on fearing death

I’m afraid of dying.

There. I’ve said it.

I have these recurring times of fearful freezing up where I am convinced that death is coming for me. It doesn’t have to make sense, but there are reasons I can check off during these anxious times. Crohn’s disease that is resistant to treatment. Check. Arthritis that is worsening at such a fast pace that the six weeks I’ve been waiting for a doctor’s appointment at the clinic has seen me progress from being concerned about pain and stiffness to becoming a hobbling hag who can barely do yoga anymore. COPD, which frightens me because I don’t seem to be able to quit smoking. Blood pressure that refuses to get under control and sometimes spikes into stroke-worthy territory. Periodic pounding of my heart and chest pain that scare the shit out of me.

All of these things together conspire to frighten and sadden me. I spend most of my days at home, rarely venturing out. I try to stay faithful to meditate and do the little bit of yoga I can. But the stress of living on the edge of homelessness, of abject poverty with no end in sight…it wears on me.

I worry about leaving Matt too soon. He needs me! I worry about leaving Rae and the kids too soon. They need me! I worry about leaving this earth with too little to show for having been here. What have I done with this one precious life? The walls close in. It becomes hard to breathe.

It all boils down to fear. I fear death. I fear dying. I fear lingering without full mental capacity. I fear letting down those who love me. How did I get this old and this sick so soon? Will I ever recover any semblance of health and vitality? Will I continue to be an ever-increasing burden on Matt and Rae?

I don’t fear what comes after death. I am curious, that is all. But I fear coming to the end of this life. I fear the event of death itself. I don’t want to be there for it.

There now. I’ve spewed all of my fear out. Now I am waiting to feel better.

Still waiting.