Are you afraid of the big, bad, D?

Death is unavoidable and waits for you, and me, and everyone you’ve ever known. I’m not trying to make you feel bad. I guess I’ve laid this sentence down in words because I want to know when you realised this is the truth, and how you reacted.

The knowledge pierced my heart. It was terrible comprehending that no matter what we do or say, a looming spectre is right there at the end of the road.  Dread, fear and futility overcame me each night and sometimes each day as I tried to make sense of why we were here to begin with, if the point is only to die.

I was a very young child when I went through this. Perhaps you were too. If only it was a passing thought. Adrenalin took hold of my whole body. Terror wouldn’t go away even if I lay perfectly still under the covers and under the pillow. Death could be here in the room ready to take me right now if it wanted to. The anticipation was so awful I wondered if it would be better to get it over and done with immediately; kind of like ripping a band-aid rather than peeling it off slowly agonising over each hair plucked from its follicle. More than anything I wondered how the world still functioned at all. All the people on the television, at school, at the shops, everywhere, acted like nothing was fundamentally wrong.

The fear of death came in massive waves. Everything triggered it because all visible things are connected to time and therefore have an end date. It didn’t even go away in high school. About twelve months after the deaths of family members it became more pronounced than ever. For a whole calendar year I don’t remember sleeping. I lay awake at night trying to figure out why things had to be this way, trying to find a solution. But every action inevitably led to the same result.

When life itself was too overwhelming to endure I recognised immense value in death. Yearning for what I formerly ran from was strange to say the least. The new attitude needed a lot of work to process, with professionals too. At the end of the emotional journey it’s almost nice to know that death is there, waiting, for all of us. A friend to take us home at the end of what I hope has been a long, fortuitous day.


are you afraid