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Passions in Poetry

The Fear of Death

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Deputy Moderator 5 Tours
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0 posted 06-11-2005 02:19 AM       View Profile for timothysangel1973   Email timothysangel1973   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit timothysangel1973's Home Page   View IP for timothysangel1973

As of late - death and questions from my children about death have intriqued me to read of many sources.  I have read some articles from Philosophy books, and ofcourse the Bible and a few other resources as well.

You see, as time goes by, our children start asking about death especially when someone close to them dies, or is dying.  This happened recently when my husbands brother died and my middle child asked a few questions.  On the other side, my oldest has been going to church with his grandmother and the preacher there tries to "scare kids straight" with the sermon of burning in hell and dying - as if the two go hand in hand.  

This has caused me quite alot of discussion with him, as he is getting older and wants to know what I think (which surprises the hell outta me, cause most of the time he just looks at me like I'm stupid)

Anyway, I have been reading alot on the subject of Fearing Death and why are we afraid to die?

Are we afraid?  I know that sometimes I am, but it's because I don't want to "let go" of what I have here, but will I even know what I have left behind once I'm gone?

I was raised to beleive in many things, and I am a Christian so my beleifs are varied from many that I have read here, and I don't want to make this a religious discussion so I won't bring that part into it.

I just wonder though -

Have we become such a material species that we actually sit around being afraid to die?  We are born with the one sure promise that NO ONE lives forever right?

I mean I really don't think that I fear dying near as much as I fear those that I love dying.  

We have quite a few people here that have lost loved ones and it has really hit them hard - simply because we just never know where the end is.  And even when we do know that it's coming, are we ever really prepared to go - or let go?

The following excerpt from a book that I read recently has really made me think a lot about the subject:

It is plainly reasonable to fear death: for if we did not, we should fail to secure our own survival, and therefore threaten the success of all our projects.  Hence a rational being needs the fear of death.  But does that make the fear into a rational fear?

excerpt taken from Modern Philosophy by Roger Scruton

What do you all think?

I may hate myself in the morning - but I'm gonna love you tonight
-Lee Ann Womack

serenity blaze
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1 posted 06-11-2005 08:38 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

To me?

It's dichotomy, tima.

I'm afraid to die, and I'm afraid to live.

I'm not quite sure if that's a fear of failure or a fear of success (or even a composite of both) but I think the intimidation of either prospect understandable.

Death and children? I dunno.

My kids see their lives in two halves. One half idyllic, before the "Dads" died, and the other half, apparently, when we (their parents) let them down.


But yet, for a while, we did, at least, have that idyllic thing going.

And I figure they were going to find out sooner or later.

We had a good "run".

I'll be interested in what others have to say as well.

I tend to think that if we live in fear of death, we might as well be....

Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
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2 posted 06-11-2005 12:38 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Trying to remember back, I don't remember a time when I feared "dying", so much so as "how" I might die. So, I don't play with matches, or push the limits of my car to extremes I can't handle. Yet, every day I know we all face some risk, so it's a matter of where one's mental status might be on how one manages their day, hour by minute.

I believe that we are all given a reason to be here; we all have something to teach, as much as learn. We all have something to leave behind, as much as to give someone else hope for their own future.

My mother-in-love, who will be 97 in November, is "tired" and "ready to go". It became even more apparent a few days ago when she had a minor fall [nothing broken] but she quietly commented to me that she can't figure out why she's still here. She feels "useless" as her body becomes more stoved up with arthritis and her eye sight  continues to diminish. As a former school teacher, her ability to read, or should we say, lack of ability, depresses her.  

Yet, she rarely complains.

Ten years ago, I told her she still had something to teach to someone.

She saw five more grandchildren during that decade.

Lately, I've told her that her invitation got lost in the mail.

She laughed.

But when she was in the ER, and her skin had torn at her elbow [from sheer fragility], the doctors asked all of the appropriate questions and subsequently gave her a tetnus shot.

"There, Mrs. J...that will do you good for another 10 years!"

After the nurse left, her comment?

"That's a bunch of ...'bs'..."

First time her son had EVER heard HER cuss.  

I think I can safely say, Mom is not afraid to die.  She's afraid to live in pain, to believe she may be a burden [she's not!] and I think she's even more afraid that God doesn't want her.

No, I'm not afraid of dying.  Especially if I can be as graceful as Mom, doing so. I think it is wrong of the church to instill fear into children regarding death, and dying, but neither should they make it that joyful that children would rush recklessly throughout life, with no fear at all, of anything.

What life we leave behind, should be celebrated at our end. Those who took the time to change one person's life [and I know a LOT of them around here!] should be proud of that moment, and know that they fulfilled God's love. Those who don't believe in God, should know that they were good people.

We are fed so many reasons by which to measure insecurity within ourselves through so many avenues, that it is difficult, however, to walk this earth and not fear things. Death being one of them. All I can say, Tima, is take the time to do what you are doing, and share what you know, sense and feel is "right" for you and yours.

Oh, and while children give you "that" look now?  Trust changes over the years, to one of deep respect...especially when you keep doing right, as you're doing now.

Huan Yi
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3 posted 06-11-2005 11:53 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

by Ernest Becker:

The Chicago Sun-Times It is hard to overestimate the importance of this book; Becker succeeds brilliantly in what he sets out to do, and the effort was necessary.

Book Description

Winner of the Pulitzer prize in 1974 and the culmination of a life's work, The Denial of Death is Ernest Becker's brilliant and impassioned answer to the "why" of human existence. In bold contrast to the predominant Freudian school of thought, Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie -- man's refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so, he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living that still resonates more than twenty years after its writing.” r=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-5575332-8033722
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4 posted 06-12-2005 02:37 AM       View Profile for timothysangel1973   Email timothysangel1973   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit timothysangel1973's Home Page   View IP for timothysangel1973

Huan Yi

I don't think that the FEAR of death, and the DENIAL of death are the same.  I think that most people don't deny the fact that they are going to die - they just fear it coming, or they don't.

