Sometimes I fear death?


#1

I consider myself a pretty faithful catholic guy but and most days are normal and I go about my normal life. I think of God often and his will in my life. Every now and then though when either watching the news or someone close to me dies or I read an article about death in biological terms it makes me anxious because even though I am faithful, I still fear the unknown a lot. Not terribly but sometimes I do wonder what would happen if there was nothing after death and that was it.

I hate to think that would ever be the case and I just feel life has a much greater purpose than to suddenly be the end of everything for the individual that dies. Understandably I guess if that were the case the person’s consciousness would cease to exist and they wouldn’t notice. Still it’s hard for me to grasp that even though mysteries of death require faith in God only. No science or medical theory will ever probably prove what happens to a person’s conscience either way when someone dies.

I was just thinking about all this tonight and it seems really dark and cold to think of the athiest’s viewpoint that this life is it. It makes me value this life even more and the time I spend with loved ones which is good but even so I couldn’t imagine living life firmly believing that nothing awaits you after death and you will never see your loved ones who either passed before you or after you. I would be constantly depressed I would think.

I consider my faith strong but I hate how it wavers sometimes when the thought of death comes up and I wish I would not have any anxieties about it. I attend confession once a month to do my best to be in God’s grace but sometimes I wish I could see a loved one who passed away or even a ghost to just verify and add comfort and confidence that there is something else even though my faith should be all that’s required.

I’m scientifically minded as I am an engineering student so I’m always thinking about the how’s and why’s and what’s of life and the unknowns and sometimes it shakes my faith a little bit but not as much as it use to. I trust God and Jesus but at the same time that "what if "even small is still there.

I’d like to think the human consciousness is much more than a mass of neural cells arranged in neural networks and chemical reactions and dies when the brain dies. All of my life and even still now I really think there is a soul that is in the driver’s seat of the body and it simply exits upon death like we would get out of a car when it breaks down. Even though it can never be proven.

Can anyone relate? Anyone have anything to share? I’d appreciate any replies.


#2

Dear Chaz, I have a cousin who is atheist. His wife is dying. I feel for him, because when he loses her he will have nothing left of the person he’s lived life with and loved.
My husband’s mother has recently died. He isn’t grieving because he’s an athiest, a very practical atheist who only cared that she was suffering and did all he could to help her with her difficulties, and now she is no longer, so he doesn’t feel anything and her death seems long ago to him.
If there was nothing after death it wouldn’t bother you because you simply wouldn’t be.

I don’t fear death but don’t look forward to the process of death. I didn’t know I feared the process of death until one night I dreamed I was in a large and high building that had large windows to the sky. One of the priests I knew was giving a lecture and may people had gathered. I looked up and saw a huge wave rolling forward to immanently engulf the building. No one esle noticed. The huge wave bore debris and a yellowish discolouration in its semi transparency. I though, we are all going to die, all going to drown. There was no escape for anyone so I remained calm and silent as I gazed up. When I woke I knew I was afraid of the drowning…not of death, but of the drowning.

As my priest said on Saturday in Confession, at least you think. You’re thinking. It’s not that you’re doubting so much that you’re thinking.
I do have an unfair advantage because I have some experiences that give me certainty that there’s life after death. I’ll PM you.


#3

When my mother died, I lay awake for many nights pondering death. Hers was not the first death to affect me. My maternal grandfather’s was. I thought, as a teenager, that I would be next. The fear of death doesn’t apply to any age.

When Fr. Richard John Neuhaus died (he was a frequent guest on EWTN), his magazine, First Things, ran an article that he wrote on death called “Born towards Dying.” This is what he wrote, in part:

We are born to die. Not that death is the purpose of our being born, but we are born toward death, and in each of our lives the work of dying is already underway. The work of dying well is, in largest part, the work of living well. Most of us are at ease in discussing what makes for a good life, but we typically become tongue-tied and nervous when the discussion turns to a good death. As children of a culture radically, even religiously, devoted to youth and health, many find it incomprehensible, indeed offensive, that the word “good” should in any way be associated with death. Death, it is thought, is an unmitigated evil, the very antithesis of all that is good.

