I've seen people cry and be traumatized for a long time afterward when this card appears in their readings.
(Well, duh I've dabbled in Tarot readings! I mean, I may be ever so rational but I like this kind of stuff a lot. Also like astrology muchly.)
Anyway, yes, this is Death. It's an unsettling card, to be sure, but it's more so because of its evocation of the unknown than because of its actual power of devastation.
Bear with me if you will: death itself is only an instant. Other instants in life include breathing in; breathing out; saying "yes"; changing your mind; farting.
Farting, of course: it's there for a reason.
Have you ever farted loudly in public?
I don't mean that you passed gas and perhaps crop dusted around the room (you KNOW you've done this, so don't get uppity with me here): I mean you audibly let one rip and people realized a) it was a fart, and b) that it was coming out of your anus.
It's embarrassing, isn't it? You may get teased about it or perhaps you may be able to joke about the whole thing. Some people will empathize with you or perhaps tell you embarrassing stories of their own. And some people will try to completely ignore the fact that your fart happened. They will go about their business and never, ever bring up again the fact that you passed gas. But the fact is that no one can put the air back into your intestine. Done is done, for better or for worse. And let's face it– you probably are at least a little relieved that you were able to release some pressure, even if everyone is now cracking jokes at your expense.
And so it is with death.
Death– not the pain or the sorrow or the emptiness left behind by death, but the moment itself– is just an instant. It happens: one moment you're alive and the next you're dead. It technically does not matter how death comes about, but when it happens it's done and there is no more life.
And that's it.
Everyone around you will react in their own way: grief, sorrow, empathy, or complete and total denial. But the dead remain so, no matter what happens.
Something changes irreversibly, and that's it. In some way, it's oddly liberating. It's over.
Think of something that's a done deal. Think of something you'd like to see through and call it a done deal.
Which one keeps you up nights?
Now, next time you get Death in your Tarot reading, don't stay up nights freaking out about it. Just think of it for a moment, and then think of it as a moment.