Fear of Death

Posted on Thursday 3 August 2006

There’s a post on a blog I read called Fear of Death. The post is about the fear of death, and of dying that was caused by her friend’s diagnosis with a particularly nasty form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

The author writes:

“And it was only then, maybe ten minutes before they arrived, that I finally recognized what had kept me from him. I was scared! There was no denying it. I was afraid to see him, afraid of the deterioration that might be there, afraid of getting close to it. Simple as that. Going through it with my mother and uncle, and even with my husband’s father, I hadn’t gotten any further than this: I was afraid of death.”

I can understand her fear—but I do not share it.

About six months after Gee and I had gotten engaged, she was diagnosed with stage three pancreatic cancer, a very aggressive form of the disease. After Gee’s diagnosis, Gee’s father asked me if I wanted to cancel our engagement—not a particularly strange question if you think about the context in Korean culture—I am the only living son in my family and I am expected to carry on the family name—Gee’s diagnosis and illness made that less likely.

Well, I’m not a traditionalist in that particular sense… while in many others I am—so I told my prospective father-in-law, “Gee’s illness doesn’t change how I feel about her, what she has come to mean to me or who she is—and why—in God’s name—would I abandon the woman I love, when she needs me most.” I also told him, “Besides, when I met you, you trusted me with taking care of your daughter on our trip to Seattle—ever since I met her, she has always been my first priority—that will never change.”

I have realized that we need to be present for the people we love and care about—the people we have committed ourselves to. We need to support them and show them the love and care that we hold for them, especially when they need it most. While, it is difficult to do this many times, but if we really care about them, and are truly committed to their happiness, we should be able to do it.

I do not really fear death anymore. I used to as a child, but given all the things I have done in my life that should have gotten me killed or resulted in my death, and that haven’t—I don’t really fear it anymore. Death and I have also become fairly familiar over the years, as I have lost many of those closest to me, including Gee and my twin, David.

There is life after death. I fully believe that it exists—that the life we lead today is not the entire sum of what life is about. I do not believe that we should not fear death. Death is a part of the natural order of things. Even though we may not want to accept it, and may fear it—we should also accept it as a part of life.

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