When We Die

One interesting fact about me is that I write rhymes, blogs, and scripts in my sleep. I guess that means figuratively because “writing” is actually replaced by typing in my phone, and I don’t do it while I’m unconscious. Maybe the word I’m looking for is “compose.” I don’t know how rare that is, or if it makes sense to people, but the process always tripped me out. I’ve been doing it since my collegiate days. If I had a song or concept I was working on, I would simply think about it as I was close to falling asleep and start to put words together.

Whenever it worked, I imagine that I must have had a dream about the song, and amidst dozens of dreams involving everything under the sun, somehow whatever I was trying to compose would sneak in and take form. When I would wake up, which was usually in the middle of the night, there would be whole verses and compositions already written. And my mission was to remember them. So if you’ve ever heard a song from me, or read one of these rambles, 82% of the time that I came up with them, it was in between 3 and 6AM and I was literally trying to recall lines and phrases that seemingly already existed.
Earlier this week, I got the news that a homie, colleague, and I hate to throw the word “friend” around but I’ve known Pumpkinhead aka Robert Diaz for so long that we weren’t just rap buddies…I learned that he passed away suddenly.

pumpkinhead1He wasn’t a victim of police brutality or some random shooting, or a car crash, or anything wild that can cause his friends to aim their frustration about his passing at one specific place. It was apparently a pain in his stomach that led to a hospital visit that would be his last.

Just the thought of him being a few years older than me, with a child on the way, and leaving the earth without warning is instantly frightening. It’s alarming because it wakes most of us up to focus more on our health, our family, and the importance of our impact while we’re here. Well that’s what it does for me.

Last night I was falling asleep thinking about something to jot down that others can read; and PH’s face kept popping up causing me to dedicate words to his memory. Some images of the infamous Dallas pool party ran through my mind as well.


It seems like every time I want to write something lighthearted, the world smacks me in my face with reality and I feel compelled to offer depth. And then like clockwork, I battle my own brain with uncertainty as I go back and forth between dropping something that will make the average human think hard and share the piece…or I wonder if it will it be more helpful to assist them in forgetting the ills of the world while they smile, drift off and almost laugh. Either is fine. I must accept that.
I wrote this in my sleep. And if I’m not mistaken, a child spoke it to me. Hopefully it was my child, because his vocabulary wasn’t too shabby:

“What happens when we die? Do we disappear forever? Do we go into purgatory until Judgment Day? Why do we pray? Is it so we can go to Heaven? That seems pretty shallow. If there were no Heaven or Hell, would we still repent for our sins and try to become better human beings, and pray to a God? Is Hell on this planet right now? Can infants and toddlers go to Heaven? What if sin doesn’t exist?
What happens when we die?
Does a bright light come down from the sky and take our souls?
Do we go to our own funerals and count attendees?
Are we reincarnated based on the evolution of our spirits?
Will I return as a cow, or a squirrel, or a female dog, or a tree…or someone that’s similar to me that has not finished growing spiritually?
What occurs when we leave the earth? Do we ever leave the earth? Do we gain some vivid clarity like babies and those in hospices? When we are close to The Source we somehow have intense insight and can sense good and evil. Does dying hurt? Is it paradise? Why do we put so much emphasis on staying here longer? Is it because of the unknown?
What happens when your Facebook page is simply a memorial with yearly birthday notifications that result in sorrowful posts and kind comments? What’s next as the thought of our presence and the mention of our existence becomes absolutely positive for the rest of eternity? Will we be remembered for long? My favorite comedian Louis C.K pointed out that we will be dead a lot longer than we will be alive…and yet most of us still walk around pretending that is not the truth.
The question then changes. We can focus on the fear of leaving, the worry about finances, the despair concerning racism, and classism, and the future of our next generation. We can submerge ourselves in social network posts that make us feel more social as we believe we’re networking, gaining followers and friends while simultaneously losing touch with people. Or we can truly connect with loved ones…
We can use death as fuel to not just pursue happiness, but to embrace joy. So the question is not simply what happens when we die…but it is more like, what happens when we live?”

One Comment on “When We Die”

  1. azizirich says:

    What a thoughtful post… Hopefully losing your friend will help you focus on the things you find most important in this life. Tell your child s/he has great questions. 🙂

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