Why do I write? Because I am afraid of death

A loss of loved ones provides a mortality wake-up call

Life has been kind.  Making it so has required work, dedication, and purpose.  Most of all it has come with painful self-work, bending away from dysfunctional ideas and behaviours.

Experiences have come with incredible variety and richness.  Love has come and gone and come home to roost.  Children have filled home with purpose, laughter, tears, and something ineluctably delicious.

Death too, has come.  And is death that brings home the importance of life.  When loved ones shuffle off this mortal coil, those who are left behind find empty spaces that weren’t there before, empty rooms, conversations that are only half-spoken.

Death is incomparably sad, sometimes tragic, but also teaches for those who remain.  Death brings home the message of our own mortality, the sandglass of time emptying slowly, so slowly at first, but gathering pace as it approaches the last grain to drop.  And with that comes a poignancy, a desire to tell a story, to speak, so as to be heard, to be understood, to not be forgotten.

The loss of ones parents, whether cherished or reviled, is the one death-loss I have felt which has spoken to me most about mortality.  Losing a parent, or both, says very clearly, “it’s my turn next,” because the generational sequence of life is pre-ordained.  To me it felt like sky opened up above my head.  Not in a parting of the clouds on a suddenly sunny day, but more like the roof got blown off my house, and now, there was nothing sheltering me from what comes next.  I could begin to feel the gaze of the afterlife on my physical life.  I could feel its light shining on every dark corner of my “home”—my body and my mind.  

On the one hand, I felt not ready—and is one ever ready for the loss of one’s parents?  On the other, I felt a sudden urgency.  Spring cleaning.  A desire to live.  A desire to do things that I had put off or avoided.  But most of all, a desire to secure a legacy.

Children are the most important legacy of all.  The essence of life is to beget life.  To have children is to fulfil the reason for our biological existence.  [Please don’t regard this as an admonition for those who choose to not have children].  To guide those little bodies, minds, souls into a path of goodness and righteousness, and to do so without harming them as they grow, is a sacred commitment.  That is the first legacy.

That is perhaps the most important one.  Something else that is happening is this desire to feel.  To feel and experience things that are new yet awaited.  The arrival of death and tragedy in my life was the trigger that liberated me to accept that I needed to explore D/s.  This was something that I may or may not have been born with but have certainly carried inside me for my entire rational life.  I found I had the courage to begin this exploration.

The second legacy is to do good, and to support others.  This has come into my life through charitable giving.  To be able to support so many things would be wonderful, and so typical of ADD.  But I cannot.  I have chosen to support one thing that matters deeply to me, and that is the issue of trans suicide.  I give to a charity group that acts as the last line of defence for those in my most cherished spiritual community who have no defences, or whose defences have all been breached.  We should all be able to fly, but for those of us who were born with broken wings, looking up and seeing the liberated live free is often too much.  To those people I reach out my hand and provide financial resources for those who can do this full time.

The second legacy also carries into the personal.  Becoming more mindful about my role and impact in the lives of the people I love the most—my SO and my children.  Enriching them, leaving them with things, ideas, feelings, memories that will keep them warm as long as they have breath, that is a very important consequence.

Part of that second legacy is living out in a very intense and concentrated way a series of rituals, intense expressions of emotion, and feeling with a spirit guide.  This is Mistress.  She has become a walking companion in this emotional and spiritual landscape.  For this I am spilling over with warmth and gratitude.  Giving back to her, feeding her with things that she will cherish and grow from, just as my children do, is a driving force for me, an existential need, but also a source of intense pleasure.  Service to Her is offering me an unexpected landscape of emotion and spirituality.

The final legacy is one of ideas.  And hence the reason for this post.  I do not wish for any of this to be forgotten.  The act of writing, even when the words are not read, is a balm for my soul.  It is a way of figuring out what is happening, coming to terms with my own life, my own mortality, and my own love for those around me.

Writing is also a form of giving.  I am not referring to this blog, or these posts, though I should be flattered if one found things in them that were gifts of insight or understanding—or even just the little pleasure of reading.  Growing up I always wanted to write.  That desire lasted through my growth into adulthood…And write I did.  It has been a constant companion to me since my teen years. 

The pieces, the books, the articles that I write [under different names of course] are all gifts of one.  In every instance, there is always one muse at the receiving end.  A novel is written with one person in mind.  A cookbook is written for an audience of one.  This blog has one intended reader.  This serves to scrape away the noise and distraction, to allow focus.  This is possibly a by-product of ADD, but one which is necessary to ever get close to finishing anything.  My office is littered with the hundreds of writing projects that died half-way through—and in all cases, the common thread is distraction.  Focussing on one person, is an important device that helps me get to the end.

I don’t know that I always wrote because I was scared of death.  But knowing that time is running out, and finally realising it, has greatly focussed the mind on getting what is rattling around in there out onto paper, and sharing it.  When the tree falls in the forest it most certainly makes a sound, because the dying breath is the most truthful.

12 thoughts

  1. Not sure if I am afraid of my own death or death of my loved ones. Think I am more terrified of the latter. All we can do is to focus on the beauty that today has to offer. There is no guarantee that any of us will wake up tomorrow.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This was so well expressed, heartfelt and you gave me several things to think of more deeply.
    No one is ever really ready for a loved one’s death, even if they are very old or have been seriously ill. It’s always a shock and those left behind do have to come to terms with it.
    So glad writing helps, it does me too. I enjoyed this post and will visit to read more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and for commenting.

      I was not expecting to have been affected in the way I was by death…but there it is. Life moves in mysterious and wonderful ways…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sending hugs. I have lost a parent too, and my younger sibling. Learning about the permanence of death is a hard life lesson. But like you… I learned so much from this loss and from the grieving process. We cannot take even a single minute for granted as the future is not guaranteed. Love deeply and do good. XOXO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing this. All of us experience grief in different ways…I look at my siblings or my spouse reacting to a death and how different it always is…but hopefully for everyone it is possible to move on and grow.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. That’s an entirely new one. But quite logical too! ‘I write because I am afraid of death.’ That’s something worth reflecting on. Mine is corollary to yours. I write because it gives me life. It gives me joy and fulfillment. It sharpens my brain and keeps me young. Similar, I see.

    Liked by 1 person

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