Some people are extremely lucky in the fact they have never feared death. I am not one of them. I have always been scared to die. I don’t know if that is because I don’t like anything out of my control or because I don’t want to imagine it being just darkness. I have always suffered with this and I say suffered because at different points in my life it has affected me so badly that it has made me lose control over my life.
I remember when I was in year 7 of high school and I really struggled with anxiety, not just simply worry about anything and everything but it showed itself through OCD and a massive fear of the world ending. My OCD when I was younger was uncontrollable. It really took over my life and if you didn’t live with me or know me well then there is no way you could imagine how bad it got. I couldn’t touch anything that I didn’t think was sanitary, my feet could not touch anything that could get stuck to them, the top of my duvet could not touch the bottom and if anything, I mean absolutely anything touched my bed that was off the floor or simply didn’t belong on my bed I couldn’t cope. It caused me to have complete meltdowns and I look back now to see how insane it actually was. I still have traits of it, Phil finds them strange but nothing compared to what it was like. Why am I talking about OCD on a post about death well part of my OCD is I cannot deal with change or anything out of my control. I still can’t. Whether it be a last-minute change of plan or something minor happens I will cry and get so unbelievably angry and everything in my life just turns red. Whether it be my Mum and Dad getting a new car… This has been a constant trigger throughout my life or not knowing when I’m going to die, how I’m going to die or even what happens after death.
During the year of being in year 7 I had to have a lot of counselling. No one around me apart from family knew about it. I had to have counselling because I was convinced the world was going to end. I later learnt that this is part of my mental illness causing me to have catastrophic thinking which then turns into my reality even though none of it is happening. I was so scared of the world ending that I would run home from school even before I got there. I would scream and cry as my mum dropped me off grabbing onto her because I never knew if I would be alive at the end of the day. My therapist Alison (who actually was really shit) worked for months and months on getting me out of this state of mind. Then the “black hole experiment” was announced on tv… Do you remember when they wanted to do something with the big bang and it was the only thing people were talking about? Well lets just say that talking about that around someone who was in recovery of thinking the world was ending isn’t the best thing in the world. Breakdown “I’ve lost count” happened and back to the most awful fear of dying. I realise now that I should probably have adopted the motto “Live every day like it’s your last” But it never crossed my mind.
When I was 16 my Nan died. It was the first time I had been around someone or been in the same room as someone dying and then a dead person. I was close to my Nan, she was honest and told everyone how it is. I watched as she became a shell of the person I grew up with but I also saw how much love she still had to give. My granddad and I were holding her hand in the afternoon and even though she was still alive she lost her grip. She never got that grip back, instead it was replaced with sleep. She never opened her eyes from the moment she let go of our hands to about a minute before she died. When my Nan died my sister Heidi and I were in the room. It was a friday evening and my Nan was obsessed with James Bond so the movie “Skyfall” was on. We thought nothing of it, Heidi was on her phone and I was watching the TV and then we heard a noise. I look over at my Nan and there she was wide-eyed and making a noise. She was looking directly at something. I watched her as she took her last breath and I carried on watching after she died. In some way it was painful but in another way I found it tobe comforting. I got an insight to death that people rarely get. I was extremely close to my nan and watching her take her last breath I consider an honour. It took me a while to feel like that but in the end I did. She could have chosen to die with anyone in that room and she chose Heidi and Myself.
After that day I started to think that maybe there was more to death that what i envisioned as just being nothing but darkness. I think the thought of being alone and in the dark was what I was scared of. I don’t know what or who my Nan saw the day she died but I know it was something. It wasn’t evil and I don’t know if it was a person or just her looking back to her memories in the moment before but what I do know and I do understand is that she wasn’t alone. I’m not talking about someone coming down to collect her but maybe she saw her friend or a relative in her mind that she loved and maybe that was who she was staring at. I like facts and I like proof of things, I find it hard to believe in anything I cannot see. However my Nan was religious and I know with her belief in God and devoting her love to him that it gave her strength. I know it taught her many things and I know he was present throughout her life. I just hope that he was somewhere in the moment before she died to comfort her.
When Dexy died I was angry. I was angry at the fact that there are people in this world that are cruel and vile. There are people in this world who do unimaginable things to people and they still live. I could not understand how an innocent child could be taken from his parents before even taking his first breath. When I gave birth to Dexy he was so peaceful. They say the silence is louder than a cry and it is. But seeing him so peaceful and still gave me hope that he wasn’t scared when he died. He was safe, he was loved and he was warm when he died. About an hour after I gave birth I had a massive bleed. I lost over 2L of blood and I felt no fear. Strange isn’t it. I could have died and I was fearless. I called my mum over and told her my PIN codes to my cards because I had nothing in writing to say my money was Phil’s. I told her my numbers with knowing I could die. I got my parents to stay with Dexy in the corner of the room whilst I had three people trying everything to stop my bleed. I had Phil’s hand in mine and I looked at him and he was full of fear. He was so scared I would leave him and all I could do was let him know I was okay. For the first time in my life I was not scared about dying and why? Because I knew I would be okay. I knew that I was only thinking about my memories with Phil and I had my son who was dead. Either way I would be with someone I love. There is a moment when you are in that situation that the fear of dying almost becomes a hope. A hope you will live or a hope you will die and I just don’t know which one I was hoping for. I had something either side of life.
Am I scared of death now? No. I’m at peace with the idea of death. Death is something I don’t hide from or run away from because it will happen. I have seen death from before a life has even had chance to live, I have seen death from a 21-year-old girls point of view and I have seen death at the end of a well lived and loved life. I have no reason to fear death. I hope when it is my time to die, I open my eyes and see the same comfort that my Nan saw. I hope when I die my heart stops beating to the love my family have given me. I hope that somehow or somewhere I will see my son and hold him for longer than I have alive. But death is a part of life, something we can no avoid, only embrace.