ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

I'm Afraid and Terrified of Death and Funerals

Updated on August 28, 2012

Is this fear all in my mind?

First of all, let me say that I am somewhat terrified of death and going to funerals. The very thought of having to attend the funeral of a friend or a loved one makes me shudder with fear. The way the person looks in the casket scares me!!!! I attended my first funeral service in January, 1977 for my grandfather. The setting was somber and eerie at the same time. I remember the family having to get in line to view my grandfather's remains; as I got closer, my heart began to pound extremely fast and my hands became cold. My sister yelled at me because I squeezed her hand so hard that I accidentally hurt her hand.

It seemed as if this funeral lasted forever, but it was only a two hour service. After the service was over with, we all went over to my grandmother's house. I could not sleep. I thought I heard someone calling my name. I was too scared to get out of bed. The next morning, we went to the cemetery for the burial. Unfortunately, we could not have the burial service because the ground was too cold.

Fast forward three years later in 1980, my grandmother passed. That same fear gripped my heart and spirit again. It took me some time to get over losing her. In 1983, I lost my stepdad. I watched my mother mourn the loss of her husband. During the weeks following his funeral, the funeral director brought my stepdad's ashes to our home, I placed the container on the dining room bar. Later on that evening, I went upstairs to draw some bathwater. As I walked past my mom & stepdad's bedroom, I saw this bright light shining like the sun coming out of their room. I ran into the bathroom and I almost jumped into a hot tub of water. I told my mom about my experience; she just laughed and said it was my stepdad paying me a visit and that I should not be afraid. Losing him took a toll on our entire family. I found myself having dreams about my stepfather coming down from heaven and telling us to take care of our mother as best as we could and then he would disappear. I would wake up in tears!!!!!!

Down through the years, I had many other losses in my family. I lost my first husband and my mom in 2006. When I lost my mother, I had a really bad dream and I woke up again screaming and crying. While looking through some of my husband's old things, the stereo was clicking on and off. I had to hurry and put his things away. I'm beginning to wonder, is something wrong with me? Is my mind playing tricks on me?

My mother would often remind me that I should not be afraid of the dead. I would say to her that I can't get used to seeing my loved one laying in their casket. She would tell me that I should be scared of the living, because they are the ones that will hurt you. Today, I still hear my mom's voice as she would remind me of all of life's lessons. I'm not as scared of death and funerals as I used to be. I look at it as a celebration of that person's life.

Now I embrace each day as it comes. I know that God has a plan for each one of us. I cherish every moment with my loved ones as much as I can, because I never know when that time will come.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

      My grandfather died in a freak accident when I was a baby. Every sunday during my childhood we visited my grandfather at the cemetary. One would think that growing up like that would make me not afraid but even though I was used to cemetaries I was always terrified of death. I lost my dad 10 years ago and after losing him, it's made me less afraid. I figure if there is an afterlife- which I hope there is one- I'll be with him again. I miss him dearly and I'm so sorry about all the losses you've had throughout the years. I believe your strength and spirituality has been able to pull you through these difficult times.

      This hub is wonderful and brought a tear to my eye. Rated up & beautiful.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      You are so courageous to write about this when it affected you deeply. Life is like a journey and dying is just another step on our way to Heaven. If a person has tried to love and follow God and has accepted His gift of forgiveness of sins through Jesus, there is no reason to be afraid. We who are left behind certainly miss them and mourn their passing, but we should also be glad that they are now at peace in God's care. Your mother was a wise woman. God bless you.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I wrote about the fear of death also and overcoming it. It does seem you have and it is certainly something we all have to face. Very good hub and I am sure it will help many. Voted up and across.

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello Jackie Lynnley, as you can tell, my fear of death is not an easy thing to deal with. It has taken a lot of prayers and reading God's word to help me to deal with this issue. I have a long way to go. But in time, I'll be ok. I appreciate your comments on my hub. Many blessings to you.

