I often find myself wondering what comes after death.
People tell me there's an afterlife. A heaven and hell, or rebirth, or... something. And believe me, if I die and find myself in front of some pearly gates, or open my eyes again as a cow, I'll be tickled pink. Even if I end up burning eternally in a fiery pit for not having believed in something that there was no evidence to believe in... well, even that is something. Existence is sweet, because as long as one exists there is hope.
But as much as I'd like to find existence beyond death, that's not what I expect. I expect to simply become nothing. My awareness, I suspect, is simply a function of the biochemistry in my brain, and when the juices stop flowing I will cease to be.
I've tried to imagine it. Being nothing, I mean. I've tried very hard. But I simply can't. The best I can do is imagining blackness and silence. A lack of senses. But even that is something. Blackness and silence are still things. They still exist. And what's more, they assume an observer.
People say it's like sleeping a dreamless sleep, but even that's flawed because that assumes waking. Because when I sleep a dreamless sleep, I may not be aware of the time between sleeping and waking, but I still wake. How can one imagine that state of nothingness stretching on for all eternity?
I can't even wrap my mind around the concept of nothingness, let alone being nothingness. I mean, I can imagine a vacuum, but much like darkness and silence, a vacuum is still a thing. It still exists. It is not nothingness. I don't think the human mind is really capable of imagining nothingness, because for our minds to imagine it it must be something, and thus not nothingness.
So, it's difficult for me to imagine what I expect death to be like, because there's nothing in my experience that prepares me for it. I suppose if I could remember distinctly the first instant of awareness, and the transition from nothingness into somethingness, perhaps I could better wrap my mind around it. Alas, that moment (along with vast stretches of my life since) are lost to me.
I fear I will never truly understand nothingness until I die and become it.
And even that might be robbed from me if I die and am startled to find something beyond.