The reality and palpability of my fear of mortality comes and goes without much warning. Most days, I enjoy routine activities and take pleasure in beauty without a single thought to the fact that I will die, and if that thought should grace my mind, I welcome it as my duty and my responsibility. Some days, however, it is nowhere near such an easy fact to stomach.
I find myself in the grip of fear most often when alone and in the dark. It hits me like a panic, almost, in that it is an overpowering sensation that I cannot shake. My heartrate, however, doesn’t feel accelerated, and I don’t feel an adrenaline surge, so I can’t rightly call it a panic attack. The emotional experience is far more akin to a great aching mourning than proper terror; it’s less a problem of being so stricken with fear that I can’t bear it and more a problem of being laden with so much overwhelming remorse for the passing of things.
This feeling of remorse over the loss of life is equally strong on days like these whether I am thinking of my own death, or the death of someone or something close to me. I feel the same series of emotional responses thinking of my cat’s impending death (and further, my inability to communicate to her that it will happen).
I wonder what kind of argument or consolation could quell such a feeling on days like these, and it is these moments of premature terror and grief that I am looking to assuage by finding an explanation for the positive aspect of death. All of the arguments that I have dismissed as unsatisfying are so called because, in the grip of fear, they fall short of providing me any sort of comfort or relief from these feelings.
Days like these make me wonder why I care so much about life that it seems such a travesty for it to end.