Death is tricky. I was brought up to believe that I’d never die. Coming to terms with the idea of my own eventual death, and that of everyone I love, was difficult at age 13. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we saw our current existence as a sort of warmup ― a qualifying stage, perhaps. The main event would be Paradise. But now, I recognize that I probably have just one shot at life. Everything I want to achieve, I must do now, because there likely isn’t another chance.
Ariel’s story is super relatable. As I wrote about last year, death has been one of the most difficult things to come to terms with since leaving the religion. We were told we were only “temporary residents” here and that living this life is like unpacking at a hotel you’re briefly staying at.
My whole purpose in life was to serve this organization and help people in it. Many times I’m left with a feeling of emptiness as I try to figure out what to do with my life now that I control it. Some days it feels like an adventure, others it feels like a chore.
I yearn for the day when I look forward to this new life ahead of me, and I find all the people who will come to love this new version of myself. But right now, I mostly feel grief.