Tag Archives: Fear of Dying

Fear of Dying by Diet

When I think of dying, I am not afraid.  After a very low spot (physical) several years ago, I lost that fear. Or I thought I had.

Once again I must honor the presence of my convoluted thinking.

Weight has always been an issue for me.  As a chubby child, I took a lot of ribbing.  There’s no doubt that I carried that child within me for years and failed to appreciate my perfectly acceptable body through my younger years.

In my parenting years I’m not sure that I could blame my increased weight on child-bearing, although it definitely had an effect.  My subjugation of self for the benefit of others probably had more to do with it.  I ate my way through exhaustion, anger, grief, overwhelm, and you-name-it! Then, as I gained more of a sense of myself, I began to shed the worst of my pudgy pounds.

Although I have never been (what I would call) obese, I carried some extra weight with me for a long time – both psychically and physically.  Then several years ago I decided that my looks were not at issue – it was my health that was at issue.  I changed my diet and my lifestyle in order to age as a lean machine.

It just didn’t work.

I have lost enough to feel better but those last pounds won’t go away. Although I eat an exemplary diet, I continue to hover around the same weight.  I exercise more.  I eat less.  I lose.  I gain.  The result is healthy but static and more than I’d like  to carry into my coming years.

Recently, I began having a few health issues. Nothing serious (I hope), just a mystery fever that comes and goes at will. While the doctors are puzzling, my sisters and I talk and question and scare ourselves looking up symptoms on the internet. Yesterday I admitted to her that I am losing weight.

“I hope I’m not dying”, I said.

My sister began snorting with laughter. She couldn’t catch her breath. Mystified, I chuckled along with her, waiting for an explanation. “OMG,” she said, “that’s just what I would think!”

When she caught her breath we talked aobut it. It became a serious conversation. We have watched friends and even our own parents stop eating and decline. Our dear sister who died of cancere become emaciated and resembled a holocaust survivor when she died. Our true feelings around being thin have some grim memories attached.

It does seem a bit silly to think that I cling to those last 15 pounds so that I can feel robust when I look in the mirror. Ultimately, I can laugh with her. We acknowledge our unconscious fear of weight loss as an unexplored aspect of our fear of dying.

Who knew?

The Student

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Filed under Self-examination, You Become What You Believe

Fear of Death

IMG_0656“Death undoes us less, sometimes, than the hope that it will never come.” Pico Iyer

I’m thinking about death because we are once again facing the reality: a friend’s child has died in a climbing accident.

My heart aches for the family of this young man. Because of social media I have been touched by a photograph of his grandparents waiting by the phone. I’ve read the comments of his friends from around the globe. I’ve communicated, personally, with the young man’s parents and siblings and know that they are struggling to cope.

I am amazed at how soon I have made this about me. My fear of a personal loss took my breath away and shoved my compassion to the side.

I quickly internalized the loss and contacted my granddaughter.  Because she is in the same age bracket and lives a similar lifestyle of wilderness adventure and physical challenge, she was immediately on my mind.  “Be careful,” I warned.

Death is a part of life. We all know this. It is a truism and a pat response to loss. It is not, however, an easy part of life. We have all faced some loss and know that in varying degrees it changes us.

Fear of death is worse, though, don’t you think?

I don’t fear my own death. I spend my fear shoving away the possibility of losing those I love the most. At times this possibility cripples me with dread.  And for what?

Did the text to my granddaughter really save her as she ventured into the woods? Did it make her more mindful? Or did it only serve to limit her joy?

And the parents of the young man – is their sorrow now more painful than their fear during their search for him? Their waiting and wondering? Will their acceptance of reality be more difficult than their imaginings?  I don’t know their answers.

However, I have lived through the death of precious family members and friends – one moment at a time. Some moments were full of pain. Some were filled with sweet memories. None were filled with fear. Death is not unbearable. It is the fear of death…

The Student

 

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Filed under Quotations, Self-examination

Asking Myself…

P1010592.JPG“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.”
― Rumi

I have no fear of dying. This has been my assertion since 2007. I have discovered that it is partially true.

What comes after death does not concern me. Whether I term it eternity in the Christian sense or regard death as another phase in my soul’s journey, I am at peace with it. Do I believe in reincarnation? Well, I don’t disbelieve. Do I believe in heaven? Maybe, maybe not. This is not a puzzle for me that needs an answer.

However, as I let my thoughts turn inward and reflect another truth, I recognize that I fear not being here. Not because of any worry about the other side, but because of what I may or may not leave behind. My ego steps up and cries out for assurance. Will you think kindly of me? Have I done my life’s work? Is my life contract ready to be stamped with a sign of approval?

This discovery about myself is going to take some more thought. I need to pour it out, scatter it around and reassemble it in ways that I understand before I let it slip through my fingers.

The Student

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Filed under Rumi, Self-Acceptance Project, The False Power of Ego