“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Coming to terms with what I’m afraid of has been one of the hardest parts of this year. I think I’ve always known that I’m afraid of death. This fear has been validated in tougher parts of my life, and it’s a feeling I can never shake when I think about the fates of my loved ones. I hate thinking about death.
I have also come to terms with realizing I deeply fear the unknown. I feel being out of control. Airplane travel, a mishap in an elevator, that car that was just going a bit too fast, the crazy driver who’s angry that you cut them off, even the Bart trip that could suddenly be my last….all of these circumstances have an underlying fear of being completely devastating and terrible. I could die. And I wouldn’t have control over it. I have no control over it.
In White Noise, Jack is dealing with death. He comes to terms with – or tries to at least – death being an unknown, something out of his control. No pill, no voodoo magic, no miracle can save anyone from dying.
In fact, I think the majority – if not all – of the books we read this year had to do with dying. Maybe not The Importance of Being Earnest..but still. It was such a prominent topic in Lit this year, and for good reason. I feel like death becomes such a taboo as children grow into adolescents. My fear of death began when I heard that my great-grandmother died, when I was five or six if I remember correctly. My instant thought went to – Mommy, are you going to die?
We’re taught to ignore death, accept that it’ll come in a long time. But for me it didn’t. Death knocked on my door step two Mays ago. I had to answer. I had to face it staring right back at me. I hated it, but I had no choice.
Life works in really mysterious and cruel ways. A common thread in my own life has been to take every good thing with a grain of salt, but to also remember that I’ve come so far and survived my hardships.
I can’t hide from death. It’s everywhere.
In the past few years, I grew up a little bit too much for my liking, but with that realization comes hand in hand the understanding that I cannot control the fear I fear most.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures