Death is multifaceted. It’s not just the fear of non-existence. It’s the fear of suffering, of our loved ones suffering, our bodies and identities being disrespected, and the the burden of our end of life that might weigh on the people we love. Fear of death is not indisputably self-centered; it can be a compassionate fear.https://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/article/life-death-and-the-anxiety-in-between/
(The author of the above quote is: Louise Hung is the producer & co-writer for “Ask a Mortician”. Along with writing and researching for the Order, you may remember her words from HuffPost, Time, xoJane, or your local NYC lit reading. Follow her on Twitter.)
I am not afraid of what will happen to my loved ones after I die because I know I will be remembered in their hearts. I hope that I will be remembered for my humor, my kindness, and my love of life. I have created some phenomenal memories with some incredible people. I know, if I died tomorrow, that I have lived my best life and life will continue on without me.
I know I will die. I know I will probably not die my ideal death. I further know that when I die I will be missed. People will conjure me up from their memories and laugh at the shenanigans I pulled. I will be sainted by some, buried deep with hatred by others but either way, I’ll be dead.
What I am afraid of, if I’m going to be completely naked here, is the actual dying. The disease that will eventually end my life. I’m afraid of the suffering I may experience. I’m afraid that my suffering will be a burden on those I love and on those whom love me back.
If I’m further going to expose myself, I’m afraid of the grief I feel when I lose those I love. It tears down the walls of what “should be” and replaces it with a new reality, devoid of the vibrant colors that once existed. It flays the protective skin of what is considered mundane into weeping shreds. It causes suffering so profound that there can seem to be an endless path of darkness. Not to mention the acceleration of losses and time.
I hover on the edge between acceptance and rejection of the inevitable. I mean, I’ve survived thus far, so what makes me think my time is limited? I know the obvious answer, but that doesn’t make me any less convinced that I will somehow be immortal. That I, alone, will be the one to conquer death.
We all know that’s a bunch of hogwash, but yet we all continue to live with this model. We become so complacent in our lives that we don’t take time to think of the end of it. That has a limiting effect on what we can actually accomplish in our brief time here. It leaves things undone and unsaid. A reminder to us all is not to take our lives for granted. We are constantly getting closer to the end of our lives whenever that may be.
I’ll confess one more fear to you. I’m afraid of dying alone. I’m so used to being surrounded by people, noise, ruckus, and life that I’m afraid of what I’ll be missing out on when I die. I know we will all die alone even if we’re surrounded by our loved ones. It’s a singular trip with a ticket for one. But that doesn’t make me feel any better.
Despite my fears, I consider myself Death Positive. I speak freely and openly about Death, Dying, and the grief that walks hand in hand. That doesn’t mean that I’m fearless. It just means that I’m not afraid to talk about the difficult topic of death. I’m available for brief consultations to full on Doula work. See my services page for more information.