The Picturing Death Project Journal Entries from 1999-2003

The simple but effective structure for the Picturing Death Project, a cast glass table, four chairs, and journals, provide a structure for journal writing with 4 questions that help participants examine how we will choose to live with the knowledge that death is inevitable. Currently, the project table, chairs and journals reside at Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan in Kalamazoo.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Journal Entry 1

People with near-death experience state that they have seen a tunnel with a bright light at the end. This could just be due to lack of oxygen to the brain. Being raised a Lutheran all of my life, I like to think that I am going to heaven. It is described in the Bible as having pearl gates and streets paved with gold, but this could be a metaphor. Since some of the greatest writers use wonderful metaphors and the Bible is inspired by God, He would use beautiful metaphors.

I think heaven is perfect, there is no prejudice. You can read people’s minds, and so understand their perspective and ideas so you will understand their actions so no get angry with them. The great philosophical (I can’t spell) questions like what is the sound of one hand clapping and what happens after you die will be answered because you can read everyones’ minds and they can read read yours so all discussions and understanding can happen instantly so everyone will have a great epiphany. there will be no pain because pain is caused by misunderstandings and mistakes due to inadequate knowledge, and since you can read everyone’s minds instantly and vice versa, you will know everything, so everything will be perfect. And this one thing that is most out of man’s (or woman’s to be PC, even though I mean mankind) understanding but strongly in our hearts, God will be there with us, everything will be A.O.K. And anything we couldn’t figure out, we just ask the big Guy, and He would tell somebody. And everybody would instantly know in the twinkling of an eye and a trumpet blast. We would finally be able to access that 90% of the knowledge that is stuck in brains that we can’t access because our brain doesn’t have the right wrinkle.

I have had someone close to me die, but I seem to keep myself distant from it. I don’t particularly like funerals. When I was real little my brothers best friend died. The truck rolled on loose gravel. He was 10. I remember when they said Charlie died. I said to myself, “Not that Charlie.” We went to the visitation and yes, it was that Charlie. His neck was covered in thick make-up to hide where the shards of glass had cut. My Grandma died around last Thanksgiving. I didn’t want to go to her funeral. We never saw her as much as we should have, she would come out in her apron and bandana on her head and give us a great big hug. She cooked great meals for us while we were there and always wanted me to draw, oh how she loved the drawings. Now she is simply not there. I worked in a nursing home for 5 years, and that’s how it goes. They get sick so you don’t set there place at the table and then they’re not there so you don’t set there place at the table and eventually the memories fade and you forget that phrase that they repeated continuously and how the liked their toast. My Grandpa (on the other side of the family) died when he was 82. I don’t remember how old he was. I didn’t know hem that well. He just sat there and didn’t say much and let us pick out one wooden toy, the duck with the rubber flaps on the wheels that flap, flap, flapped as you pushed it. He had a fake eye, but I don’t know which one. My mom told me he was always the first one up and out in the field. The neighbors tried to beat him out, always getting up earlier and earlier, but couldn’t do it. One day they got up extra early and went out to the fields with lanterns and that was the only time they beat him out to the field, and they were never able to again. When he retired, he continued waking up at 4 in the morning, and he wet to the doctor to see what was wrong. The doctor told him he had “old farmer’s disease” and he wanted to know how to cure it. He was just too used to getting up early to change.

I wish I knew this serious, hard working man. Those are my own experiences with death. And this, too, shall pass.

I do not think that the knowledge that I am going to die adds anything to my life. I plan for the future, not considering it may not be. I try to put as much enjoyment into the bustle of life as I can without being extravagant. I do not think I would change anything in my life if I knew the date I was going to die, except maybe warn the. “ Yeah, I’m not showing up to work next week, I’m going to be dead.” I would try to pay my debts. The thought of owing anyone erks me. As does being a burden on others, needing their help. Death does not scare me. Growing old worries me. i don’t want to not be able to move, to think on my own. Should I settle down, buy land, have kids? Travel, adventure, see the world? How could I afford either one of these? Responsibility? The uncertainty of life worries me more than the uncertainty of death does.

