Fear of Death

Strong winds tunnel their way between the buildings in the suburbs of Chicago, howling like a coyote who has spotted the pack’s meal for the day. Droplets, half rain-half ice, paint the contours of their bodies against office windows while smoky clouds roll in layers, blocking the warmth of a forgone summer from the people below. Skirts, shorts, dresses, and tank-tops are gradually being replaced with leggings, sweatpants, jeans, and sweatshirts; indicating that mid-October is here, and winter is not far behind.

Recent events, society’s inability to evolve enough to co-exist peacefully, the inevitable five-month period of gloomy weather (ew, winter!), and an affliction with an illness known as cynicism, are all responsible for this post. While promoting positive discussion by providing challenging content is Shortlifelongroad’s ultimate goal, sometimes navigating through the darkness within us is the only way to find the light.

Death, or the act of dying, is not what frightens me (except when imagining horrific and painful scenarios). What is terrifying is the thought of not having the chance to live my life to completion before death extends its reach in my direction. It’s the idea that I will never see my dreams fulfilled or I was unable to leave an influential mark on the world–I’d end up as a ghost with unfinished business.

Each person is different–each person has their own idea of what a life of fulfillment is, but mine comes from answering two questions that are truly difficult to answer: who am I & what is my purpose? Some find comfort in the answers provided by their occupations, their children, or religion, which is often good enough, but I am not satisfied with them. There has to be something out there other than the conventional answers.

Another reason I’m afraid is because of the unknown. Growing up, I was raised in a moderately religious home and attended Christian schools, and it was practically beaten into me (not literally) that Hell exists and Satan is waiting in a fiery pit to stab me with a red pitchfork while his demons eat my skin, or something like that. I have not believed in such things for over a decade, and I can say with near certainty that we will simply rot in the ground when we die, but my objective mind knows I cannot prove it.

Fear of something as terrifying as the depiction of Hell–read The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri–can stay with someone for a long time, especially when reinforced by peers, role models, and movies about demonic possession.

But I digress. If I were to receive bad news in the days to come, or if there is consciousness after this life and I died soon, my fears will have come true. I would not have been able to see my dreams come to fruition and I would not have the answers to the questions I’ve asked; I hope for longevity so I have enough time to search for them. They have become the pillars to finding enlightenment in this life.

I’ve lived a good life thus far but am in search of the things mentioned above so I can someday say, with certainty, that I never compromised and I did the best I could to live life as it was intended to be lived–with hope, understanding, freedom from the binds of the questions I asked, and a sense of fulfillment.

Neil deGrasse-Tyson, arguably one of the smartest men in the world, said it better than I ever could in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3G9LOJZTmM

Are you afraid of death? If so, why? Please feel free to add your thoughts in the ‘comments’ section below!

I will elaborate on many of these concepts in a later post. You can subscribe via email with the link below. Be sure to ‘Like,’ Share,’ and ‘Comment!’

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1 thought on “Fear of Death”

  1. Interesting perspective. Often times when a loved one dies, those left behind often comment, ” they had so much living left to do”, or ” he/she never accomplished what they wanted to.”

    And yet, unless we let others know those exact things, answers to those questions often go unanswered.

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