The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get use to the latter.
Episode Three: That Phobia Scares Me To Death
I was 7 or 8 and I was hanging out in my sisters room before bedtime. The year was 1978 or 79 and on her wall was a black and white poster of Elvis. I don’t remember why she let me stay in her room that night but it was a rare treat. I’m guessing we were listening to music.
I stared up at that poster and the man that had left this world only a year or so ago and I felt like the real Elvis was there in the room with me.
I didn’t like it. Not at all.
I started to cry, uncontrollably.
My sister tried to hush me, I’m guessing she didn’t want mom or dad to think she did anything wrong. My mom came into the room and knelt down next to me.
I looked at her and said through my sobs, “I don’t want to die.”
Before that moment, I had never thought about death. I had a parakeet that died and I had a grandfather die that I didn’t know too well but I had never thought that dying could happen to me.
Not until I stared at that Elvis poster.
I’m not sure why it did. Did I put two and two together from a movie or a TV show? I’ve pondered that for the past few years. And now I’m what is called ‘middle age’, I think about quite often. Honestly, way too much. There are days I won’t think about dying at all and then, all of a sudden, it hits me full force.
I looked it up and it’s called thanatophobia, the fear of death. I don’t have the simpler phobia called somniphobia, which is the fear of falling asleep or sleeping. I quite like sleeping, when I can. No. I have the fear of dying. And it doesn’t just hit me before bed but getting in the car, going to work, taking a shower, watching TV. It can hit any time of day and doing anything.
I must admit, since I’ve been a father and been married, it’s hit me harder. I worry (there’s that word again) that I will leave my love ones and that they’ll miss me.
But, I think what I’m scared of the most is ‘that moment’. The moment we start to fade. We KNOW, this is it. Darkness starts to sit in and we might have seconds left on this planet. Are we with somebody at that moment? You feel bad they have to watch. Are we alone? You wish there was somebody there. In that second after your last breath, will there be a light and God or nothing? Nothing at all?
Or….does whatever happen, happen in a split second and you have no chance to think of anything. Or while you’re sleeping.
That runs through my brain a lot. And I wonder if I’ve left a impact that I was here. Have I made a difference? If there is fate and I was put here to do something, did I do it? Will I be remembered and talked about with joy and fond memories? Will my daughter tell her children about me and how they would have loved me?
I know none of us can escape death (except maybe Keith Richards). I know billions of people have died before me and billions will probably die after. I’m not special. My time will come sooner or later. And I have to learn to accept it and live life, like I said before, in the moment.
I think the idea of time travel is really, really dangerous but if I could go back and there would be no ill effects, I would tell my younger self, when he/I was scared about going to sleep because of that Elvis poster, that he died because he didn’t take care of himself. And that I/you made it to 44, so far. I would tell him/me to not worry so much.
And I would tell him/I to take a French class in High School but that’s beside the point.
But I can’t. I have to deal with it now.
So, as I look forward to, hopefully, a full night sleep, I’ll have another day tomorrow to do good on some level. But if I don’t wake up and I shuffle off this mortal coil, I hope those that I love knows I love them. I hope they will think about me. I hope I made some sort of impact on their lives and it was good.
Or….I might really be a vampire and this post is for nought.
– Loyd Elmore
April 4th – 7th 2016
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.