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello BlossomSB, Your comments meant so much. Whenever I tell someone about my fears of death, it brings me to tears. I've had a many sleepless nights every time I attended a funeral for fear of what I might see or hear. I know I might sound a bit paranoid, but that's how I feel. With continued prayer and study of God's word, I will be fine. Again, thank you for your comments. Bless you.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I do not like funerals either and I think that is a personal choice if you do not want to attend or if you do attend don't walk by the casket, etc. I was pretty terrified as a child and went through much of what you wrote of but my fear of death was nothing to do with actually dying but being dead. Now I look forward to the other side although naturally I don't look forward to the process of getting there, lol.

      Blessings to you too.

    • profile image

      Muldania 5 years ago

      I think your experience is quite common. Dead bodies are frightening for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they are a reminder that we are all going to end up as a lifeless body. And secondly, it is horrible to see those we have loved without personality. They are no longer there.

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello Muldania, I thank you for your comments. Thanks to my mother, she helped me to understand that we all are going to die one day and that our bodies will only be a shell of who we once were. When she passed, it still seemed as if my whole world crashed around me and it was quite painful for me to see her laying in that casket. I felt numb because I thought my mom would live forever and the very thought of not ever seeing her again just shattered my heart. Blessings to you and your family.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I am no stranger to death and I have reached the point in my life where I simply won't go to a funeral any longer. I tell my close friends that I believe in remembering the person as they were alive, and I love them, but I won't go to their funeral should they die...and they understand this and support it. My last memory of a friend or loved one will not be that of a waxen figure in a casket. Thank you for your honesty and a great hub!

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello Billybuc,

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my hub. It is your right if you choose not to attend a friend or a loved one's funeral. I totally agree with you when you said that you would like to remember that person as they were in life. It took me a long time to come to terms with this issue. Again, thanks for your comments.

    • sholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Nina,

      I think your mom's advice was good. The living are the ones who you need to concentrate on. You had many experiences with death in a short span of years. I lost my mother and sister 2 years ago, and I dream of them as if they were right there. I will wake up crying, too.

      Very interesting hub that many can connect to on many levels. Great job! Votes and shared! :-)

    • sen.sush23 profile image

      Sushmita 5 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Yes, I too have remained very fearful of death and have always avoided funerals, and like billybuc have been telling myself that I wanted to remember them as I saw them alive. But life would still force death on you. I suppose it is the thought of a world without the loved one, that is so frightening. Since I cannot really believe in an afterlife, I cling to happy memories.

      Great topic for a Hub and very well executed. Voted up.

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Dear sen.sush23, you are so right. Life does force death on us. Just as sure as we are born, we will die. To me, that is such a harsh reality to face. But that is a part of life that cannot be avoided. I thank you for your comments.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      My dear sweet nina~ You most certainly have had to deal with so much in your life. You are not alone when it comes to having a hard time at funerals or seeing the deceased. I know so many who go through the same thing as well. It's all how you perceive the deceased and the direct connection you had with them. The comfort and strength will come from within and from the greater power you believe in. I personally have never has an issue looking & touching the deceased, no matter who it is. I do keep this in mind, that our life here is a journey and we are on loan to each other for a time and a season. The joys that we have with one another give me comfort in that knowing I will see them again someday. I am so thankful for each and every day I wake up for it is another opporutnity to meet someone else! God bless you! Your Hub is amazing! Voted up!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      I do not like going to funerals. The first funeral I ever went to was my grandpa's and my Mom threw herself on the casket. Now that would scare anyone. I think my problem with funerals, I hate seeing the sadness in loved ones and I never know what to say. I have friends that go to everyone's funeral and always ask why I don't go. If their not close friends or family I'm not going. I'll send a card or flowers but that's it.

      Your not alone..........Good Hub Voted Up.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Pay attention to safety and to warning signs, that is why they are there. The bathroom tub, the unusual headache, dizziness, swelling, any pain is the body's early warning system, and just being careful can make all the difference. Long life takes a little effort on our part. Why not?