I have things I want to accomplish in life. Some I’ve done. I own a house. Some I haven’t. I’ve never been off this continent. But the fact that I am going to die does not add meaning to either of these. I do not regret things I have done and do not regret not yet having done all of my goals. If I did all my goals, then death would have meaning. I would just be waiting for it. But I will always have projects to do.

Death, oh where is thy sting?

It is a good day to die.

I have no hopes or fears of death. I have hopes and fears of possibilities of my life, but these will no longer matter when I’m dead. that is due to my faith. When I die, I’ll go to heaven, if my faith is correct. If it is not, either there will be nothing (that doesn’t seem so bad, nothing to hope or fear there) or I will be reincarnated (I’ve been good due to the faith I do have, if that’s true, I’ll be reincarnated as something good. Nothing to hope or fear there). So either way, I’m set. If the question is meaning method of death, I don’t really have that either. Pain is temporary. And most people close to death are so badly injured, they are in shock and don’t feel any pain. The one thing I would fear is the effect on my mom (I am a momma’s boy). I would hate to cause her pain. I would also hate for her to die, she is my rock and someone I can talk to about my day. It would be lonely without her. One time she got in a bad car accident and fractured some vertebrae. She had a long neck brace on and had a bruise on one eye. Visiting her in that hospital room made me nauseous and light headed. I had to sit down, a little ways away. I hate hospitals. What I hoe for is a quick burial.

I want to be buried right away, right where I die in a simple, old-fashioned wooden casket. Then, call everyone I know and tell them I’m gone. They can get together and drink and have a good time and tell stories of how crazy I was. My mom said I couldn’t do this because if I don’t have a funeral, everyone will think it’s a joke and won’t believe I’m dead. I’m never going to die, I’m just going to show up missing.

My mom also says people need closure. She was driving a pastor’s son home from basketball practice and got rear-ended, and he died. He was in 7th or 8th grade. She cried a lot at the funeral, but it helped.

Death is not a pretty thing.

Journal Entry 2 (Robin)

There was a time when I thought that I would simply be assumed into the goodness of God. That God was all of existence and so whatever was good about my life would become one w/God's goodness and the individual "me" would simply cease to be differentiated. But I am awed by peoples' experiences of having a sense that "dad" or "Walter" are somehow still themselves, still conscious and ever attending to this existence. So, what is it like for them now, and me to come?

I believe I will be in relationship with others. I am aware that I have casual interactions with it seems hundreds of people. I enjoy meeting new people but being somewhat reserved, I cling to a few close friends. In this sense, I think after death will be similar. I will connect with a few close people, but somehow be in tune with the whole celestial choir. Perhaps I feel I will have a sense of belonging and arrival that I don't experience fully here. Is it the "I shall not rest (fully) until I rest in thee" experience? I think so. If I am in a place, I imagine my sensation will be like the days I feel most ALIVE! Bright sun, combo of nature and culture, water, trees, mountains. I doubt that the place will be a place, but my sensation will be uplifting, free.

I continue to remember the very positive spirit of my grandfather, on my dad's side. I also appreciate my grandmother. It would be good to connect with them. In my work, I have been in a relationship (BRIEFLY) with people who I feel may have felt let down by me (such EGO!). Perhaps if would be hard to "see" them again, although it would also be a chance to make up for whatever we lack.

It's hard to begin here because I've been around death after it wasn't personal, or close. It is possible to imagine death without engaging it, at least to some degree. However, very often I do think of someone close while I'm sitting at the funeral of someone I don't really know well.

I am not a good predictor of death. I don't really see death in someone's eyes or hear it in their breath. I am startled when I witness someone "alive" and then a brief time later realize they are dead.

I was very sad when my mother took my dog to the pound and had him put to sleep. I felt anger of course, and I felt guilty for not taking better care of him. But I also missed my companion and felt a void in my daily routine. Most of the time, I feel that the person will be okay.

