Death Lessons: Overcoming the Fear of Death

The only certainty we face is death.

Sounds a bit morbid and frightening, but it doesn’t need to be. Let me explain.

Death is the ultimate reminder of our mortality. It’s inevitable and mysterious territory, and sometimes, it can strike without warning. We can never really be sure when death will claim us or a loved one. With all the unsettling fears that might grip us about death, that one is probably the most disturbing.

Death should have its own soul.

Wayne Dyer said:

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”

I have talked about this quote on more than one occasion because I know firsthand the power of those words. By fusing my thoughts and immersing myself with the meaning of that simple phrase, I’ve been able to transform seemingly immovable situations, as well as the relationships in my life.

The same is true when it comes to fearing death.

But it isn’t until we experience the death of someone close that we realize how important it is to relish our time here on earth and cherish the relationships bound to transform form us along the way. Most of all, though, it is when we begin to contemplate and feel our sacred connection to the universe that we sense our immortality.

I used to be afraid of death. When I was a child, the thought of losing a parent crippled me on the inside. Then, when I became a parent, it was contemplating the death of one of my children that proved too much to bear.

Nowadays, I deliberately steer my thoughts away from such notions — worrying about circumstances beyond my control is useless. I know this at an intellectual and soul level. Yet, I am far from perfect. My over-active brain doesn’t always acquiesce to this knowledge.

Through my late teenage years and into my early 20’s, I spent a lot of time at my boyfriend’s house, staying there most nights of the week.

Danny is the boy who owns a lot my “firsts”, including my first experience in a long-term relationship. He was the first boy who ever loved me romantically and the first I’d slept with. More than that, he was the first boy to show me what it meant when someone else cared. He stole my heart with his cheeky grin, fast lip and long dark lashes.

He made me laugh.

During the early years, Danny was full of life and ever the boy vying for his father’s approval. He was great with his hands and possessed a sharp mind. He taught me to drive a car and a speedboat, and patiently coached me how water-ski.

He introduced me to culinary delights like lobster mornay, and we spent hours burning up endless highways while listening to music during interstate road trips.

His family became my family. Literally. My mother went on to marry his father. Which technically transformed my boyfriend into my step-brother.

Meh. Life is weird like that.

As it turned out, our relationship didn’t last as long as our folks’ marriage. For all the great qualities Danny possessed, there was an extreme flip-side to his personality; a darkness that lingered on sadistic and a craving for addiction that would be his undoing.

Danny is dead now.

His mother used to tell me she believed that when you die there is nothing else. That this was it — this one lifetime here in the now.

One life. One chance.

Thousands of conversations and thoughts had passed between us during those years, and these are the words that have stayed with me. Even then, I found it difficult to believe in her convictions.

I couldn’t accept that death was final.

Danny used to tell me that to play “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins at any less than full volume was a crime. He used to say that I was the love of his life and that someday, he was going to marry me.

That never happened. His desire to quench his growing addictions led him down a path that I rejected. The boy I fell in love with and thought I knew had chosen a journey that had shocked me.

He chose heroin.

Twenty years of silence had passed between us when I learned of Danny’s death. Still, during his final days he spoke of me and the love he still kept for me. He had told his sister that I remained his greatest love, despite my absence from his life.

He was just forty-two years old.

I am a deep thinker. This quality has been particular to me ever since I can remember. As a small child, I spent hours observing my family and noticing their divinity — peering past the flesh until their physicality felt foreign to me. The same holds true when staring at my own reflection.

Of course, I was too young to have the correct terminology in my knowledge data base to vocalize what I was experiencing, or indeed to even string together a prolonged chain of coherent thoughts about the subject. Besides, if I had voiced to my parents what I was actually thinking, they probably would’ve pinned me as “special” before thumbing through the phone directory for a local children’s shrink.

Heh. What was I thinking? And how does this relate to death?

Stay with me.

I was thinking the thoughts of every five-year-old, of course.

Who am I? What I am doing in this body? This isn’t me. That isn’t really them. How did we even get here?

I felt like an imposter in my own body. It sounds weird, I know.

Have you ever become super silent, stood before your reflection and really looked deep into yourself? Something happens when you peer past your flesh — you get a glimpse at your soul and sense your divinity.

The immortal part of you.

When you come to sense that truth, the fearful thoughts surrounding death lessens as you realize that death does not equate with finality. It exists as a transition into a dimension that is more real than the fleeting life we experience here on the earth-plane.

The day Danny died I had distinctly felt his energy pass through me. I became aware of his presence and his love. It felt tranquil, humbling and positive. A few hours later and in my car running an errand, I tuned into the radio to catch the beginning of In the Air Tonight.

The wave of emotion was incredible. He wasn’t gone. He is all around and sees everything.

We can’t always explain the strange synchronicities and phenomena that takes place in our world, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. To close your mind from the greater aspects of life, death and love, and judge those that are able to embrace the unknown is a disservice to your soul.

Death does have a soul.

It is through death that I have learned that once the embers of love ignite, they cannot cease to exist. Love really does transcend time and space.

Death’s soul showed me the importance of graciousness, humility and respect, and how vital it is that we practice these qualities in every situation we encounter; as well as every action and reaction we chose for ourselves.

Death drove home the gravity of compassion and gratitude.

Thinking beyond my physicality and questioning my existence eventually stretched my perspective to instil a sense of self and belonging — an affinity to something greater than myself. That realm that holds the most sacred part of us and connects us to everything; the universal consciousness.

It was death that showed me what it means to be alive by giving me a sense of inner-freedom.