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Nina-Even if you have faith in God it's very common to have fears about death, dying and funerals. I too have had a lot of death through the years and it has definitely affected me. I lost my mother at nine years old and one of my aunt's MADE me go look at my mom in the casket. I didn't want to see her that way and that memory of her so sick in the casket, stayed with me for a long time. God Bless you Dear :-)

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Dear Minnetonka Twin, I'm so sorry for your loss at such an early age. I can't imagine being forced to look at something that you did not want to see. It was extremely hard for me to see my mom when she passed; that image of her lying in her casket stayed with me for quite awhile. But with reading God's word and lots of prayer, I was able to come to terms with her passing. I thank you for your comments. Be blessed

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello moonlake, I guess everyone has their own way of dealing with grief and your way is no exception. Just recently, I lost my brother in law and an aunt on my dad's side of the family. Death is something that we never get used to. Thank you so much for your comments.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      My fear of the dead was present from childhood but still remains as of today. What used to scare me the most as a child were the screams of people when they mourned a recently lost loved one. Those screams chilled my bones and made my knees weak. My voice would disappear as if I had screamed their pain with them. When somebody dies I imagine their bodies in the casket deteriorating day after day. As much as I try to think about their soul those eerie images cannot get out of mind. I was only once to a cemetery and I felt death everywhere.. in Europe caskets are placed high stacked one on top of another and are often over filled to capacity. I was even walking on burial grounds! Death was everywhere, on top, under on the sides! I wanted to run away and scream! That night as I laid in bed I couldn't sleep, my libraries full of books in the dark reminded me those rows of caskets. Last week I freaked out when I saw on youtube videos of people in caskets, who would ever take a video of dead loved ones and post them on youtube? Oddly, as much as death scares me something about it lures me like a magnet and I cannot help but look at pictures of dead like those in my hubby's criminal justice books. So odd! Thanks for posting this interesting hub.

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello Rusticliving, I appreciate your kind words. I heard those words that you've mentioned so many times. You are so right in saying that our lives is a journey. My oldest sister would often remind me that this world is not our home and that we are here until God calls each of us home. For me, that part somewhat scares me because I don't know what's on the other side. But I'm told that if my relationship with God is in good standing, then I should have nothing to fear. May God bless you and your family!!!!!

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana

      I do not like funerals either. I've never quite decided if it's because I become too emotional at them and if it's something else. I'd rather celebrate their life in a positive way.

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Wow!!!! I cannot imagine seeing such things as a young person. Like you, my fear of death and funerals stem from the age of 13 when I attended my grandfather's funeral. From that moment on, I have never been the same. Over the years, I've experienced losing even more relatives and I've learned to come to terms with their passing. I know that one day, I will see them again. That is what I hold one to. You will be fine in time. God bless you.

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello sholland10, Everyone deals with grief in their own way. I find that we all have to come to terms when dealing with this issue. It's funny because sometimes I can still hear my mom's voice telling me that she's ok and that I should not worry about her. Just knowing that she is at peace lets me get on with my life. I appreciate your kind words. God bless you!!!!!

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      I couldn't agree more!!!! You can celebrate your loved one's life in such a way that will bring so much more meaning to their lives. It doesn't always have to be a negative experience. Be blessed.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 5 years ago from Southern Clime

      I was insanely afraid of death and funerals as a child. Ghost stories and Halloween gobblins did not help. Later, I heard a minister expound on death, and that began my healing. I also worked at a hospital where death occurred often. After I touched a body for the first time, I began to lose more of my fears. Hearing and reading what the Bible says about the state of the dead, and life after death, gave me more comfort, and I was on the road to good health.

      Before I gave my life to God, I was nervous about the possibility of dying unsaved. Now, that I live in Him, and "die daily," I seldom think about death. When I do, I am not afraid.

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Dear Levertis Steele, I'm so happy for you that you overcame your fear of death and dying. Like you, I've had the experience of kissing a loved one on the cheek to say my final goodbye, after that, my fears have somewhat subsided. But I still have a long way to go in dealing with death and dying. I appreciate your comments so very much. May God continue to richly bless you and your family!!!!