Death is to be warded off by exercise, by healthy habits, by medical advances. What cannot be halted can be delayed, and what cannot forever be delayed can be denied. But all our progress and all our protest notwithstanding, the mortality rate holds steady at 100 percent.

Death is the most everyday of everyday things. It is not simply that thousands of people die every day, that thousands will die this day, although that too is true. Death is the warp and woof of existence in the ordinary, the quotidian, the way things are. It is the horizon against which we get up in the morning and go to bed at night, and the next morning we awake to find the horizon has drawn closer. From the twelfth-century Enchiridion Leonis comes the nighttime prayer of children of all ages: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee Lord my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake, I pray thee Lord my soul to take.” Every going to sleep is a little death, a rehearsal for the real thing.

Such is the generality, the warp and woof of everyday existence with which the wise have learned to live. But then our wisdom is shattered, not by a sudden awareness of the generality but by the singularity of a death—by the death of someone we love with a love inseparable from life. Or it is shattered by the imminent prospect of our own dying. With the cultivated complacency of the mass murderer that he was, Josef Stalin observed, “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” The generality is a buffer against both guilt and sorrow. It is death in the singular that shatters all we thought we knew about death. It is death in the singular that turns the problem of death into the catastrophe of death. Thus the lamentation of Dietrich von Hildebrand: “I am filled with disgust and emptiness over the rhythm of everyday life that goes relentlessly on—as though nothing had changed, as though I had not lost my precious beloved!”

His words, re-read against the backdrop of his death, really drove the point home for me. We are not meant for this world. As St. Paul notes, we are foreigners in a foreign land and we journey towards our heavenly home. In fact, Pope Benedict observed, in one of his earliest books, that the word “parish” comes from the Greek word for foreigners. Our parishes are communities of foreigners who, together, seek to return to the true heavenly homeland.

Here is the link to Fr. Neuhaus article:

firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=1282

He also wrote a wonderful book called “As I Lay Dying”, which chronicles his experience with death when he was gravely ill with cancer some years back.

I hope that this helps.


#4

It seems like the undercurrent to your post is an anxiety about not only if there’s nothing after we die, but what happens when we do.
All we need to do is to trust in Jesus’ infinite mercy and love. Even if our sins are, as Jesus told St. Faustina, “as scarlet”, if we are sorry for them and call upon Jesus’ mercy, He will answer us.

You may want to check out St. Faustina’s diary. A lot of my anxiety and worry was (is) put to rest when I read the words that Jesus spoke to her. Our lack of trust is like one of the thorns in His crown! Please don’t be anxious. If you trust Him, He will take care of you.


#5

I just wanted to recommend that full article. It is well worth reading.

fide


#6

Chaz,
Know that you are not the only one who fears death. I too sometimes even get anxiety from it and I know tha I shouldn’t b/c I love God and Mother Mary. :gopray: This became more real to me when my mom died. she was my first experience with this. I am working on not being scared. I just wanted you to know you are not alone.:sad_bye:


#7

Yeah, I think most everyone can relate… Chaz. This is just part of the human condition. Fear of the unknown.

One thing that really comforts me… (and hopefully it will help you, too) are all the documented miracles of the Catholic Church. There are SO many… visible, scientifically unexplainable… “proofs” that Heaven exists. Might be a topic on which you will do a little research, yourself. :wink: (I would suggest reading up on Eucharistic Miracles; Fatima; and Lourdes).

I have also found, that while I still do have a fear of death… it has become a bit less “sharp”, since my own dad died in 1988. For some reason, it has been comforting to me… to know that my dad is out there… waiting for me. I often ask him to pray for me. If you have a relative to whom you were particularly close, that has gone on… before you… I would suggest asking him/her to pray for you.

God bless you.


