Yup. I said it.
I said the thing I said I would never say.
I said the thing I have sworn for years I do not feel.
But the other morning I woke up and realized I’m afraid to die.
Here are my reasons (not necessarily in this order):
- I’m afraid I will be unhappy after I die.
- I’m afraid I will be lonely after I die.
- I’m afraid I won’t be lonely (i.e. “death” will be crowded and chatty and my introverted self won’t tolerate it well).
- I’m afraid nothing will change after I die (if one is going to face a big fear like death, there’d better be a big payoff afterwards!)
- I’m afraid dying will hurt – a lot.
- I’m afraid I won’t like death….and there’s no take-back.
There are other fears too – but all seem to be variations on these basic themes.
As my longtime mentor knows, I really like to flow chart my life.
By this I mean, if “A” happens then I’ll do “B,” but if “C” happens then I’ll do “D,” and so forth.
And no matter how long I puzzle over it, I haven’t found any way to flow chart death.
“Well if the long tunnel isn’t well-lit enough, I’ll go down the side road to the right. If the light at the end is red instead of blue, I’ll turn back. If there is no light at the end, I’ll go down the side road to the left. If there are no side roads I’ll just sit and wait for backup.”
This sort of practical pre-planning works for me.
I’m also more than a little afraid I won’t be “good” at death.
What if I cower, whimper, whine?
What if I go in my sleep and I don’t have time to finish up everything I wanted/needed to say/do first?
What if I don’t go in my sleep and have to endure dying, messily, noisily, in front of everyone?
What if I die and no one comes (on a personal and emotional as well as physical and, um, disposal-oriented note…)?
So I’m afraid of death.
The girl who has always endured airplane turbulence and tornado warnings by stoically thinking to herself, “Well if it’s my time, it’s my time,”…. the girl who tries so hard to live each day with no regrets so there won’t be any reasons not to be ready to die when death comes, is afraid of death anyway.
I’m not thrilled about this, by the way.
I’m also very much aware the Serenity Prayer pretty much takes care of my fears (see “things I cannot control”).
But still, this is just where I’m at for today.
Today’s Takeaway: Are you afraid of death? Or not? I’d love to hear your insights and (as you feel comfortable sharing) your reasons why – either way!