    • DavidFlies profile image

      DavidFlies 4 years ago

      I have never been to a funeral but I just feel in such a shame that my family, friends, pets will one day die, I even get angry even though there not dead I'm only a teenager

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 4 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      DavidFlies, I appreciate your comments. Just like we are living, we all will one day die. It's important that you cherish your loved ones while they are still around. Make sure you tell them how you love and care for them because once they are gone, it's too late. Again thank you for reading and commenting on my hub.

    • Kesstra profile image

      Kesstra 4 years ago from Texas

      I use to be terrified of death, my first funeral I attended was my grandmother's when I was ten years old. I was so scared. I think I was more scared of the mortuary and caskets, with the person lying inside. However, I am not afraid to die anymore, I believe in the after life, because I have seen it. It's more beautiful, then you can imagine.

      I read a book once when I lived in Europe, and I was in that book store from the time it opened up until it close reading this book. It gave me a sense of peace.

      If I could, I would like to make a suggestion. The medium, John Edward has some wonderful books out. To help you, you might want to read them.

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 4 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      I do remember hearing about John Edwards. He used to have a television show that deals with communicating with the dead. I felt kind of spooky when I saw that. However, I do appreciate your comments and suggestions and of course you reading my hub. I'm finding that as I get older, I'm beginning to feel somewhat comfortable about this issue now that I know what to expect. Again, thank you for your comments. Be blessed.

    • profile image

      jbatten 4 years ago

      I am so glad that I am not the only one who has those fears of viewings. I have my mothers viewing today and felt cold and heartless for feeling that way. It all goes back to my earliest memory as a child in which my parents drug me to my aunt's viewing. I had nightmares for quite some time about the experience and ever since, I have absolutle hated viewings and seeing a dead body. Now to actually go to my dear Mother's viewing seems like it will be absolute torture. I would much rather hold on to the memory of my Mom alive and happy, as opposed to a shell of her dispalyed in casket. However, I do take comformt in the fact others feel that way and so don't feel so cold and heartless. So thank you for your posts.

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 4 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello jbatten, I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved mother. I wrote this hub with the intention of helping others to get through their pain of losing a loved one. Continue to remember your mom just as she was when she was alive. Think of all the wonderful times that you've shared with her. Just know that she's at peace now and with that you can be able to go on with your life. If you can, take one day at a time. I know that it's easier said than done. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting on my hub. I send you love and prayers during this difficult time. Be blessed.

    • chamonixfirst profile image

      Phil, Sarah and Danny 4 years ago from Chamonix

      This is a great hub and i know peoples views on death could be upsetting to others or cause anger and hate. My personal view and i really hope i don't offend here, but death comes to everyone. Its the one thing, rich or poor, black or white, fat or thin etc etc that comes knocking for us all and i don't have any fears about this.

      When i was younger i was very curious about it all and expected it all to become clear later on in life, ie where we go after death etc but now i have just decided its just what happens and like i say, there is nothing that anyone can do about it, so enjoy everyday the most you possibly can and have a long and prosperous life.

      Great hub nina

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 4 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      I respect your personal views in this matter, so no offense taken. Everyone has their own opinions when it comes to death, Some people have a positive outlook, while others (like me) have a somewhat scary view of this subject. It is all in how people choose to deal with death and dying. You are right to say we will all die one day and that there's nothing that we can do but to enjoy life on a daily basis. I thank you for reading and commenting on my hub. Be blessed.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 4 years ago

      I am always glad that I chose not to have a viewing for my husband when he died. It would have been so bad to remember him that way. Even my doctor said he was glad of my choice. Of course it is a very personal matter, but I would never take a child to a viewing. I think it is just too traumatic, and as some of you mention, it is really hard for a child to make sense of this whole thing, if they ever can. Immature brain development and all that. There are many mysteries surrounding death, and I found your experiences so interesting. After my husband died, several times I heard him call my name. Once I even ran to the back door, knowing it was him, and falling apart, sobbing when I realised he was not there. I hear similar stories in my weekly bereavement group. Once I heard his footsteps next to my bed, and then a bang against the wall. I've never known what to make of that. All the best to your recovery from your loss.

    Click to Rate This Article