#8

Good,fear is a helpful feeling…an aid to understanding…without fear we wont look both ways before crossing the street…not to fear death is well,kinda sad…weird and infact dangerous…its the longest journey all of us ALL …will take.and we should prepare for this long journey. I used to hear of this in the army years ago…he knows no fear…that means he is a nut case…to act inspite of fear is courage! Live each day as if it is going to be the last!..I lay me down to sleep etc…remember a Creator that gave us sunsets,classical music…Joni James (had to put her in) the Yankee Clipper,Teddy Roosevelt…etc etc…has a great place for us…take a deep breath,do as the scouts do.perform one good deed everyday and dont tell anyone about it…help anyone of any race,creed or color to make it up that steep windy hill of life…the road of life is long ,many bumps etc…amen and amen…Nino


#9

I too ponder this often–you sound a lot like i feel. I ALWAYS take comfort in the idea that there is OR there isnt… A look at the universe, the human body, the brain, etc. assures me there is life after death because there is a God–one God Almighty. I’LL always bet on God. It would be foolish not to–At least to my overly analytical brain. I WOULD BE TERRIFIED TO PONDER DEATH IF I WERE AN ATHIEST! When my father passed away, I thought about the mystery of death for a long time…still have no better answer except that I now believe more much more fully in accepting God’s will. I no longer fear death, rather, I am energized by the knowledge that I too will pass through, just like my father did-- and come face to face with the Lord. --PEACE


#10

Chaz,

Like the other posters in this thread have stated, you are not alone in your fears. I am also afraid of death… maybe not of death itself (as I know it is just a death of the body) but of the process of dying itself. How much pain is going to be involved? Is it like going to sleep or will it be as if I’m being ripped from my body? Those are just two of the many, many questions I have. But I also know that what pain that might come in the process of dying will be forgotten and won’t matter with the Beautific Vision. I have had the joy (and I do mean this wholeheartedly) of going through some physically painful times in my life, times where I was in so much pain that it was the only thing that I could focus on. But now, looking back at those times, the only thing I can remember is that I was in pain, not the pain itself. How much more will I forget the pain of my earthly existance when I’m in heaven?

Also, it is not nessisarily a bad thing to have ones faith waver from time to time. Where one gets into trouble is allowing that to make one lose faith completely. When I feel my own faith wavering, I pray, usually the rosary (if I have alot of time), the St. Michael prayer, or I’ll repeat “Jesus, I trust in you” over and over again. I think God uses crises of faith to draw us nearer to Him.

God Bless!
Ericka


#11

I used to be really afraid of death when I was younger. Not so much of death itself but of the process of dying, as other posters said. I think what helped me later on is realizing that God is always with us, He is with us during life and during death and after death in Heaven. When someone is dying, it is good to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet and trust in God’s mercy, and Jesus and Mary and all the Saints and angels are with us in death just as they are in life :slight_smile: it is also good to never have unrepented/unconfessed sin.
it sometimes scares me to think of what death feels like, lol, because we don’t know the answer to this at all… but if we ask God I believe He will help us through it and give us the grace and courage we’ll need…

God bless!!


#12

Welcome to the crowd. I think the vast majority of folks are afraid of death or of the process of dying.

There was a time time years ago that I was so afraid of dying that I actually tried to do my self in. That may sound like a contradiction but for me it happened. Thankfully I was not successful of course, because at the time I was not in the state of grace. I would have been in really sad shape spiritually.

Prior to that time, I read everything I could about death and it just about became a preoccupation or obsession. Fear can be very destructive, and for me it was nearly fatal, when combined with lack of sleep, stress at work, it became a deadly mix.

Maybe that was a wake up call or the kick in the pants that I needed to get back right with God, I don’t know. Thankfully God gave me a second chance and I’ve tried to make the most of it.

Let me give you some assurances God does exist and life as we know it does not end with physical death as the atheists believe. Beyond the books on Life after Life (Dr Moody) and the others who have written similarly on the topic of death, I personally know of several folks who have experienced similar NDE (near death experiences).

I also know of two very close friends who experienced visits (or visions) from close friends or relatives who have passed away. God knows that death can be a very tramatic or terrifying experience, so I think He often provides us with a guide or person who comforts us when our time is near.

