When I came out to my parents in 1995 my father told me that I would die alone, in the hospital of AIDS. That I had always wanted to lose weight and I would from AIDS. I would die alone in the hospital. That the friends I thought I had wouldn’t show up when I was dying. I was just out of high school and unsure of the world. These messages I have carried with me since then. Most people fear dying alone, I think. I took his falsehoods as fact. Dying alone was hard wired deep into my subconscious. It’s something that’s always in the back of my mind.
The fear is amplified by the fact that I don’t have children. I have been single for nearly ten years and these days I don’t want a relationship. So this only adds to the fear of being alone for the rest of my life. Honestly most of my life I have been alone. So I should be used to it by now but I’m not. It’s one thing to be alone in your life but another thing to die alone.
Death has always scared me senseless due to the fact that I don’t know what I believe in terms of the afterlife. Will I just turn to dust or will I move to the next stage of consciousness. I just don’t know. If I believed in the afterlife definitely then I would have some comfort at the idea of dying because eventually I will see my loved ones again. I have no clue what will happen when I die. I start to panic anytime I think about it.
I avoided anything related to death. Anytime a loved one died it brought it to the forefront of my mind and it always scared me to the core. This was especially true when my Mom died in 2012. After that I haven’t been able to get away from it. Recently I had a premonition that I was going to die. I was recently diagnosed with atrial flutter. As my doctor was taking longer than usual listening to my chest I started to worry. Then when she said I would need an EKG I for sure thought I was having a heart attack. Was this my time I thought. It was irrational but it felt real.
Thankfully my the rest of my heart seems to be normal, other than the flutter. In order to get my heart back into normal rhythm I have to have a procedure called cardioversion. I must take blood thinners to prevent blood clots in the heart. This is especially true when I have the procedure done. I was supposed to have it done this week but my blood wasn’t thinned enough. Now I have to wait another month, which is problematic because anytime I exert myself it makes me light headed.
My current health has brought my mortality to the front of the line. While the procedure is fairly safe there is risk of blood clots. If they leave the heart then I could have a stroke. What’s most scary is that they basically restart your heart using paddles on your chest. That’s just an image that I don’t want illustrated. So as I waited Friday morning in the hospital waiting room I saw families and friends waiting for loved ones. This triggered me horribly as I had no one to go with. I was alone. Ever since then it’s all I can think of. If something was to happen while I was under I would have died the way my father said. There isn’t anything more sad and tragic than to die alone.
I already struggle with being alone most the time. If it wasn’t for my therapist I wouldn’t see anyone regularly. I have few friends that I see in person. Sure I have friends on facebook but they’re not a substitute for people you hang out with. Many live out of state. Now my fear is amplified and I’m even more desperate for connection. Sadly making close friends isn’t like growing sea monkeys. There are no instant friendship, well not usually.
For now I have to cope with these feelings and fears the best I can. The night before the procedure I was overcome with anxiety from the fear of dying. I finally had to come to peace if it was my time there would be nothing I could do. I felt a sense of peace. That it won’t matter when I’m dead, I won’t feel anything like the loss of my loved ones. At least I hope not. I have suffered enough in this lifetime I hope that when I die I’m at peace finally. You’re forced to deal with mortality as you grow older. With each year you move closer to the front of the line. Then there’s the whole no guarantee aspect to life. Long life isn’t given to everyone. I don’t want to be that person, no one does. I have too much left to accomplish before I do. I feel like I have wasted time already. I want to leave something behind, like my comic book.
I have had the idea for over five years but my mental illness has kept me away from anything good. So I feel like I’m fighting against time both with my mortality and the disease. I have two major players constantly fighting me. So it’s a lot to cope with let alone the fear of death. It’s just another added level of complexity to my life and I have no choice but to deal with it.