Friday, December 04, 2009

Will You Remember Me When I'm Gone?

Once a friend asked me, "Are you afraid of dying?" Without thinking much, I hastily replied NO. At that time, I was not afraid of death because I never really knew what death is. Until... that same friend of mine took his own life a few months later. It was then that I had a slightly better understanding on what death truly is. Right now, if that question was thrown at me again, what will my answer be? Some people are afraid of the pain inflicted by death, while others are afraid of leaving their loved ones behind. As for me, I think I am more fearful of losing my loved ones, especially my family and friends.

Anyway, what I want to do today is to share with you an excerpt from Have a Little Faith, a book by Mitch Albom, concerning another reason on why people fear death. This is a conversation between Mitch Albom and the deceased Albert Lewis, who is referred here as 'Reb'.

As a child, I truly believed there was a Book of Life, some huge, dusty thing in a library in the sky, and once a year, on the Day of Atonement, God flipped through the pages with a feathered quill pen and - check, check, X, check - you lived or you died. I was always afraid that I wasn't praying hard enough, that I needed to shut my eyes tighter to will God's pen from one side to the other.

What do people fear most about death? I asked the Reb.

"Fear?" He thought for a moment. "Well, for one thing, why happens next? Where do we go? Is it what we imagined?

That's big.

"Yes. But there is something else."

What else?

He leaned forward.

"Being forgotten," he whispered.

That really took me by surprise. I never realized that being forgotten could be a reason. Although Albert Lewis did not further elaborate his point, the author gave his own thoughts concerning it.
To think that you died and no one would remember you. I wondered if this was why we tried so hard to make our mark in America. To be known. Think of how important celebrity has become. We sing to get famous; lose weight, eat bugs, even commit murder to get famous. Our young people post their deepest thoughts on public Web sites. They run cameras from their bedrooms. It's as if we are screaming, Notice me! Remember me! Yet the notoriety barely lasts. Names quickly blur and in time are forgotten.
Don't you think that this is a sensible explanation? Come on, let's face it, nobody is going to remember you if you haven't done anything out of the ordinary. Being plain and simple does make life easier but it's hard for others to even recall your name. On the other hand, even if you have done something notorious, there will always be something else that is far worse than what has been done. Maybe you will be remembered for a short period of time but eventually, people do forget. In this case, it's kind of harsh, don't you think so? I mean, I will still hope that when it's my time to go, there will be people to leave flowers on my grave. It's like a sign that I did exist in some ways, I guess...

What about you? Are you afraid of being forgotten?


  1. erm.. maybe?
    i dont know.. i dont wanna think of it yet.. just live life to the fullest! =D

  2. Well, you can write quite well. Why not touch on the topic about the funeral ceremony. Should one be buried or cremated? I had a friend asking his children not to waste too much money on his funeral because it is "their money" now. I will visit your blog again if you plan to write one.

  3. We will be forgotten someday, so it doesn't matter lah.

  4. @kenwooi: I like your attitude! Always looking forward!

    @Rengam Boy: Hmmm... that's a good suggestion. Will think about it. Ahhh... Only when I write about that, you will come visit my blog??? Then I better do some research!! :P Thanks for dropping by!

    @Kelvin: True... as time passes, I will definitely remember your profile pic!! :D

  5. I don't know. Am I worth remembering? I am not sure. When i am gone, will my absence make a difference?

  6. Neither do I. I think when we are gone, it will definitely have an effect on our loved ones but I do not know whether that will make a difference in their life...