, I hit a roadblock. My logic and my reason tell me I know the reality, but my heart just refuses to believe it. 

It’s not fair that good people have good hearts that suddenly stop beating, leaving the world without the privilege of their presence.

It’s not fair that the animals we give our entire beings to, will one day leave us empty and companionless.

It’s not fair that the people we love will one day leave this earth. And that is it. Forever.

I understand that life is not fair.

But, I also understand that sometimes a little bit of faith is not the end of the world, even if it’s not how I would usually define myself.

While the death of a loved one chips away at who we are, and leaves a hole we don’t quite know how to fill, it is ultimately not about those left behind. I’ve realised that it brings me great comfort to think that maybe, even if I can no longer connect with them, that those I’ve loved are still out there. Maybe they’re watching over me or maybe they’re back on earth in a whole new form with no knowledge of my existence. Either way, even if I don’t know it for a fact, I feel a little better with the thought that with or without me, the best parts of those I love are always going to be out there. 

I’ve realised we don’t always have to define ourselves by our core beliefs and they don’t always have to apply to every part of our lives. Some things are just bigger than that

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