Anyone who is close to me will tell you that my biggest fear is death. I don’t think that it’s uncommon, although people seem to think that it is. I’m not sure why. I mean, our species survived specifically due to the fact that we tried to avoid death, correct? But there is a whole bunch of New Agey crap out there about “being one with the energy of the universe and accepting fate”, etc. Fuck that. At least that’s what I think. I will fight to the very last because as tough as life has been for me, I’ve invested way too much into it to give up now. Or later, at any point.
I will be one of those crotchety old women where people will say to each other, “Will she die ALREADY?” and I’ll think to myself, no way, not until I have to!!
It’s similar to buying and fixing up a car that is so old or random that you can’t easily find parts anymore and people tell you, “Give it up! The car’s not that cool anyway!!” and you know that in your mind, the logical part of it, they are correct, but your stubborn self refuses to cave in.
So, yes. My main fear is death. To clarify: MY death. It sucks in that it will happen eventually, but it’s a positive in that I don’t have arachnophobia or something similar involving creatures that I actually may come across in my everyday life. As for other people’s deaths…I already have severe abandonment issues so I lump them into that category. I illogically and unfairly blame them for dying and leaving me. Hey, I never said I was 1) nice or 2) a complete humanitarian, but at least I’m pretty aware of my faults (of which I have many, I admit).
This fear of mine surfaced when I was about eight or ten. I made it my mission to read every single book in the elementary school library. Sounds great, right?!!? No. Because then I came across a medical textbook, which I checked out, that detailed the various ways the vital organs in our bodies could fail. There were diagrams and everything. I brought it to my mother and showed her a page.
So imagine this, people. Before I had the sex talk with my mother, I had the death talk.
“So…people die from being sick, not just old?” I asked.
“Yes, everyone dies, sooner or later, from something.” She responded.
“And what if I die in an accident with lots of people?” I asked. “How are you going to know it’s me so you can take me home and bury me?”
“You have very specific birthmarks. I will know it’s you.” (Yes. She said this.)
“And then I’m not going to exist?”
My mother says she is an atheist, but I think she’s more like me: an agnostic, if you want to apply a label, but someone who believes that us mere mortals are not able to define a celestial entity in a dictionary-bound definition.
She went on to explain that we may exist in some other way, on another “plane” is how she put it, but that didn’t assuage me. Not at all. But then she said something that I remember and – as morbid as it is – hold close to my heart to this day.
“When you die,” she said, “I will come to you and we will go together.”
“Do you promise?” I asked.
“Yes.” She said.
My mother gives my sister and me a lot of odd, contracting data about our ancestral background. She alters the past in what we’ve said or done to her benefit. She did and continues to do a lot of things that are negative and non-maternal. But she has never gone back on a promise. So it was, in a way, comforting, to hear those words.
It’s not that I want to live forever. I don’t think that I want to be immortal. Because I can be very literal, I imagine myself floating on a tiny remnant of the planet after our sun has gone supernova, being all alone in cold space. FOREVER. No. That sounds like torture.
It’s more that…I want to know how everything turns out. How we as humans, evolve. Do we make it off Earth? Do we expand into space? Will we achieve some type of peace? When will we encounter extraterrestrial beings? How will that unfold? Will they be kind? Will all our races actually eventually merge into one? Will we physically continue to evolve and achieve a new physiological wonder other than opposable thumbs?
These are the type of thoughts that run through my head. Yes, it’s maddening, but what I can I say? They are there and I am me, and there’s really nothing I can do about it short of getting a lobotomy.
I kind of hate that I won’t know. It’s like starting a book and not being able to read the final chapter.
So I really do hope, as my mother said, that there is another plane after this one and that I will be able to witness what happens to the human race. And I still believe, in my childish heart, that when I pass from this stage to the next, that she will be standing there to take my hand.