I know that if you have been told that you ARE dying you go through several steps and denial being one of them.

However, as for your average Joe that hasn't been given the 'yes' you are dying - it's not denial - it's fear, or fear not

Member Rara Avis
since 07-25-2000
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Somewhere... out there...

5 posted 06-12-2005 03:27 AM       View Profile for vlraynes   Email vlraynes   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit vlraynes's Home Page   View IP for vlraynes

Understanding this...

"I'm afraid to die, and I'm afraid to live."

and agreeing with this...

"I tend to think that if we live in fear
of death, we might as well be...."

I don't think I 'live in fear of death'...
but there are times when I start questioning my health,
and that's generally when the fears... or perhaps
'concerns' is a more accurate word... crop up...

and then there's that thought, that's
always been in the back of my mind, that
I would die young like my grandma did...

She was only 51 years old...
and was 'healthy' until the day she died...
and for some reason, I've always sort of
felt that might happen to me...

and, of course, there have been those times
in my life when I've had to 'convince'
myself to live another day...

but that's a whole different topic...

As my parents and my brother age, there is
also that underlying fear of losing them...

and as far as any 'fears' concerning my own death go?...
in thinking about it, I realize that they often have less
to do with how 'dying' would effect 'me'...
and more to do with how my death could effect
those who may care about me...

Interesting topic, Tima...

You've got me thinkin' now...
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6 posted 06-12-2005 10:13 AM       View Profile for Mysteria   Email Mysteria   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mysteria

I have to tell you no Tima!  Karen really said it for me ~ only backwards. I am not afraid to do anything at least once, and love life and all it offers, so I am sure not afraid of death.  I truly do squeeze every second out of a minute, and love what I do, and those I surround myself with, or they won't be there. That old saying, "If it feels good do it, and if it doesn't, don't," is really the basis of my thinking, as is my signature here.

I have lost too many people in my life that I loved, to know I can prevent death, so now I concentrate more on beginnings and less on the end.

I do however pray that when I do go, I die before my son.

~* Carpe' Diem *~

Local Parasite
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7 posted 06-12-2005 07:30 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

I think being in love makes it more difficult.  There was a period of time where I was not afraid of death because I was no longer compelled by life, but now that I've fallen in love with someone, I feel more like I'm needed on earth, or that I will be missed.

From a cosmological point of view, as far as "what's going to happen to me" is concerned, there's nothing to worry about.  

Tima, I see you're getting reading recommendations, so let me throw in the poem "Crossing the Bar" by Alfred Tennyson.
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
This is one of my favourites.  It was written in his old age, after he'd made a name for himself.

"God becomes as we are that we may be as he is."  ~William Blake

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Between the Lines

8 posted 06-12-2005 08:35 PM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

I fear being alone when I die.....

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9 posted 06-13-2005 02:44 AM       View Profile for latearrival   Email latearrival   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for latearrival

Tima, good thread. I go with Sunshine and Mysteria. I don't think I fear death but I would love to be rocked to sleep just as I was as a newborn and I would like to go fast so as not to burden the family.....martyjo

I hated it when my husband and his brother started worrying about dying at a much too early age, they were in their early fifties. Started doing silly things to prevent it. Like taking an asprin a day to prevent a heart attack, he never had a heart problem nor did anyone in his family; stopped shoveling snow for the same reason, so I had to do it. You get the picture. My sister in law and I told them if they were so intent on dying to please go get a large insurance policy and get on with it so we could go on with our lives.They finally stopped talking about it. lol, martyjo
serenity blaze
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10 posted 06-13-2005 03:18 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze


You are right.

I never feared death until I gave birth.

I became a bad pancake after that. ?


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11 posted 06-21-2005 09:32 PM       View Profile for Kristabell   Email Kristabell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kristabell

I think we all fear losing what we have here. Since, for the most part, we cannot remember what it was like before we were born, wouldn't it be logical that we not remember what happened afterwards?

On the other hand, there has to be a point to our existance. I do not believe that we are only here just to be here. There are all sorts of things that play in to all of this. I think we fear death because it is the one thing that most people see as permanent. Some may not believe that, however. I am not sure where I stand, but there you have it.

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12 posted 07-04-2005 02:07 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

I don't fear death. Death is a must and everyone else has died before me and will after me... I think wanting to live forever is a selfish thought...

What I don't like about death is not knowing if my children will be okay after I am gone. Of course, the older they get, the less I would have to worry in the first place.

"I have gone away. The bed is cold and empty. Trees bend their boughs toward the earth. And nighttime birds float as black faces."

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13 posted 07-04-2005 04:01 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I have much fear of death, but not so much that I dont' have much courage too.
Dark Angel
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14 posted 07-04-2005 08:27 PM       View Profile for Dark Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dark Angel

i just don't want to feel any pain or leave mah family and friends and those i love, although i do look forward to seeing my twin and checking out this "afterlife" everyone talks about *grins*

interesting thread Tima


drove me like a magnet
to the sea

~stevie nicks~

Arnold M
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15 posted 07-20-2005 07:40 PM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

Death is said to be "sleep".  You will know nothing until you are resurrected.  

Huan Yi
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16 posted 07-20-2005 08:19 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

"Life is a dream that is never recalled when the sleeper awakes.
If this is beyond you, Magnificent One,
Just go to the graveyard and ask around."

Mark Strand

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