Part of our fear of dying is the idea that maybe we will lose our consciousness and become a total blank. That’s the atheist or scientific view. IF suddenly there are no electrical brain waves, then how are we supposed to think or process information ?

Well death is the passing of our physical world to the spiritual world. The spiritual world doesn’t need any electrical or physical media to work. The spiritual world can’t be measured or tested by anything physical.

When one of our PGKs (past grand knights), Don M, passed away, the day before he died he was visted by another close friend PGK, Joe F. He told Joe, "I talked with Dale G (another friend and PGK) this morning, and he says ‘everything is as they say it is.’ "

Joe says " you know that Dale passed away last year", and Don calmly replied, " Yes, I do".

It was no coincidence that Dale and Don were the very best of friends, and there was probably no other person, who could have been better chosen, to let Don know that everything would be okay.

I’m not sure who I would choose to tell me, it is my time to go, but I’m sure God will pick someone who I trust completely and who can help me get over my fears. I’m sure God will allay your fears as well. God bless you.


#13

sorry, don’t have time to read entire post…

but i used to fear death soemthing awful… Now i don’t… trying to think of waht all made the difrerence… I think one of the biggest things was just seeing how much evil there is in this world, where babies are ripped apart in the sanctuary of the womb… where people who want to live but can’t speak for themselves are murdered by judges on a power trip (Terri Sciavo), where all anyone cares about is $… and living for this world…

when i lost all my so-called friends because i love Jesus…

I have to go now, but God bless… :slight_smile:


#14

I used to doubt if there is life after death, but now I totally believe there is Heaven (and hell and Purgatory of course). Not only because Jesus taught this, and not only because of the Resurrection, but also because I have had some miraculous things happen to me because of the intercession of Saints. :slight_smile:

God bless


#15

Could you PM me this, too?

Thanks :thumbsup:


#16

WCKnight,
I wanted to say thank you. You have very reassuring words. It is a comfort to know that. However, I wonder if someone close to me were to come to me does that mean they are in heaven or purgatory?:shrug: Just wondering.
Blessings to all,
Eli


#17

Until I lost my parents I didn’t think that much about death. But I lost them both in a period of 12 months so had to confront death twice in a short period. I too am afraid of the process of dying, but not death itself. I am mostly afraid of dying alone.


#18

They probably could be in either. There have been some stories from saints or blesseds that relate to souls suffering in Purgatory asking for prayers or masses.

More likely I would think someone visiting would be in Heaven. But we also do need to be careful because some saints relate at near time of death, Satan also tries to make things more difficult, maybe challenging our faith or making temptations stronger.


#19

I think God would never let us die alone. We may not have a physical person by us, but He will send someone. I used to think I would like to die in my sleep, but now I think I would much like to be wide awake.

Ideally with friends or family close by, but as long as God sends someone I know (and I now have no doubt that He will), I could live with that (or rather die with that).

My parents died 2 years apart (it seems that most spouses die within a year or two or each other. It is very very common). My dad died in a hospital, but he was resusitated in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

At first he was very anxious to say goodbye to my mom and apologize for whatever troubles they had. After my mom reassured him that all was okay, then I think he looked to me for answers. All I could do was try to assure him that everything would be all right.

I wish I could have been better prepared for that moment. I had no idea what to say or how to say it. I guess I wanted to tell him that God would take care of him, but I have always had trouble talking to my dad. My Chinese is very poor and his understanding of English was equally poor. All I could do was look him in the eye and hold his hand, and he held onto mine very tight.

After a while I think somehow the message got through that it was okay to let go. He held my mom’s hand, feel asleep and died peacefully a few minutes later.

Two years later my mom died very suddenly just after finishing a diner at my nieces’ house. She just slumped over at the dinner table. Less than a second or two and she was gone.

Now I really don’t have much of a preference, whether sudden or asleep. I suppose I would not want to go violently as in a car accident or a shooting. I’m not real partial to pain either.

Reminds me of a joke.

“My dad died peacefully in his sleep, not like his passengers who went kicking and screaming in their seats”.:eek: :eek: :smiley:


#20

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