Preparing for death

I have a fear of death. It is perhaps more accurate to say that I have existential anxiety about death – the knowledge that everyone around me is going to die and that the last thing I ever do will be failing and shutting down my bodily functions. At the moment, it’s inevitable and in some ways there’s an upside to that – poor quality of life can be unbearable. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m a selfish, moody little bugger; I want to experience the world and learn and see and do, and I’m upset that I won’t get to learn and see and do everything before I die. I’m also upset that death is, as far as we know, permanent; I’m going to lose the people I love and never get them back, and one day I’m going to lose my consciousness permanently. The atoms that made me up will go into the earth and the air and help to make up different people, and maybe I will leave a legacy – love, kindness or knowledge – but that’s no substitute for losing my entire being and never, ever being conscious again, never able to laugh or talk or cry, to feel the rain on my glasses or the sun on my skin.

I’m still quite young and to the best of my knowledge not suffering from any serious illness, so I suppose some people might laugh off my fear of death. I’ve got years, after all – but eventually I’m going to die. This is trivial. I can’t prevent it.

So I’m doing what I do in any situation where I don’t know what I’m doing: I learn. I have been devouring resources on the internet and ordering books. I suppose many people might want to avoid doing that, but it makes me feel a little calmer. Yes, death is coming, but with knowledge I can mentally prepare myself.

I don’t want to die, but it’s important and inevitable; I feel that ignoring it is dishonest. In fact, I want to prepare for it. I want to prepare for it so thoroughly that by the time I’m in my last few days of life I’ll be so well-prepared for what it all entails it will be a boring chore. I’ll be able to relax myself before I say goodbye to everyone one last time.