I haven't connected to too many suicides, I may feel different about that. My job keeps me focused on those left behind.

My sister-in-law just related an experience to me about her father who recently died and he seemed to "INTERVENE' in a situation in her life. She of course related in a humorous way but clearly wanted me to understand that she truly felt that he was present to the situation in an active way.

THE NUCLEAR AGE-I've wondered if growing up under the mushroom cloud has had any affect on me. Do I hold life more "loosely" than my predecessors because I could be vaporized at any time? From some far away place?

I think of my death in somewhat heroic terms. I am connected spiritually to those who struggle against injustice. The powers do not give up power freely, so the expectation is that there will be violence. I understand that God chooses instruments of Her will at certain times, and those instruments are after called to martyrdom. So, death is a companion to my spiritual reflection.

My children have pushed me in 2 directions-they are very VITAL and ALIVE, and so they take me far away from death. But, I also relate to them in terms of the cycle of life, in that the torch is passed to them from my parents and from me.Their growing means my aging and my movement towards death.

DEATH on the horizon means I can't do anything about it, so why be overly concerned.

However, I jog and exercise in order to make the most of my life.

I may be like others in that it's old age that is worrisome, as much as death. I'm not eager to lose my ability to take care of myself or my family. This is a judgment on my part, but in many cases it is borne out of the comments of those involved.

I'd like to think that I am a good person by choice, but death is a motivation...

KEEP THE LIGHT ON. Death is a sneaky fellow, lurking behind what seems like a friendly face, a familiar place. Let the beacon of the "normal" life cycle stay lit so as to fend off the intruder when he is unexpected.

LET THE SHOW BEGIN-all the usual characters should be cast for this big show. Wife, kids, grand kids, some friends-old and new. And from the other side, let the master of ceremonies be mom and dad, who were there at the beginning now bring down the curtain as well.

Can there be music? Can I sing a hymn to death, that final act?

I have to get on the dragon's back, hoist myself up, give myself freely to this ride. Soon I will be flying, gone from the familiar, through dark toward who knows what-But the dragon will turn into a white PEGASUS, carrying me to the light, on into formation with all the other HIGH flying people of God.



Cosmos, beauty, journey. What type of substance there will be I can’t fathom but that there will be beauty and love that it is a good place I feel 95% sure.At other times that 5% uncertainty arises and the images of Hell and Damnation, of paying for earthly wrongs and sins looms up and I am not at all pleased with the idea of facing a Judgment. I greatly prefer my images of warm whole love and peace. I selfishly desire to be able to peek back at earth, my loved ones and continue to flow the stories of their lives. Will I meet any Soul/Spirit/Being/Force I will recognize as my father Ralph Fothergill, my Grandparents.? Will I know or see others close to me who have gone before me into this mystery?

I have comforted others at their death by sharing my firm belief that it is love an goodness they are passing to. Am I right? Most of the time I fell strongly secure that I am.

Your paintings, Deborah, are very deep and rich. Their warm colors give me that sense of peace and security that I am right.

Lorraine Steppien the first time I was attending physician-calm, cool, confident. I had worked through 6 weeks of her hospitalization to keep her alive, to communicate clearly to her as her body fell apart one vital organ system at a time. I had paused several times to speak of death with her to inform her about hospice care. I tried to show her her was a choice; there was some say in how she would die. but she wouldn't embrace it. She kept telling me to carry on, to keep her alive. Through 2 limb amputations, through kidney failure, through painful drug reaction skin rashes. the morning finally came when she hardly roused as I walked into her room. I held Lorraine’s hand, I looked into her eyes and our struggle against death had been so long and so intense, that even at that moment I couldn’t believe it had come. I walked out of the room explaining to the resident all the things we needed to do and I believed at that moment could do to improve Lorraine’s breathing. 2 hours later the resident called me at my office and told me Lorraine had died. “I didn’t get to say good bye I didn’t get to kiss her!” Then slowly the images became clear of all the evidence that morning that this was, at last, death. I had missed it.

