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Afraid of death?


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  #1  
August 22nd, 2006, 06:53 PM
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I have a great fear of death, of no longer existing and just being gone, never seeing my family again, holding my children or taking another breath. My religious friends and family have little or no fear because they feel that the best is yet to come. While I was pregnant with Camden, my family dog died and I was devastated. I couldn't keep from crying, imagining her in a box in the cold ground. I wondered where she went, if she was still with us and could she feel my pain. Now I know this is only a dog, but to our family she was just that, family. My mom did ok because she knew she was in heaven. My best friend said it was ok because she was in a better place and wasn't hurting anymore. But what was I to tell myself to heal myself? I mean, what am I to do when I lose a loved one? How will I get through? What are your beliefs when it comes to death? How do you all mourn? What gets you through? It's scary for me to think about death and I can see why many people are religious, it seems to help that fear, thinking that everything will be fine once you move on. Any thoughts??
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  #2  
August 22nd, 2006, 07:58 PM
mrobinson
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But what was I to tell myself to heal myself? I mean, what am I to do when I lose a loved one? How will I get through? What are your beliefs when it comes to death? How do you all mourn? What gets you through? It's scary for me to think about death and I can see why many people are religious, it seems to help that fear, thinking that everything will be fine once you move on. Any thoughts??[/b]
Death is heavy.. The truth is I had to read Buddhist ideas on death.. Not because they emphasis on the next life, but because I understood this world isn't what we pretend it is.. Once we take out our ego's (our human belief of our overwhelming importance,) then it suddenly seems to normalize this life we are living. All the sudden death seems like a natural extension to the end of a book...

Another thing I've been emphasising on currently is the acceptance of loss. My personal reason for it is for the potential of the loss of fetus. Honestly DH and I have been doing it with our dogs and each other as well.. I think it's a good thing to accept the loss of the people we love the most. It helps for the actual loss..

The idea of an afterlife or a new life is a great idea of hope but it's not my reality.. I think if we accept this life in it's entirety and there is something more, then great.
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  #3  
August 23rd, 2006, 06:11 AM
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I have a great fear of death, of no longer existing and just being gone, never seeing my family again, holding my children or taking another breath.[/b]
Why do you fear that which will not exist? When you are dead there will be no fear because you will not experience anything. Look at it this way, that last time you did not exist (before you were born) you managed just fine. Perhaps part of what you are feeling relates to projecting how you think others will feel about you when you are dead. You have compassion and hate to see others hurting over losing you.

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My religious friends and family have little or no fear because they feel that the best is yet to come.[/b]
Personally, I think that is a fantasy belief. It is a coping mechanism that people create to avoid dealing with their own inevitable death. Just face your death head-on, you can't avoid it. I don't fear being dead... although some of the ways you get there are not that much fun.

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While I was pregnant with Camden, my family dog died and I was devastated. I couldn't keep from crying, imagining her in a box in the cold ground. I wondered where she went, if she was still with us and could she feel my pain. Now I know this is only a dog, but to our family she was just that, family.[/b]
I understand that it is hard to lose someone close to you, even a pet. I cried more over my cat dieing than when my grandfather died. I hate to sound cold-hearted, but your dog is in no pain, your dog is not cold, she is not with you and she does not sense your pain, she is dead.

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My mom did ok because she knew she was in heaven. My best friend said it was ok because she was in a better place and wasn't hurting anymore. But what was I to tell myself to heal myself? I mean, what am I to do when I lose a loved one? How will I get through? What are your beliefs when it comes to death? How do you all mourn? What gets you through?[/b]
You work through the five stages of grief and hopefully accept it, although, many people never make it that far. Some stay in the denial stage, some in the anger stage, some in the bargaining stage, and some in the depression stage. After you accept that death cannot be avoided and is a natural process, it makes it much easier to get through these stages. There is no longer a need to dwell in denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. That being said, you still have the loss. You no longer have the relationship with the person that you loved. but you DO still have the memories. Accept the loss, rejoice in the memories, live for today, and plan for tomorrow.

