My Letter


Thoughts about Death,

I don't think about death very often. There are several reasons for this. One is that it is a mystery to me. What happens when we die? Is it actually a peaceful event? Will I miss the people closest to me? How much will they hurt when I'm gone? All of these types of questions concern me. There is also the aspect of fear... mostly because of the unknown.

These fears and questions are counterbalanced with hope. This hope comes from my faith in Jesus and His promise that if I believe in Him, I will have eternal life and be with Him for eternity. To me this means my body will pass away, but my spirit will be with Him forever and ever.

I don't understand that, but I believe it.

I also think that at some time in the future I will be given a new body. It will be given perfect features, and I will live in God's presence forever. This hope gives me comfort, and I am somewhat set free from the fears mentioned earlier.

I work in a hospital in an area that actually stores the bodies of those who have died (awaiting pick-up by a funeral home). I have always felt that area is cold and impersonal, and if I could avoid being placed there after I die, I would like to... but I don't really think I can. I wonder about the disposition of my body after I die. I don't like the idea of being in the ground in a box, nor do I really embrace the notion of cremation.

I think that the key here is that my faith causes me not to worry too much, and assures me that I have an existence, albeit different, after this physical one has ended.

My personal experiences with death range from my grandparents to parents and to some people who are close to me. I would say that the most gut-wrenching apsect is always how much those left behind grieve.

I remember seeing my grandfather sobbing inconsolably when his son was killed in an automobile accident. I remember seeing how one of my partners reacted when he lost two daughters a few years apart following automobile accidents. It's the bereavement of families that has touched me rather than the death of someone they loved.

I also acknowledge that death is just a part of life. A seed falls to the ground... it "dies" in a sense (as far as being a seed), but it grows... is transformed into something else. That is precisely what I think happens to us as we die. We are transformed into something beyond our expectations. I'm convinced of that. My faith helps me with tamping down the fear aspect and also helps me with not worrying about my future; but I think about those I will never see again in this life, and I am saddened for that loss.

I take solace in the hope that the more I believe in heaven, the less frightening dying becomes.

Grover Smith

Grover Smith, Health Care Provider

This letter is part of the Death Letter Project - North Carolina, a means to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, NC.


Michael Palko