Are you afraid of death?

Those of you who are terrified of non-existence…do you ever consider the fact that there was a very, very long time that you didn’t exist? And that you probably won’t know you don’t exist when you die? I always look at it as just “turning off the light.” Where there was awareness, there will no longer be. I don’t think it will be “I’m aware that I no longer exist.” You just WON’T exist. It’s almost comforting in that light.

I faced my own mortality when I worked with leukemia patients. At that time only about 3% survived. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross had just published * On Death and Dying* She encouraged allowing patients to talk about their impending loss, for their sakes as well as learning from their experience.
The courage and dignity of nearly every patient was awsome. I began to think that only incredibly sensitive people got leukemia. I came to realize that grieving your own life, and coming to that place of acceptance made them courageous. I believe I learned from them.

The fact is, Jim Morrison was right, none of us get out of this alive. We will all die alone. I recommend a book called How We Die (I just lent my copy out, & the author escapes me, at the moment)
It talks about the physical and emotional changes one goes through as death approaches. It also addresses how our society has moved death out of the home and into the hospital and thus distancing the living from the dying. Dying was once seen as a normal part of existance. As we push it further away from everyday life, it become a dirty little secret.
We have stopped using the 2 year old’s dead goldfish as a tool to teach the simple concept that live things die. We flush it, and tell the kid it ran away.
We fear what we don’t understand. We fear death because it has become that dirty little secret.

Thera The fear of non-existence is based on the fact that we can’t truly comprehend infinity; and death is forever. I’m convinced that’s why every culture invents an after-life.
Yes, we die, but, before that the most important thing is to LIVE Live your life as though today could be the last, as it could be. That’s not to say be irresponsible, but don’t dream without acting. Leave no regrets.

But before I was born I didn’t know the difference. I think “yet to be” and “once was” are fundamentally different, and being “once was” scares the everliving shit out of me too.


I don’t spend much time day-to-day fretting about it, but I get scared of it whenever it gets within close range, like the day I was out hiking along the cliffs and tried to climb out and got stuck halfway up a protruding jut of rock that required me to climb a brief distance at an angle greater than 90° with nothing but 80’ of empty space between behind my back and the steep cliff of basalt boulders down below. For a few seconds there, death looked a lot more likely than not, and I was quite thoroughly terrified of it.

I think that’s instinctive, btw. Even suiciders have to look for and then block off their own escape opportunities.

I’m with Twiddle. Now that I know the difference, I don’t want to go back.

That’s the scariest part! My thoughts, my experiences. I didn’t have those before I was born. Now that I have them I do not want to part with them again. If I retained awareness I would at least still have me.

I see what you’re saying, but it still doesn’t scare me. The act of dying itself is frightening. I don’t want to be in pain or helpless. But actually being dead? It’s like finally completing my job.

I’ve seen it said before that, because we are incapable of experiencing our own non-existance, we’re essentially “immortal” from our individual point of view. We will only ever know the sensation of being alive (and even in dying, you are still alive, albeit for not much longer).

With that perspective, I really only dread the deaths of my loved ones, as I, not they, will have to be the one to cope with & experience their non-existance.

Doesn’t frighten me in the slightest. What’s to be afraid of? Only one of three things will happen:

  1. I go to Heaven, in which case, hey, cool.

  2. There is no afterlife, in which case, I won’t care, will I?

  3. I rise from the grave as a hideous, flesh-eating zombie, in which case, hey, cool.

I worry about the impact it will have on my family. I am trying my best NOT to die primarily because I know they’d be devastated (I’m only 32.) But I’ve made financial arrangements.

I am not afraid of death. I’m afraid of disease.
I think my views will change when I have kids. With the exception of nieces and nephews, everyone in my life who’s close to me is older than me. You kind of expect them to go first. It may sound tacky but it’s true. You grow up with the belief that you will outlive your parents, grandparents and older siblings. Even my fiance is 7 years older than me. Thinking about my nieces and nephews dying makes me sad but not afraid.

I think that once I have kids, I’ll become terrified of death - my own and my kids.
I will be sad and I will grieve but I do not fear it.

