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.

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About Emerging Environments

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