Day 4 – “D” Death
Death. My biggest fear in life. Sure, I let out an embarrassingly feminine screech of terror when a spider crawls across my desk at work. I often have to scrunch my eyes closed and cover my ears throughout horror movies. When a spider bites you, you know you’ll have a red, swollen patch on your skin. When you watch a scary movie, you’ll likely have nightmares. But, death? The one thing that makes truly sends chills down my spine to the point of nauseating suffocation is the all too realistic notion of the people I love being abruptly torn away from me.
I have always been incredibly emotional about death, regardless of how close I was to the individual. I always put myself in the shoes of those who are grieving, particularly when it was a sudden loss. How tragic to not have any closure, to have that relationship so suddenly terminated. How desperately I never wanted that to be me.
There are two primary factors that have impacted the development of this fear. First is my personal experience pertaining to loss. My aunt and grandfather were two of my closest non-immediately family members to pass away in recent years. Though I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend ample time with them before they passed away, and had a decent amount of “closure,” it just didn’t, it doesn’t to this day, feel like enough. I’m left violently wanting more time, more answers.
Christina likes to control things. One cannot control death. Therefore, Christina cannot control death. Result = gut wrenching anxiety.
My uncertainty related to faith has also contributed to the gross manifestation of my fears surrounding death. The idea of an afterlife of some kind, of heaven or hell, a dreamless sleep, a warm feeling of unconditional love, or a cold dark pit of nothingness. What is the right answer? No one knows, and yet there are so many possibilities. It is that ambiguity, that blind leap of faith one must take, that has been incredibly difficult for me.
I want to believe in something. It petrifies me to think that when we die it is this great, cold, black abyss. All of this uncertainty, this realization of my inability to control the situation, has made me hyperventilate on more than one occasion.
How do you accept that death just is? How does one manage these seemingly uncontrollable fears? Is a learned practice over time? Is the acceptance purely faith-based? No earthly idea. And the not knowing is what terrifies me.