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It's scary for me to think about death and I can see why many people are religious, it seems to help that fear, thinking that everything will be fine once you move on. Any thoughts??[/b]
Exactly. I think the fear of death is the primary motivator for religious beliefs. It makes people feel good. But, is living a fantasy life what is best for humanity? I think we are better off facing our fears and accepting that we are what we are: sentience that comes into and out of existence in the blink of an eye. Enjoy it while you can and make the most of it. Live for the future, not the past and try to make the world a better place for those that will follow.
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  #4  
August 23rd, 2006, 07:36 AM
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The state of death itself doesn't scare me, it's the dying part I don't care to do. I admit I do have a sizable fear of outliving any of my children and having to be around for their dying process and subsequent grieving. That's normal though. I don't think about it at all unless forced to in situations where it happens to someone near. At any other time, I block it out.....denial, all the way! B)
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  #5  
August 23rd, 2006, 10:31 AM
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I'm not really afraid of death at all. In fact, until Kaya was born, it didn't bother me at all to think that I could die anytime for any reason. Once Kaya was born, suddenly it was important that I actually live. But the act of dying or the idea of death doesn't bother me at all.

My DH who does believe in god is terribly scared of death. Death frigthens him something fierce.

For me, I basically feel like when I do die, it's not exactly going to bother me, because I'm gonna be dead. Pretty simple.

For the person who dies, death is no big deal... they're dead. Death has a much bigger effect on those who continue living. The people who have to deal with the death of a family member or friend.

Death is much harder on the living.


I don't believe in any concept like heaven or hell, or nirvana. Personally I believe that if we do have souls or spirits that they'd probably get reused over and over. (reincarnation) As new physical life begins to develope and a spirit is attracted & attached to it. That we don't retain any of our physical memory etc.
I don't even remember things from before I was 3 years old.

So either there is nothing after death, or we start over in a new life and don't remember death... Either way, it doesn't scare me. Nothing I can do about it, so no point in devoting any of my waking moments to worrying about it.
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  #6  
August 23rd, 2006, 12:16 PM
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Excellent question! I'm so glad you brought it up.

My mother passed away last February after battling cancer for 8 months. People wondered how I could get through it without a belief in God. People were offering prayers for my mom and my neighbor even offered to have her pastor talk to my mom. They had pastors (is that the right word?) come and talk to mom in the hospital. My sister and my mom's friend wanted to make sure my mom "took Jesus as her savior" before she died. Religion is everywhere when someone is dying! And I thought to myself, "I wonder if this would be easier if I believed in God?" But that was just laughable! It's not like you can suddenly choose to believe. It's just not an option for me. I don't have what it takes -- ie, faith.

Anyway, I'm doing alright. I'm certainly not any worse off than my sister or all the other people who knew and loved her. I made my peace with her while she was living. I know she's not suffering or anything. In some ways I think death would be more difficult for people of faith because they would have to worry about whether they or someone they love is going to heaven or hell. Like my sister, for instance, worries about me. I'm going to hell ya know.

I don't fear death. Like someone else said, to me it makes most sense to think of death as being about the same as it was before you were born. That wasn't so bad, was it? The only difference is that some people who are alive will remember you and you're life will have had some influence on your world. So, you just have to make the most of it while you're alive.

And as number 3 said, it's not death, it's the dying that I'm afraid of. I'm afraid of the pain. However, after watching my mother die, I'm much less afraid of dying too. I just don't want to die young! I love living and there's so much I have yet to experience. Plus, I want to see my girls grow up.
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  #7  
August 23rd, 2006, 02:37 PM
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I have a great fear of death, of no longer existing and just being gone, never seeing my family again, holding my children or taking another breath.[/b]
Why do you fear that which will not exist? When you are dead there will be no fear because you will not experience anything. Look at it this way, that last time you did not exist (before you were born) you managed just fine. Perhaps part of what you are feeling relates to projecting how you think others will feel about you when you are dead. You have compassion and hate to see others hurting over losing you.