I’m not as afraid as I used to be, but death still does scare me a little. I’m 21 right now (almost 22!), and when I was 19, I was starting to really struggle with my sexuality and my faith. The year before, when I had started college, I tried so hard to be a Christian, and I joined a Bible study and went to all the events, but I never quite fit in (nobody knew that I was gay, it was just that I never felt comfortable around the other people). I used to constantly pray to God to change me, and of course he never did so I got mad at him, and I was certain I was going to go to Hell when I died. It was an awful time in my life; I don’t like to even think back on it, but yes, death used to terrify me.

Now I’m a lot more comfortable with myself and with religion, and I don’t get too worried when I think about death, but I’m also not one of those people who can say, “I know I’m going to Heaven so I’m not afraid.”

I can recommend two books about death/dying that have changed my perspective. Oddly enough, both are by ESPN commentator/sports writer Mitch Albom:

Tuesdays With Morrie: (Non-Fiction) - Follows the dying experience of a very wise sociology professor with ALS. His wisdom teaches & his outlooks inspire.
The 5 People You Mett In Heaven: (Fiction) - Makes you thing about interpersonal relationships and life’s accomplishments

I’m not afraid of death. I’m a Christian and am going to Heaven. (Hey, I may be delusional but it works for me. :wink: )

I am afraid of the dying part. That moment of needing to take the next breath but physically not being able to. I’d really rather not be aware at that moment. (One of my big fears is suffocation.)

I’m not afraind of death, I’m afraid of dying. I have seen too many people that I care about die a slow unpleasant death. When I go, I want it to be quick.

Luckily, given my eating habits, I will likely go quickly with a massive coronary… :smiley:

I’m with several others in that it’s not the idea of death that bothers me its the prospect of dying in a mentally or physically painful manner. Would be nice to just go to sleep one night and “wake up dead”. Shoot me in the head, send me to the guillotine, slip me a micky and I’ll cooperate. The prospects of fire or drowning are what scare me.

The topic has come up before in threads about depression and suicide. One of the reasons I survived my worst times is that I feared botching the job and ending up maimed for life — for me a fate worse than death.

Terrified. Every day I think about it. It keeps me up at night. Someday, I’ll be a cold, lifeless form in a box. The toes I’m looking at right now will be buried deep in the earth, and then there’s the concept of eternity. How long is eternity. IT bothers me MORE to think of a never ending Heaven.

I would say 5 out of every 7 days i’m convinced I’m going to die. I have cancer, I ate something poisonous, someone will push me in front of the train, God will punish me for being selfish, terrorist attack, Jesus will come back today.

Death is the end. Someday I won’t see my husband anymore, or my mother or my father or my dog or sister. I might die before I get to have a child or finish the book I’m reading or someone will slash my throat while i’m walking home from work.

I can’t understand what it IS, I have no idea what it will be LIKE, and what’s after? I’ve caused myself to throw up trying to conceive of death and the end of the world and infinity and the like.


I always saw death as not something to be feared, just avoided. The only thing about it that actually does scare me is the slim chance that there’s a Hell. Because, let’s face it, that would terrible, to die and find out “Oops, ahahaha you’re going to Hell.” Though if God exists, and I think he does, I can’t see him sending his creations to Hell.

Of course if there is no afterlife, then that’s fine by me. I don’t worry about where I was before I was born, why should I care about not being after death.

Aw, crapbunnies. I meant Offensive.

I’m not afraid of being dead, or, I should say, leaving this present life for the next one that lasts forever. What I am afraid of is dying, the process of getting dead. I don’t want a long, painful dying from cancer. I don’t want to end up with Alzheimer’s, not knowing anybody or anything. I don’t want to be in a car accident or plane crash, knowing all that pain is coming.

I’m not afraid of dying, but I don’t like pain. Cancer, that sort of thing, that scares me. And I hate the thought of drowning a whole lot. A plane crash wouldn’t be so bad, it’s good and quick.

Death itself, though, I think will be interesting. I do believe in an afterlife, so it will be cool to find out about that–and if I’m wrong, hey, I’ll never know.

But I don’t like the idea of dying now; I have a family to take care of. For myself, it doesn’t matter a while lot, except that list of Stuff I’d Like To Do, but I can’t leave my kids for quite a while yet.