“Am I afraid to die?” my wife asks me over lunch the other day. Not your typical table-side conversation topic, but timely nonetheless. And the question didn’t come out of the blue, but rather as an extension of an ongoing conversation on my mental state and well being. I have been mentioning to her that I’ve been feeling more anxiety lately, that it seldom seems to leave me and it’s particularly acute when I think about work and having to continue at my present employ for some time yet. Anxiety I can’t seem to shake, a fear and trepidation of some significant event about to engulf me, perhaps not dying but death itself.
She is well aware of my depression, and even dealt with it herself as a result of the PTSD she suffered after the death of our son. “Are you afraid to die?” she said, “because I’m not, I will see Shawn.” (our son). Just the thought of that conversation brings tears to my eyes and a heaviness to my heart. The thought of our son and seeing him again in the hereafter is emotional to say the least. I would relish that time, but do I desire death to achieve it, No. I can’t say I want to die, nor do I think she “wants” to die, but am I afraid of dying? Perhaps……., of death, more so.
I don’t think I ever really thought about my death in any depth before. Of course we all probably consider that it might happen to us one day (joke), and I wonder if we are ever really prepared. That, I think, is the crux of it for me. I do not feel prepared. I feel like my life is being wasted in its present use, I want so much more and yet feel trapped in my circumstances, held captive by my lifestyle and material wants, incapable of breaking free and shaking off the chains that bind me. Saddened by my weakness, overpowered by my grief.
One of our daughters is pregnant, due in March 2012, gender unknown. It is a sign of rebirth, an indication of life and how life should be. The future incarnate. It is maybe one more reason I am afraid of death, I want to meet my grandchild and live my life so as to see it grow and learn. To be part of that learning, to teach much as I’ve taught my other children, to learn how much more I can love.
I have so much to live for. Such a life we have in this great country, so many freedoms and opportunities, perhaps I am overwhelmed by my fortune. I realize I am afraid, and worried I won’t be able to fulfill the destiny I’ve envisioned, of living with and loving my family. I have also come to understand It’s not death I’m afraid of, it’s not having life.