In one of the approximately half dozen groups I am in where the topic is death someone brings up the fear of death. Where does it come from? Why do so many people fear it?
My theory is the fear of death is perfectly natural. First of all its biological. Self preservation is built in and death is the ultimate failure. We want to avoid discomfort, pains and death and rightfully so. Death is a great unknown. No one has gone there and come back. What is there? Is there a there there? So there is a natural fear of death. Added to that is society. Our materialist society tells us we are our bodies. We are our brains. When that heart stops, when those brainwaves go flat, that’s it. Lights out. It’s over. Then we have religion tell us that we get one shot to get it right. It’s a binary choice. Heaven or hell, eternal bliss or eternal torment awaits us. We think we’ve got it right. We think we’re good enough. But who wants to put that to the test, to meet that ultimate pass/fail. Better to put it off as long as possible.
Most of us go through life whistling past the graveyard. Death is unpleasant to think about it, so we just don’t. This technique didn’t work for me. We all have exactly two things in common. We are born and we die. As Dannion Brinkley so succinctly said “If you’re breathing you’re leaving.” So, for me I couldn’t avoid thinking about death and it became a disabling phobia for me. I obsessed about it. I had to get past that though and I realized the only to get past it was to face it head on. I started studying everything I could find about death.
Here I am 50 years past my first memories of lying in bed dreading death. I still lie in bed every single day and contemplate death. It still takes up a good portion of my waking hours. And Shayna’s untimely demise has guaranteed that will never change. I guess by definition obsession with death is considered morbid, but mine is not unhealthy, far from it. I am looking at reality in a whole new and I think more realistic way. I am learning so much about the reality we live in now and the reality that we are going to and that is giving me purpose in my life and perspective. I know that while this life is important and precious, it is also very short. Any pain I have to endure is nothing compared to the joy I will experience. That makes it all bearable. So, the fear of death is gone for me. It’s completely obliterated. And I think one of the reasons I’m still here is to help others reach that same place.