[/b]
I honestly never thought of it that way. Good point. I pictured myself wandering I guess and wondering without a body to "be" in. I guess it is true that my worries lie with what's left behind.
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  #8  
August 23rd, 2006, 02:43 PM
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I have a great fear of death, of no longer existing and just being gone, never seeing my family again, holding my children or taking another breath.[/b]
Why do you fear that which will not exist? When you are dead there will be no fear because you will not experience anything. Look at it this way, that last time you did not exist (before you were born) you managed just fine. Perhaps part of what you are feeling relates to projecting how you think others will feel about you when you are dead. You have compassion and hate to see others hurting over losing you. [/b]
This is exactly how I feel, thank you for putting it into words! I don't fear I will miss being with my children - I know I will not exist to miss anything - but I fear leaving them to exist in the world without me to watch over and care about them. Because I don't believe in a heaven or afterlife, I know that I will not be able to be there for them except in their memories and in the impression I have made on their lives and that makes me fearful and sad.
Maybe that is why I sometimes want to believe in something supernatural, like ghosts, so that I can think maybe somehow, I can still protect them after I am gone.
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  #9  
August 23rd, 2006, 04:10 PM
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I have a great fear of death, of no longer existing and just being gone, never seeing my family again, holding my children or taking another breath.[/b]
Why do you fear that which will not exist? When you are dead there will be no fear because you will not experience anything. Look at it this way, that last time you did not exist (before you were born) you managed just fine. Perhaps part of what you are feeling relates to projecting how you think others will feel about you when you are dead. You have compassion and hate to see others hurting over losing you. [/b]
This is exactly how I feel, thank you for putting it into words! I don't fear I will miss being with my children - I know I will not exist to miss anything - but I fear leaving them to exist in the world without me to watch over and care about them. Because I don't believe in a heaven or afterlife, I know that I will not be able to be there for them except in their memories and in the impression I have made on their lives and that makes me fearful and sad.
Maybe that is why I sometimes want to believe in something supernatural, like ghosts, so that I can think maybe somehow, I can still protect them after I am gone.
[/b]
I totally agree...I also have thoughts about being able to watch over them after I am gone and the fact that I may not be able to is too scary to grasp while I am still alive.
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  #10  
August 23rd, 2006, 08:33 PM
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Ahh isn't this one of the big reasons people flock to religion? People think they are going to live on and on forever in this utopia in the sky with angels and clouds and la la la. It is so much easier to say to someone who has experienced a loss 'they are waiting for you in heaven'. My uncle, whom I was very close to, committed suicide last year. Is he is hell? Hell no. He is not hurting any more. Do I miss him? Sure, but if I were christian I would have to think about him being in hell or purgatory forever. How awful is that? I wrote a eulogy for him and the pastor came up after the funeral and said it was so moving and that my uncle was so happy to be looking down and hearing what I had to say. I didn't write it for him. I wrote it for "us" the people he left behind. He isn't here any more. He isn't anywhere any more. I just feel bad for my grandmother who is southern baptist and thinks her "baby" (he was the youngest) is going to be tormented for eternity. What kind of burden is that to place on an 83 year old woman?
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  #11  
August 24th, 2006, 06:47 AM
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If anyone wants to explore the concepts of sentient beings dealing with their own inevitable death, and how it relates to religion and "hero worship", I would highly recommend Earnest Becker's book "Denial of Death".
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  #12  
August 24th, 2006, 09:31 AM
mrobinson
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Ahh isn't this one of the big reasons people flock to religion? People think they are going to live on and on forever in this utopia in the sky with angels and clouds and la la la. It is so much easier to say to someone who has experienced a loss 'they are waiting for you in heaven'. My uncle, whom I was very close to, committed suicide last year. Is he is hell? Hell no. He is not hurting any more. Do I miss him? Sure, but if I were christian I would have to think about him being in hell or purgatory forever. How awful is that? I wrote a eulogy for him and the pastor came up after the funeral and said it was so moving and that my uncle was so happy to be looking down and hearing what I had to say. I didn't write it for him. I wrote it for "us" the people he left behind. He isn't here any more. He isn't anywhere any more. I just feel bad for my grandmother who is southern baptist and thinks her "baby" (he was the youngest) is going to be tormented for eternity. What kind of burden is that to place on an 83 year old woman?[/b]
You guys.. this is just a great post. In Buddhism there is a idea of egolessness and you hit it. It's taking out this unnatural belief of ourselves and just realizing all the points you obviously understand..

smt has been telling me about this book and him and I have had some great conversations about death in the past.. I have to make to time for it now.

I'm really glad this forum is here to openly talk about these things.
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  #13  
August 24th, 2006, 06:10 PM
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I'm really glad this forum is here to openly talk about these things.[/b]
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