OK, fam! Before we even get started, let’s clarify one thing: Being afraid of death, having anxieties around death, or even having an obsession with death, does not make you strange, morbid or an outcast. It simply makes you human!
We humans are pretty advanced and intelligent beings. This is both a blessing and a curse. Unlike our furry pals in the animal kingdom – who roam the land, hunt, eat, and sleep so freely – animals do not fret about the fact that one day they’ll die, like we humans do. To know death is to suffer – right? Well, not always.
First off, a human has a great, big, magical conscience strapped to their temporary body. To make things even more complex and confusing, many of our cultural norms call on us to deny death – or worse, not even speak about it – which (of course) can make someone feel more alone, scared and isolated. No wonder Americans are riddled with anxieties, sheesh!
So, here’s a little secret I’ll share – most everyone is scared of dying. True story! Doctors, nurses, lawyers, priests, rabbis, funeral directors – and even a few death doulas I’ve met are afraid to die too soon. Our Western culture does such a poor job at death. We use platitudes and euphemisms – we “walk on eggshells” – and are afraid to even use direct and honest words like ‘death’ and ‘dying.’ I’ve heard death doulas call themselves ‘transition doulas’ or end-of-life doulas instead? Oh boy! If the word death is even too scary for a death doula – run away from them! And sadly, this is so unfortunate because through healthy acknowledgment and grounded communication, we can help to turn that fear into wisdom, acceptance, and perhaps even into gratitude.
Think about it: What exactly scares you about dying?
- Perhaps you love life so much, you don’t want to leave it behind?
- Or you have unfinished business with something or someone?
- Do you worry about loved ones and how they’ll possibly get on with their lives if you’re not around?
- Are there things about yourself you still want to improve – and need more time?
- You’ve found the love of your life – just gotten married – or recently launched your dream business – and now fear it will be cut short?
What to do? Well, right now you are full of life. You are alive, so very alive.
So, breath, Beloveds, breath.
A lifetime can feel so brief (on the surface) but remember that in this epic lifetime (of yours) you will take on myriad identities. In this one big beautiful life, you were born, then felt the magical energy of childhood, the drama of adolescence, the passion of adulthood, and one day (or it may be now) you will feel the confidence that comes with old age.
Your past, present and future has involved you eating thousands of delicious meals, listening to countless songs, engaging in stimulating conversations, being in awe of nature, making love, shedding tears, losing something you cherish or someone you love, feeling elation and joy at your triumphs, then again sadness, anger, loss – and then you heal.
Your fear around dying goes hand in hand with your joy for living. Life and death are constantly in a dance together.
And if you are reading this – please consider it a gift. You have been blessed with another day of life. Your mission isn’t over yet, Beloved. Stop worrying about death and get on with living. It is a wonderful life and there are so many magical things out there still to come your way.
Remember the words that Baba Ram Dass famously shared: BE HERE NOW.