Fearing Death

Death is scary – well it can be for many people; even the thought of it.

We don’t really like talking about death.  It is foreign and something most people don’t have to deal with often.  However you might be surprised how talkative people can get when the subject comes up when I tell them what I do.

We shouldn’t fear death.  By this I don’t mean we should encourage death.  Or downplay how much it can impact a person’s life.  Death can change everything.  It hurts and takes away so many things e.g. a future with that person.

So how does a person not fear death – without looking like a crazy person?  Perhaps it is accepting that death is a reality of life and no matter what happens it comes for all people.  Perhaps it is the unpredictability of when death comes.  Sometimes death comes too soon and other times people are impatient for it to arrive.  There is no rhyme or reason.

Our Western society doesn’t like it when we can’t control something.  And death is definitely something we can’t control.  We can try to avoid it as much as we can.  Medical advancements, the health industry along with others all strive to delay death.  

And when we can’t avoid death it can be a terrible shock – especially for those who die young, because they missed out on life.  A common insight with people who are terminal found that once they accept the reality of their death they were much more at peace with it.  It doesn’t mean they wanted to die, but accepting the truth set them free in a way.

Nature shows the reality of death is ever present.  How many baby turtles make it to adulthood?  A wrong turn and a mouse becomes dinner for a snake.  Even a fly minding its own business lands in a web.

There are studies that show the fear of death is good and other studies who say it is bad.  It is good because it may stop you from taking unnecessary risk.  It is bad because it prolongs the symptoms of grief.

Besides the unpredictability, there is a lot of unknownness when someone dies.  Some have beliefs of an afterlife.  Others think once we die, that’s it.  I have talked to some people who are worried if death will hurt – that final journey.  However in a very real way death is such a very natural process.  Better understanding the process would help – knowledge is power.

I know this subject might be hard for some people to read and they probably didn’t even bother getting this far.  But I think talking about the fear of death is empowering.  It is not denying its existence.  Not to fear death enables you to live each day without that anxiety.  Sure the anxiety may be deep down an out of sight.  But it probably does pop up from time to time.

Ultimately, my hope is that people will not fear death and in doing so will find life.