My father did not die peacefully. He had Brain Cancer and lost his ability to communicate with us several weeks before he died. His last few weeks he had periods of extreme agitation. Groaning, tossing and turning, striking out-in anger? At us? At God? At some hallucination? I will never know. We tried all the hospice tricks, I was on the telephone with my mother almost daily. Adequate pain relief, tranquilizers. When and how do we intervene in this experience of dying?How could we ease his suffering? Early on prayer and the presence of his friends and music helped but at the end it did not.

Some where around the time of my father’s death I began to feel so deeply the gift that is life. The births of my children also touched that deep place. We are not here on this planet because of our own decision to be here. There is a mysterious gift that is given and earth receives with each birth. I praise that mystery that giver of the gift of life more and more now. I open each day with raise from my bed before I even open my eyes. Praise to God, Sophia, Creator, Mystery

Good health. I am supposed to be an expert. A crusader in the fight against age, decay, death. I am a physician.

How can I help people broaden their definition of life? Go for quality instead of quantity. Yes, you smoke, that is your choice. You know it will shorten your life span most probably but what does that really mean to you? Did your father live to be 95 years old and hate the last 20 years of it?

I know many physicians who as they age begin to neglect risk factors for heart disease. Seeing from their experiences that a quick death in the middle of a pleasurable activity. Heart attack while golfing, eating a huge and excellent meal, making not at all a bad way to die.

Yes we are all going to die so what shall we do right now with our life? It is a gift. I begin with thanks and praise. It is a journey full of mystery. I embrace it the best I can. Trying no to get too hung up on the salvaging of material being. I like my gray hair. It feels good to become mature in my body, my mind, my spirit. It may all be remarkably transformed tomorrow. I could die at any moment!

I think I have always avoided this question. Of course it frightens me a great deal. My parents are in their mid-80’s now and I look at them, ow they are facing death. I am desperately saddened, moved and fascinated by their lives now. Very different approaches. Polar opposites. I see the values of each of their set of beliefs and actions surrounding death. I can’t begin to consider my own response, so I look at my father and my mother, seeing what they do.

My father is a scientist. Work was-and is-his life. His approach is to think up projects-books, articles-to complete. He always has a new idea, a fountain of energy and focus. He is not looking at death, he is looking at life, and what there is that he can do. I think, but am not sure, that I admire this. It is life-affirming. It is also very easy for me to get caught up in his projects.

My mother, the daughter of a minister, is very concerned about propriety. What amazes and delights me is that she is a wild gardener.That is, her garden is not at all proper. It is overflowing, overwhelming all boundaries. My mother can't stop planting. Her “garden” has grown into a two acre mass of color and texture. She has tended this ground for 40 years. Huge trees which she planted long ago, now overarch pathways and shade small ponds and a gazebo. Her garden in my mother’s erotic secret.

In the last five years, my mother has grown increasingly religious and conservative.She disapproves of more and more, and is very upset with the current societal state of things.

I haven’t experienced the death of a person close to me. I have experienced the death of many animals. Some were my pets, but not all. One of the deaths was caused by me. I was hunting with my father in Africa. I was eight, so it seems it couldn’t have been me that killed the Thompson’s Gazelle. But I did know how to shoot. My dad probably shot it, but I honestly don’t remember who held the rifle.

We were in a land rover with several other scientists-all men. I remember the gazelle going down in a cloud of dust. I remember jumping out and helping to slit open the belly. My arms were covered in blood. I was mesmerized, exhilarated. I looked at my father. He was clearly shocked at my appearance-spattered with blood, blood streaming from my fingers. I was frozen in space by that look. I had “joined the hunt” but that isn’t what I was supposed to do. I looked at the eyes of the gazelle, no longer shining and wet but opaque with death. Flies were everywhere. I had kill something very beautiful. Something very beautiful was dead in me. Or maybe I was aware of something very horrible. I couldn't think about this event again until I was 32 in a therapist’s office.

