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I don’t fear death (except when I do)

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8a0d91911fe17927058294eb62672545 I dont fear death (except when I do)Here’s a brief musing I tapped out on my phone last night while reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes:

I don’t know why everyone talks about the fear of death. I love life, but I don’t fear death. What I fear is the deaths of the people I love best — because I fear the pain of having to live without them. And I fear my own death only insofar as it would cause my loved ones this same terrible pain.

I’m guessing most people feel this way. Am I wrong? What about you?


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  1. Tim Larison on 08.08.2013 at 06:51 (Reply)

    Your words pretty much sum up how I feel about death, too, Susan. I would add that I am not looking forward to the physical pain I may endure in the process. Watching my Dad in the last year of his life last year (at age 90) he had to deal with lots of aches and pains (though his actual passing was peaceful). A book I read “What’s Your Expiry Date? Embrace your Mortality Live With Vitality” by Patrick Mathieu also helped with any fears I had about death. - Tim

    1. Susan Cain on 08.08.2013 at 21:20 (Reply)

      Interesting, Tim. You’re not the only one to make this observation (many more over on my FB page, too) and each time I read it, I think, oh yes, I don’t want EVER again to go through the kind of pain I felt during childbirth. Interesting to think of birth and death as reference points for extreme pain. I wonder what that’s all about. And might the payoff after death be as great as the payoff of labor pain? Who knows…

  2. Alison Cummings on 08.08.2013 at 07:51 (Reply)

    I also agree. And when one stops feeling the emptiness left by the loss of a loved one (and this can take a very long time), that realization feels, to me, like the final pain of one’s grief. i believe death, in itself, only adds to the richness of life.

    1. Susan Cain on 08.08.2013 at 21:25 (Reply)

      Agreed — read interesting discussion a few weeks ago (can’t remember where) of how boring immortality would get after millions of centuries. I keep thinking about this, whether it’s true. I’m never bored now, but that’s only 45 years compared to centuries piled upon centuries.

      1. Alison Cummings on 09.08.2013 at 07:34 (Reply)

        Only if the (an?) afterlife is similar life … who knows?!

  3. Chionesu on 08.08.2013 at 17:39 (Reply)

    I agree (and Ecc. is a sobering book which is why it’s one of my favorites.). I’m probably more saddened at the thought of me passing before my parents rather than the other way around because I know they’d be devastated.

    Interestingly, a lot can be revealed of a person by their view on death, it’s relation to how one lives life today, and the relation to the afterlife (or lack of the existence there of depending on the worldview). Really begins to get at answering the question, “Why am I here?”

    Great post!

    1. Susan Cain on 08.08.2013 at 21:23 (Reply)

      Thanks!

  4. Meg on 08.08.2013 at 17:53 (Reply)

    No, I absolutely feel this way, and I’m rather closer to it than you, in terms of chronological age (really, none of us knows when our time is up). I dread leaving my husband and son behind - both are so introverted that I know they would be completely alone, and that saddens me. Aloneness is good, loneliness is dreadful. (Ecclesiastes *rocks*!) ;-)

    1. Susan Cain on 08.08.2013 at 21:23 (Reply)

      I completely agree — there is almost nothing emotionally worse than loneliness. So sorry you have to worry about this. Can you think of anything now that might help them be less on their own in the world?

  5. Amanda on 09.08.2013 at 01:37 (Reply)

    I definitely agree. I have this very weird fear of my dad dying. I think about it constantly. I really don’t know what I’m going to do when that day comes, and sometimes I wish I’d go first so I won’t have to experience life without him. The death of others has always haunted me… Not sure I’ll ever get over that.

    I started dating a very sweet guy recently. He left for a wedding today and before his plane took off, he said, “I really hope I don’t die in a plane crash. I’d be so bummed,” and then went on to say he was seriously worried he’d die and miss out on being with me. I had never heard anyone say something like that before, but it’s an interesting thought. (And really sweet, in a sort of morbid way? Haha.)

  6. Barun on 09.08.2013 at 04:19 (Reply)

    It is natural to grieve the loss of family members and others we knew, even our pets, as we adjust to living without their presence and missing them as part of our lives. The death of a loved one is terribly painful event, as time goes on and the people we know pass away along the journey of life, we are reminded of our own inevitable ends in waiting and everything is a blip of transience and impermanent.

    I am a Buddhist and I believe that death is not the end of life, it is merely the end of the body we inhabit in this life,but our spirit will still remain and seek out attachment to a new body and new life.

  7. Kent on 09.08.2013 at 12:26 (Reply)

    I am with you %100 on the fear of losing someone you love. Neither my wife (of 36 years) nor myself fear our own death as we both look forward to the day when we meet our Saviour Jesus Christ face to face. However the mere thought of losing each other can be extremely debilitating and literally rob us of the joy we now share in our life together if we’re not guarding against the thought.

  8. Kent W-F on 09.08.2013 at 14:24 (Reply)

    I dont fear death, i fear the the way im gonna die…

    Sometimes i fear dying from small talk…

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