Let’s Talk About These 14 Fears Around Death

Let’s just all say it together and get it out of the way…

The idea of death is scary for most, if not all of us.

It’s the greatest mystery of all in this life. Which is why we’re scared of it.

But the great thing is that we can start to ease our fears about death now, so that when it comes our time, we don’t have to be filled with immense fear.

Maybe, by choosing to work through some of our fears around death, we can even have an easeful, peaceful death. It’s possible!

In an attempt to do just that, we asked our Facebook audience what their worst fears were about death. Below we share them, with a little comfort to go with each one along the way.

Check them out below:

 

Fear #1: “That I may not be dead and I’m aware [in the] dark casket closed and can’t move or scratch my ears or nose.” – Sam

Fact:  There’s actually a scientific word for this phobia, called  taphophobia, or the fear of being buried alive.

 

Fear #2: “The living.” – Mark 

Fact: The living can, indeed, be a horror to live with.

 

Fear #3: “I hate the thought of being underground even though I won’t know about it.” – Wanda 

Fact: According to Smithsonian Magazine, there are accounts that go back all the way to the 14th century of people being buried alive. So much so that technologies, like bells and alarms, were developed “just in case” this happens (and it did many times).

Photo credit: Smithsonian Magazine

 

Fear #4: “Not getting done everything in life that I need to do before [death] gets here.” – Sue

Fact: Wayne Dyer once said “Don’t die with your music still in you”.

 

Fear #5: “Not really a fear, I just wonder how many people will bother to come to my funeral.” – Maria

Fact: No one planned to attend one woman’s funeral, so 30 strangers showed up for her

 

Fear #6: “I am afraid of being so sick that I have to depend on others for my care. I do not want to inconvenience anyone.” – Beth

Fact: It’s totally normal to feel this way, and that’s why there are Death Doulas or Soul Midwives who are hired to care for you in your last moments the way a loved one would or cannot.

 

Fear #7: “That it (death) is not coming quick enough” – Stan

Fact: Death has its own mysterious, and yet somehow divine, timing.

 

Fear #8: “I’m not afraid of death… I just don’t want to give up life…” – Kathy

Fact: Reading about others experiences of letting go can bring us comfort in our own letting go, like this touching piece

 

Fear #9: “Not death but how you get dead. I have seen more than I can say (I’m a funeral director)”. – Kelly

Fact: Funeral directors must see things no one else should ever have to look at. Period.

 

Fear #10: “The unexplained, or unexpected. We never know how long we are here for and that can bring a fear all within itself.” – Lisa

Fact: This idea is one of the greatest teachings of Tibetan Buddhism (explained in The Tibetan Book of the Dead), and has actually spawned a spiritual practice on preparing for death for our entire lives, so we’re always ready for it.

 

Fear #11:“That I’ll be there when it happens!” – Rich

Fact: You will indeed be there for your death! It’s the one thing you can’t miss other than birth.

 

Fear #12: “I worry about what will happen to my [family] when I’m not here to help them.” – Bill

Fact: Trust and faith are some of the greatest virtues in life.

 

F2ar #13: “That it is truly the end of being” – Jason

Fact: Infamous Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh spent most of his life teaching about this concept, and you can read about his teachings specific to death in our blog here.

Here’s our favorite quote:

“Our greatest fear is that when we die we will become nothing. Many of us believe that our entire existence is only a life span beginning the moment we are born or conceived and ending the moment we die. We believe that we are born from nothing and when we die we become nothing. And so we are filled with fear of annihilation.

The Buddha has a very different understanding of our existence. It is the understanding that birth and death are notions. They are not real. The fact that we think they are true makes a powerful illusion that causes our suffering. The Buddha taught that there is no birth; there is no death; there is no coming; there is no going; there is no same; there is no different; there is no permanent self; there is no annihilation. We only think there is. When we understand that we cannot be destroyed, we are liberated from fear. It is a great relief. We can enjoy life and appreciate it in a new way.”

Fear #14: “Not knowing what it will feel like or dying in a painful way.” – Allen

Fact: According to The Conversation Project’s website, “Evidence from the Australian Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) shows that there has been a statistically significant improvement over the last decade in pain and other end-of-life symptoms. Several factors linked to more effective palliative care are responsible”. Meaning, death isn’t necessarily designed to be painful.

 

We hope reading about these fears around death gave you some form of comfort. Tell us your worst fears in the comments below!

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