These questions about death make me squirm. I feel my answers are evasive, slippery fish. I’m not able to hold. I’m not as scared of my own death as I am of the death of those whom I love. I’d rather die myself than live without them. A cowardly response/

I’m getting married-in two weeks-very late in life. I’ve wondered why now/ I was not unhappy being single, though I have long searched for a relationship. It does have something to do with time passing, of less time in front of me than behind. Perhaps fear of dying alone. Or fear of not knowing someone in all their beauty and pain. Of not being known and perhaps even loved in spite of my dreadful limitations. Perhaps I’m also marry now-and so properly, too we haven’t even lived together first!-because my parents will die soon. and that makes me feel very lonely. I didn’t want to die not knowing someone very well. I’m looking forward to the joys and struggles of my life with X.

I’m also aware that I might not have much longer to produce work. I still don’t feel I’ve “hit my stride’. And I love what I do and I want to put everything into it.

I have been traveling in the subarctic North Atlantic-following the Mid-Atlantic fault line through Iceland and where it fractures off to Greenland and towards the Faroe Islands. I have been hiking into volcanic calderas and over pitted lava fields. Because of the high latitude, there is ice surrounding and interacting with the molten pressures from the center of the earth. I look at these primal manifestations of beginnings and endings, in the face of all this, attains a proper perspective. It is natural and not even personal in this setting.

I want to follow icebergs from the west coast of Greenland down from the Gulf Stream painting these glacial fossils as they split, crack and melt into the sea.

Journal Entry 20

I have idea, but my faith tells me I join the heavenly host.

I'd love to give Mom and Dad a hug and shake hands with Mr. Lincoln.

Hope to be able to come back on assignment to help folks.

Journal Entry 96

I hope that I die in complete peace with all my loved ones surrounding me. I hope that I have accomplished all of the goals I have set out for myself and I hope I have lived a long prosperous life. The only fear I have is not in death itself but in dying. I do not want to die a slow agonizing death. I do not want my loved ones to see me in pain and i do not want to deal with pain myself.

Journal Entry 115


First tear of the downpour, turned torrent floods clean the streets of debris. A breeze at last, one that is not more humid than water. Distant sirens sing harmony with the swollen kettle. At last it’s cool enough for tea. Camelia petals flutter in my home and the the call. Gut wrenching, soul crushing, she’s dead. In that perfection to my perception, she died. Where to now, well no where, for her, she has found eternity. But that is insignificant, it is what happens to us. the ceremony , the grief, a loss like no other. Unconditional love proven false. How could I exist beyond her? So on the couch, I occupy space, for days, months, a year maybe, while she has been incinerated and place in a lovely jeweled jar. When I went to visit her empty home I forgot to look at that jar, it made no sense. In death, others deny her true reincarnation, Kept isolated some where on a mountain.side useless to all her surroundings, what is her purpose? It was nothing to do with humanity and then again, everything does. We are star dust, don’t forget it.

Only she is stuck in a porcelain black hole. Antimatter certainly. At least for those who have found sleep in a common grave, they lend great service to worms. And god - well god is dead.

two concentric circles.

2. experinced

July 5th 2001, I had called him on the fourth, morphine freshly injected non-sensical slurs. He said he loved me and that the fourth of July would make a lovely memory - un beau Souvenire.

On the 7th a phone call from Ricka, a wild redheaded flemish woman who seemed to pride herself on the tufts of flame orange hair which had a tendency to startle the average American. He died early the morning of the 5th. He didn’t want his children to know. The funeral is tommorrow at 11 am. I was invited to late, physically impossible to travel that far and still have my time to weep. So instead I finished unsettled business and at the first available moment caught a flight. A fine distraction on the side, something my father would have approved of. On arrival, Phillipe sat me down at dinner, it was outside with the backdrop of the Cevenes Mountains, a millionstars, with gas station wine at our disposal.

He took his own life - your father is the bravest man I have ever known. Dignity to the last second. So with the help of a doctor - her address is still in my bag- he began the suicide. Morphine - then he gave himself an enema so as not to leave any uncomfortable, or unpleasant situations post mortem. Then the dose which should have killed him. Well that did NOT WORK!

