The Fear of Death

I’ve never been afraid of much, besides heights, which leave me in a frozen, almost incapacitated mental and physical state, though I’ve never been able to understand the root of this fear.

Now I fear death and what that would mean. It’s not even the death itself, which I imagine might not be all that painful, as I would be sure to get my hands on something to ease any potential pain. No, it’s not death itself that I fear, but all that I would lose were I to die. That is what I fear.

It’s also a fear of cancer, that it returns. I feel a cough developing, a strained eye, anything physically abnormal, and I think of cancer returning. I fear this and I am not sure I can help it. I know that life can run smoothly and then fall apart in a matter of minutes. The last time this happened a radiologist walked through the door with a mere handful of words that changed my life forever. She only had to say that my x-ray looked abnormal and my life and perceptions were instantaneously altered. The fear developed over time, as the concept of cancer sunk in. I had to come to terms with treatment, and more importantly, death, to which I grew very close.

I don’t think I can ever shake this thought of death, and I’m not sure that I want to. It may not be particularly unhealthy, so long as I don’t constantly contemplate dying, which I don’t. No, it’s those occasional moments when I savor playing with my daughter and think, this might be one of few such memories, etched in my head and memory with a life cut short to accompany.

I look at my ladies, my wife and daughter, and think of love, life and death. The thoughts are fleeting, almost surreal. I think to myself, and smile. I don’t share my thoughts aloud though I often think that my wife experiences the same feeling. She came equally close to my death, and I imagine she coped and adjusted in her own way.

While this fear of death occasionally returns to my side, it returns more frequently in positive form. I seek gainful employment, but I’m alive. I struggle to communicate with a family member, but I’m alive. I look forward to moving out of my parents’ house so that my family and I can finally enjoy our own space, but I’m alive. I’m alive and grateful for it, thanks to the fear of death.

About Emerging Environments

Thoughts about environmental policy, sustainability, cancer, and more.
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