If and why we Fear Death

Death is the boggy man in the closet, the monster under the bed. From our earliest moments the subject is addressed to us in the darkest of tones. The child reaches for a poisonous bottle from under the sink, the mother stretches out to slap down the hand; ” Bad… are you trying to kill yourself!” The seed is planted; fear of death finds it’s first mark. It’s a scenario played out repeatedly through out our lives.

Bit by bit, piece by piece we build our relationship with death; the extent of which is defined by the events of our journey. Early losses, religious doctrine, cultural standards; they all have a thumb print pressed into the molds that make us who we are. Self-esteem, person pride, the ability to interact with others; these things that dictate our nature also develop our relationship with death and direct our fear. How afraid are you; how rough has your life been? What is your relationship with God? Does your heritage suggest how you should feel about death. What path lays out beyond your final moment? It all plays out as we grow; the link to death built by experience.

Fear of loss is not an easy sell, it’s an earned awareness. And that is what death is; loss – life terminated! The journey ends, leaving only retrospect for those who remain. It is the absence we feel when someone significant in our life passes. They loses the fight, but we’re the ones left felling empty. Mortality takes another hit; it’s limits pressing hard against anxiety, not wanting to feel that loss again.

So turn to faith to find the solace; put the fear in it’s place. Here death is not a crisis, it is the gateway to greater glory. But no entering before our time or the darkness will become eternal. And the relationship builds more facets as death shows itself through greater applications. It’s truth is outlined by our heritage. The do’s, the don’t’s, the rules of generally accepted rituals passed on by generations; tradition critiques those protocols that support the legend. And death continues to earn it’s place in the structure of our lives. As to how well it’s honored, that’s a personal choice.

Death finds it’s place in the benchmarks that chart our personnel history. Ranked by values such as, “With Honor,” “A Cowards Death,” “Shame He Had To Die,” a quantity of quality is assigned to the event. It’s place, it’s time, it’s relationship to the moment help decide if the passing had value. A good death is one not wasted on someone to young or still holding to much potential. For those who suffer without hope of relief it is welcomed in like a cherished friend. To the spiritually strong it is looked at as moving on to a better place. To die slowly and alone is considered a cruel death; while passing in your sleep is thought to be peaceful. Death is measured by the circumstance of it’s arrival, but rarely does it pass by without it’s burden felt. It will always be the darkness in the distance.

And it doesn’t walk alone, grief is deaths closet companion. The deep sadness, the profound sorrow; it is the emptiness that is left behind for the survivors. To die is to pass on; to live is to confront the event. Death knows no holiday, it follows no schedule. It can be cruel and often displays no reason. “Why him, why her, why now;” trademark thoughts that follow the fatality. It is harsh, it is cold, it is uncaring; it is the demon that scares us all. And death finds it’s strength in the shadows; finding power in the unknown. We are frozen in our mortality fearing things that cause us question; have we achieved enough, will we be remembered, what will we miss?

Death does not play nice. It extends it’s arm as if to shake our hand. Then if we except it pulls us in and takes us to the other side. Death is the stranger out side the door in the dark waiting to see if we’ll answer the knock. It is a tyrant, it is a friend, it is the final solution. But mostly what it is is inevitable; the final conclusion we all must eventually face. The fear that it projects finds it’s roots in our own individual histories; we each alone decide it’s measure.