So Phillpe called the docotr and she came back with more death drugs. My father still stumbling finally rested in bed. His last words to all who were with him - Bon c’est fini, le spectacle est fini.

3. what meaning

I am an insect, or nothing more than a lowly ameoba. To live, to experience, it all as if tommorow is hypothetical. Thrills, love, heartache, wild times, forgigiveness, all or nothing. If I could only rationalize children - but there are too many - and we are not alone here let us not forget. We feed off the skeletons of the dead, the wisdom, the fuel, evolution for crying-out-loud- so none.. I die, so be it, you die, I will mourn but not too much since that would be silly.

Pain killers may have blurred or slurred intent, but may be there is no better dream-like state.

Floating through my days, sleeping so soundly at night, All or nothing, everything is here for YOU, the one reading this now. Ask, swindle, plead, be a good neighbor and the world is at your disposal. Magic only exists if you have the balls and ambition to grab it - kiss me, kiss me deadly - with your bad blood, and I will be a black and white flicker reflected on the orb of your eye. I donate all my stupid trinkets to charity - by Gis and by St. Charity - a lack and fie for shame.

4.hopes and fears

I hope I will have found that plate-smashing love I have wanted forever. I can only aspire to

die with the kind of dignity my father had. Fear is not an issue, or not in death itself- but in the end of life will I have finished? It’s not a real fear of course, my life is full now, I could be quite

content if that was it , die semi annonymous it’s ok, Maybe I fear an after life, when it end I hope thats it! No dreams. No god, no salvation or damnation. I hope we are the physical, even our thought are the physical, neurons, dendrites working to orchestrate it all. We end - our purpose? CHILDREN- but No, we have no purpose now deviant behavior has replaced our drive, our lust. I FEAR I want children anyway. Baby art, the currators would raise it. Erase my life after I’m done, remember me as entity # 1,564 - that will make me happy. Or maybe I fucked up and I am all wrong. I fear that a bit, but only a bit.

Journal Entry 122

1. What do you imagine?

Although sometimes I think I am on the brink. Oh no s‘cuse me for rhyming . I have almost died, and at the edge of life and death, remember feeling a bit nervous because of my complete lack of knowledge regarding what does happen. And so I look back to the question and see “ What do you imagine happens?”

The imagination is a blender. She said, “ Maybe you need to blend everything up?”

Nothing is after I die. Nothing, but for fun, comfort, piece of mind, quiet of soul, satisfaction, and full of tummy.....I make things up like what I’m doing here. I say nothing to quiet, or too quiet to write about, and its okay, and it doesn’t matter. I’m not writing this for me, but for you.....pray you are of sound composure, and healthy mind and soul.

On a circle and the cycle of life, reincarnation, past life regression. Death as the beginning of a new cycle around. Death as the end of an old no real point it does begin round.

2. Have you experienced?


She was so sweet and dependant on me, to me, for me. She needed me, was my baby and it was an unexpected joy of a consolation prize after the abortion. Slept with me, walked with me, ate sometimes hated me. To begin all I would get in return were marks and scratches on my hands and arms. For months.

Then I left, and when I came back home she was in a boot. A big black boot. I called her name, “ Kimm. Kimmie.” And she called back and we were in love.

I am still in love and still conlent and can never forget how that morning went. He and I had argued the night before slamming doors and pounding the floor. He had been gone for weeks. When he came back she saw that it was him that made me angry. By morning we were friends again. By morning Kimmie was sink frozen, and sunk in rigamortis at the bottom of the fish tank. Oh. fuck oh shit I pulled her out and flailed on the floor with my cold wet dead rodent cluthced to my chest trying to make her warm again.

I put her in her pouch and then a nice cigar box with flowers all around and carried it with me all day.

I sat in my parents living room with my box on my lap.

He dug the hole in the cold in the dark and starved himself for two days. He felt bad.

