I am afraid of death. I’ll amend that, I am afraid of growing old and dying. I am afraid of the invisibility, anonymity and the infirmity of old age, and I am in fear of the end of my existence and facing, if there is anything to face, what comes after. Simply put, I don’t want to die.
I don’t want to leave my loved ones behind. Having had a child, less so than ever. I do not want to leave this world of blue skies, green leaves, clouds, colourful flowers, music, poetry and love behind. Because I am older than Luke, I will probably go first. I don’t want to leave him behind, alone, without me. I am his best friend, I don’t want to lose his best friend.
I don’t want to keep being told that it’s inevitable and to get used to it. The older I get, the greater my fear becomes. I cannot be comforted. I lay awake some nights, my heart racing with panic that some day I will truly be no more. I will have gone, only a memory, and only that for so long. I guess that’s why I have taken to writing, and an attempt to be creative; an urge or drive to leave something of myself behind. Why I fear to be forgotten I don’t know. Perhaps memories are some kind of immortality, well of course they are! But I don’t just want to be remembered, I actually want some thing tangible of myself left behind, something worthwhile, a contribution to the human weave, and of course, something that my daughter can keep. I would like her to know something more of me then just her mother, what makes me tick, how I feel about things, my thoughts and views on life. Children have such a one sided/one dimensional view of their parents, they rarely see or look beyond their functionality, and or have little interest. I hope in the future that my daughter see me as more than just the provider of her wants and needs, but as also the woman I am.
Anyway, to continue with the subject of death and all it’s attendant fears. I wish sometimes that my parents instead of keeping me out of church and away from Sunday School (blame my Father’s Scottish Protestant upbringing for this), that they had allowed me to go and experience what the church has to offer, as it has always seemed to me that those who have been raised in the church and have a Christian upbringing, are a lot less fearful of life’s vagaries and death, and their faith appears to bring them great comfort, (I do not count within their number Christian Fundamentalists who are in my view little more than zealots). However, I suppose that one could argue that those who actively practice Christianity and who go to Church regularly are in fact using their faith as a prop. But if so, what is wrong with that? Isn’t that what faith and worship is all about, a source of comfort amongst other things.
I don’t really understand why I fear death so. Is it just the fact of the end of my existence, a fear of the unknown, a fear of heavenly retribution, a black void? I don’t know. I just know that when I contemplate my own death for any length of time, I want to cry. I know that not everyone feels this way, and I am not referring to the religious amongst us either. My husband doesn’t fear death, to him it’s just a fact of life. My Mother doesn’t fear death either, because again, she sees it as a complete waste of time. My Father however, does fear death. He has admitted this to me, and his main reason being that he will no longer get to see his family and loved ones. I also believe his fear is due in part to the possibility of accountability.
However, I must admit, that when I ask people if they fear death, and they respond in the negative, I am genuinely astonished, or if they say they never think about it! I tend to view these people with suspicion. Do they think about
much of anything at all? That my come across as a rather arrogant and presumptuous statement to make, and it may just be the case that these people are just too busy getting on with the business of life to waste time on worrying about an event over which they have absolutely no control. Perhaps I should be more like them, I know I should. Because the sad fact is, that I am in danger of spoiling what time I have by obsessing over that which will come to pass at some point, no matter what I do. I spend time calculating how long I may have left. How many of those years will be active and productive, how many will I remain useful, how much time do I have to do this, that or the other? When will I start to look old? When or at what point will my memory and cognitive abilities start to fade. How long do I have before people no longer wish to hear what I have to say? How long before I become invisible? Not a pretty picture is it?
Anyway, enough of this…my own consolation is again, my daughter and of course my husband. I can face anything that life throws at me, and the decrepitude of old age if he is by my side. I can even face death with fortitude if I can leave behind or rather have raised a happy, content and fulfilled human being. Being a Mother is no bad thing, and to the the best Mother I can, even if I achieve nothing else should be enough for me; it will be!
The Love of my child…
I always knew I would love my baby, I just never expected I would be ‘in love’ with her. I will freely admit to being totally addicted to my baby girl. Though not so much a baby now as she is nearly fifteen months old. I love this little person so much that at times I feel almost in pain from it. I push myself into a state of near panic worrying about all the things that could happen to her, it could drive a person mad!
Before having children, I had always assumed that it’s the children who crave the love of their parents, I never realised that in fact, one craves the love of ones child too. Any expression of love on her part will send me into seventh heaven. I am constantly asking my husband ‘do you really think she loves me?’, to see him roll his eyes and patiently answer, ‘of couse she does, she adores Mummy’…I need to hear this.
Every day, I give her a bottle then she has her nap, and she sleeps on me. I rarely put her in her cot, which I really should so that I may get some much needed rest, or do some chores. But I don’t. I sit there in the rocking chair holding her little body close to me, sniff her hair, give her little kisses. Sometimes I read, but mostly I just sit there rocking, and listening to her breathing. I feel that this period when she is small and wants to be with Mummy is so short and precious, I just want to enjoy it for as long and as much as I can.
I hate telling her off, I really do. I know it’s necessary sometimes, but, when I see her little mouth turn down, and her eyes well, I feel my chest tighten.
This little girl has become the centre of my universe. I never reckoned on this happneing to me, in fact I never thought I would have children, but this little girl has my heart well and truly in the palm of her little hand.