Only suicidal people do this right? Is it only suicidal people who can contemplate death? Why can't we use a simple note to deliver a message behind for our loved ones? Ever thought of how much power that note can hold? Suicide notes have the power to influence a whole nation to action and unfortunately in some cases, to provoke lifetime guilt. It can also be a sharp method of closure and conflict resolution. Allow me to explain:
Your long time school friend who has been subject to countless bullying committed suicide. The family is devastated and hundreds, maybe thousands gather to honor his/her death. The school informs the students and takes a few moments in silence to commemorate this terrible tragedy and maybe mentions the harmful implications of bullying. Accounts on Facebook and other social media are opened and owners of these accounts put in full time and effort into managing them out of love for this individual. Everyone is emotionally driven by this tragic event, perhaps setting up an initiative in his/her name. His bullies are reminded by the world of how terrible they are, and they may be sent into long term depression as a result. There was also a suicide note left behind, solidifying the motivating factors behind the death and sending shocking waves of regret, remorse, guilt and perhaps solidarity.
We tend to live this life trying to grasp the next moment. Not realizing that we may not be privileged enough to live till that moment. So we seem constantly anxious, never satisfied with the status quo and we forget that we are blessed to be as we are right now; alive and breathing. The concept of death seems so distant and far away. After all, we've got enough time, right? To pursue that dream job or to have children or to develop a closer relationship with God. So we procrastinate and throw the present moment away.
Take care in your minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves.-Chesterfield, Lord
So what's the solution then?
To consistently remind ourselves of death and the true significance of this life. Sounds unnecessary and depressing? Perhaps not. It is from the closure of the realization of our short time here on this earth that our link to God is strengthened and our minutes become truly important for our preparation to meet the Creator. On a side note, I do genuinely believe that those with the sensitivity to shed tears for the small things also have the greatest ability to love and be happy and to be sensitive to the concept of death is in itself strength and can be a powerful tool to live with.
"الذين اذا اصابتهم مصيبة قالوا انا لله وانا اليه راجعون"
"Who, when a misfortune overtakes them, say: 'Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return'."
- Quran, Sura Al-Baqara, Verse 156
Here's why I think you should start writing your own note to leave behind:
1. A constant reminder of your true purpose:
Once you begin writing, you will not be satisfied with one sit down. You would want this note to be perfect and as up to date as possible (sounds creepy). This results in a constant reminder of your tie to heaven and the earth. Realizing you may not have much time to leave a mark in this world will leave you wanting to start the change you wish for today.
2. A method of channelling grief and guilt into action:
We tend to remember and honor people once they pass away rather than to remind them of how much they mean to us when they were around. So naturally, people tend to feel guilt for not spending enough time and not being thoughtful enough or perhaps the guilt is directed towards one person who was driving, for example, and survived the accident while the other did not. Addressing those who feel guilty will give them closure and might leave a positive effect rather than a negative one. Those who grieve can be motivated to positive action through prayer, charity and other efforts. You may also leave a specific wish for people to carry out in your honor. It is important that these efforts never sway from God's worship and devotion. This is not a celebrity project.
3. A reminder to those still living:
Quite simply stated as is. A reminder to those who are still living to remember God and to come to grips with their true purpose once more.
4. Can resolve old age interpersonal family conflict:
You may leave behind a wish for people to reconcile differences or to leave old habits for example. The more personal this is, the greater its effect. This may also be time to reveal to the world what you were afraid to say. But remember, this is never an invitation to ricochet a chain of negative conflict as a result or to provoke more guilt. It is important to keep the message as positive as possible. It's up to you to decide what secrets you want to reveal. But be careful.
5. To leave a legacy behind that serves you and others for the hereafter:
Whatever positive efforts get left behind from your influence will count in your bank of good deeds and in theirs. We thank God for His mercy to grant us this second chance even after our death.
6. To never take any moment for granted:
Normally when we write, we prepare to publish or pass it on in a recent time. This feeling can drive the note to be more effective by reminding you every time you open it of how close death is.
7. Teaches you forgiveness:
You might see yourself writing at the beginning with angry sentiments towards some folk. As you age and become wiser and more mature, you will find little reason to keep these ideas as a negative cloud on your remembrance. Getting rid of this will free you from old grudges in sha Allah (God willing).
8. Teaches you to not fear death:
A person who does not fear death will do just about anything. If death is the worst thing that can happen to you in this life and you've come to grips with it, then the little things can't bother you.
"The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there's no risk of accident for someone who's dead." - Albert Einstein