3. What meaning?

It means that the few things humans have been doing, factually, since before I can remember being told. okay. right all together now. ‘This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius.” Brotherly love.”

One would, united, under the sun, and the moon. Mhmmmhm that’s right and to think you thought that “pledge allegience” poem said we was all under god.

It meant that I should be happy and smile and make others smile and live nicely, and go slow, and relax. Time is a luxury like a gold and platinum diamond set Movida, or Rolex? It means I should work hard and feel satisfied. It means I should forgive myself for watching “Charmed” with my cousin. Many in an attempt to satisfy and make her happy. Even thought I can’t stand the show, or television and most movies for that matter. Because it made her happy and if she’s happy I’m happy. But, I only did it once, watched, “Charmed”, that is. And I’ll never do it again.

She thinks she’s a witch, and it makes her feel something I’m not sure what. But it makes me feel like vomit. Not a big deal really, I don’t think about it too much. Except for now. “Charmed” the television series starring Rose Mcgowan. She’s that actress who dated Marilyn Manson. They were cute together. There’s a good meaning to life, ummm what was it, for death. Gossip, family, friends, scandal, makeup (which I say was the death of the female). Makeup, sex, coffee, dancing, smiling, laughing, Kind of like Hedonism in Jamaica. I used to have bright yellow t-shirt when I was eight or nine. I didn’t know what it meant but I thought it was such a cool t-shirt.

4. Hopes and Fears

I want to drowned in deep blue clear water. Empty no plants, coral, or animals. The Dead Sea.

Journal Entry 125


We’ve all heard the stories of the people who had near death experiences and claim they saw a dark tunnel with a bright light at the end, but then what happens?? Is that really what happens to everyone, or is that just a re-play of being born, as if to start another beginning. I don’t know....The whole fantasy of Heaven and Hell seems more like a fairy tale. Ending to life rather than a reality; as well the reincarnation ending. So maybe we do ust turn to dirt...There is no story about where we came from before being conceived, so perhaps we just return back to that

“nothing” place. I think everyone’s need to find an answer to this question, is simply derived from fear of the admitting that there is no answer to this question, is admitting that there is no need to be afraid of what comes after death.

2. Death of a loved one, or yourself

I’ve been fortunate (to date) in that I’ve not lost anyone very close to me. People I know have died, but no one Ive had a close relationship with.

I imagine, (I hope) I’ll die an old woman, asleep in my bed, surrounded by photos of grandkids and great-grandkids (Like the old woman in ‘Titanic’). There is a history of long life in my family. My great grandmother ( who’s my namesake) died at 102 (she was 100 at my birth).

My grandparents are in their upper 80’s and still kicken! I’ve been blessed with good healthy genes, there’s been no serious illness on either sides of my family. Im also not the adventurous type. So all that’s really left is a ‘freak accident’ or dying of ‘old age’. so hopefully I’ll live up to my namesake and live to 102.

3. what meaning

When I was around five, I would run crying into my parents room because I was afraid of death, or maybe it was just an excuse to sleep in their room, I don’t know. But since then, I haven’t been really afraid that I was going to die, until after the attacks of September 11th.. But unlike most people who were afraid of dying from another attack, I was more afraid of our government’s stupidity to retaliate and provoke a much larger, devastating attack. I was afraid of another draft and losing my little brother or boyfriend., or even being drafted myself. But other than that, I haven’t really given much thought about dying. I guess I should do more of that “live everyday to the fullest” - “Carpe-Diem” stuff, I just haven’t gotten around to that yet I guess...

4. I hope by the time I die, I’ m surrounded by huge, loving family, and I’ve acccomplished everything I set out to do. I just want a family more than anything else, more than success, money, or Fame. I just want to die with unconditional love.

I fear that I’ll die without those things. Alone, un-loved, unsuccessful, and too young. I fear dying alone more than I fear dying a long painful, gruesome death. Dying unloved , is dying uncomplete, without contentment, without support. That’s what I fear about death. (And maybe eaten alive by cockroaches) :)