Skepticism and Death
by Jen Cowlitzer

413 words (2.5-3 minutes)

      Does everything really happen for a reason? Even death? Death is futile and meaningless. When my uncle died, just before his fiftieth birthday, my grandmother told me that it was because my grandfather needed him in death. She said that Jesus would watch over both of them and that I should be happy for them. But my uncle died of cancer and my grandfather died of heart complications. The REASON my uncle is gone is because he was sick. At my uncle’s funeral, my grandmother didn’t shed more than a single tear for her son. She just had the blind faith to believe it was fine. I didn’t. In fact, I was mad at my grandmother for that blindness. Why would she be so resolute in her beliefs that she couldn’t even question the validity of her faith? I remain completely ambivalent in my faith to the point of skepticism. Why would Jesus care? Why did my uncle have to die? Wouldn’t my grandfather have wanted his son to live?

I don’t think Jesus has anything to do with this. I think people just get old and give up. My mother’s mother has become distant and forgetful, though remains as stubborn as ever. She always talks about how she is about to die and that gives her the right to do whatever she wants. Last year, she came up to me, looked up and down and said “Jenny, you’re looking pretty pudgy,” and proceeded to jab me repeatedly in the stomach. She said she had the right to say that because she was old. I didn’t respond.

At the same time, you don’t have to be old to die. My uncle was forty-nine. My dog died at age forty-nine in dog years. You don’t even have to die to die. Sometimes I see people get this really foggy expression, like they’re exhaling more than air. They seem beaten.

Worst among my fears is that someday I will die. Everyone tells me it’s natural and fine, but I remain unconvinced. How I am expected to feel that even with all the bad things in my life, that I should accept that all the beauty, glory, love, exhilaration, and majesty will end, I will shrink into nothingness and everything will be fine. I don’t want to die.

And so I ask: Is there a reason for death? I don’t know. You tell me. But I guess, more importantly, the question is: Is there a reason for life?

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