Mortality and the fear of it

I am someone who since I was very young ha always been anxious. I’ve always had the sensible part of my brain that says “don’t do that, it’s dangerous”. I experience death for the first time about a year ago. Being almost 30 (cringe), I’m finding this is a rarity. Most people have had numerous pets, grandads, parents and God bless them, children. Now I’m not saying death is a part of life and everyone should deal with and move on. Its more of a question, HOW do people deal with it and move on?

I understand the stages of grieving and everyone is different. I’m finding it difficult because by this point in life, most people have experienced some form of death and come to terms with it I one way or another. I, however, just can’t seem to get a grip of the grieving process or how to even talk about death.

When a close friend of mine, who I class as family, passed away last year I was broken. I was fortunate enough to have HAD to work through the weeks following to ensure his family would be able to attend the service and be there for each other in the way I would imagine a family should. We all worked for their family business. This left me in the position of having to put on a brave face, keep busy and to address all the clients when appropriate to the loss of a major member of the family. This I was prepared for, I could keep face, smile back and thank people for their kind words and offerings of support. I expected this and it happened, it was the unexpected moments that took me by surprise and left me winded and desperate to escape the situation. One example: I was discussing inappropriate behaviour with a customer and after polite discourse had left the area I began to get angry while explaining to this customer that they were wrong and it was immoral what they were doing. It was this point, they didn’t shout at me, they weren’t aggressive, they hugged me. In my head, I thought they were doing this so I would stop the barrage of serious talk, it wasn’t until I felt tears running down my face that pushed them away and left the situation. In a way, I was grateful for NEEDING to be at work because it didn’t give me the option to stop and think or to sit and contemplate that I was missing the service. I wrote a letter to his widow. Explaining the thought behind my absence, sending my thoughts and love with a little inappropriate joke or two to keep it as light as I deemed acceptable. I always begin talking with someone grieving by saying “I have no idea what to say or do”, to me this is the best possible thing for to say because I honestly have no words. I feel if I don’t say anything, I would never be forgiven for dismissing such a tragic circumstance with out a word spoken.

I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and I’ve found a woman who not only has a brilliant mind, but the means to discuss her research and thoughts in such a way that it’s accessible to everyone. No bus words to try and decipher, no dictionary to understand the first sentence. Just plain English, told through lived experiences of years in the field. Brene Brown. If you have the chance look her up on YouTube and you’ll understand what I mean. She research vulnerability and shame and talks about the importance of empathy and connection. This to me is so poinient at a time in our world when such despicable things are happening every single day. She says in one of her talks and forgive me for paraphrasing, that when you spend enough time working with people, in this field, you come to an understanding that connection is the reason we are here. Since I’ve only experienced death at this point in my life, during a time when I’ve started to reflect on my own mortality, I find it a terrifying yet glorious way of looking at life. I have some fantastic people in my life, that during dark periods, have helped me through without even realised they have done anything. They have just been there.

When I first heard of the passing of my friend, I was distraught. I got disgracefully drunk because I dint know how to deal with this information. Once I’d sobered up and got over my hangover, I’d already made sure the family members were on there way to being together to mourn. It was only when I was on my own, that it hit me that its real. I will never see that person walk through the door. Never steal a cigarette or have one too many drinks because I have no will and we were having a great conversation. My mind just can’t seem to grasp the thought of “that’s it”. That’s their turn over. It’s a very sobering and humble sense of terror that brings into perspective everything I find truly petrifying about mortality. Any moment, for any number of reasons, it could be the last time I roll the dice. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who are the same and don’t understand how to process grief and have no idea how to carry on like everything is fine and moving forward.

It’s now a over a year on. I’ve not cried for them in a while, which I’m not sure is a good or bad thing. I miss them, I still expect them to walk through the door even though I know they never will. This is part of the reason I assume I lack some human emotion, because I don’t understand how I can say these things and not hang my head in disgust. How could you NOT cry anymore? Just to throw a bit of crazy in here, I do sometimes have a little chat with them. When the sky is clear, and I can see the stars. Im not a religious person at all, but no matter how much of an atheist attitude I have there is something truly comforting about sitting with a drink that we’d have and a little chat, or just to say I’m thinking of them.

Its becoming quite prodominet in my life st the moment, so I might touch on this or just have another rant other day, but for now, enjoy the sun!


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