There’s nothing like facing your own mortality to put things in perspective for you. Irritants that seemed so important before become inconsequential, and other things that we’ve taken for granted — like the sun shining in a blue sky — may suddenly appear to you like the miracles they truly are.
Of course, we all know that we are mortal beings, at least in body and mind, if not spirit. And we all think about death often over the course of a lifetime: we know it is the inevitable conclusion of every living thing on Earth. We try not to be obsessed with it, and we often make light of it — and in the lonely dark of night, we sometimes curse the fact that man knows his mortality.
Sooner or later, though, a health scare moves it all to the front burner for everyone — unless you die suddenly and unexpectedly. We all have health scares over the course of a lifetime that if left untreated could be the thing that kills us. And, thankfully, modern medicine can heal us over and over again.
But the time between, say, the first note of suspicion to further tests and diagnosis can lead to much anxiety . . . and google research on all possible scenarios.
Consider a woman who has had a routine mammogram and gets a callback for an additional one and a breast ultrasound. In the vast majority of cases, everything turns out to be OK. But the period between the actual telephone call and the return visit can be a time of high anxiety, with the aforementioned renewed perspectives on mortality.
For many women, the anxiety sets in before they’ve had a mammogram. They discover a lump while showering, and from that moment on, the mortality issue is no longer something to make light of.
Yet, billions of people and creatures have come and gone already on this planet, and billions more will die within the next century.
The life and death cycle is a natural course of the universe, just as our busy day gives way to the slumber of night. As above, so below.
So, why do we fear death so much? Why do even the most spiritual among us worry about dying?
P.S. No, I do not have a terminal illness, at least not that I know of.