Thinking about death

Anonymous, Age 68 5/8

I will be turning 70 in a couple months. I lost my husband a year and a half ago. I have 3 grandsons ages 6, 8 and 10. To get to the point, recently I have become obsessed with death. I feel I am just sitting around waiting to die.

Have you ever experienced this feeling?

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13 Responses to Thinking about death

  1. Roseann Cervelli says:

    Dear Anonymous,
    It sounds like you are in such deep mourning, sadness, for your husband and the life you have known before…It is so hard when that which has been our purpose, our way of life, suddenly changes… A part of us does die when we lose our loved ones, especially those that have been part of our every day world.
    Grieving and mourning are so necessary for moving on…Crying is truly ok too…But we have to take care to not isolate, we have to take care to gently fill the void that the loss of our loved one leaves within us…It is a journey to find- very gently and without rushing into this- some new sense of purpose, something that can give meaning to our day…
    Have you tried volunteering somewhere to help others? Perhaps a church group, a hospital gift shop, a Ronald Mc Donald House?
    Have you tried to attend a grief support group? Or perhaps, counseling to be able to express your feelings of sadness and powerlessness? Do you have a church or spiritual community that you can join and be part of?
    Have you tried to connect with friends or family who have gone through similar losses? Can you remember some of the things you once enjoyed and try them again? Are you able to read, especially books about coping with loss, or inspirational books, spiritual books? In grief, we need to surround ourselves with persons, places or things that touch the Heart and Soul- which are the parts of us that both need comfort at this time, and that also are our Strength as we seek a new way to live.

    You mention you have three grandchildren- do you see them often? Can you nourish your relationship with them by doing things with them, or taking them out to a park or movie etc.- just spending time with those you love is often a wonderful antidote to the loneliness and sadness.
    May you find new meanings in your life, just as you cherish the memories of old and of the past. One of the best things we can do is to be grateful for what we still have…for who is still here, even as we miss the ones who have passed.
    I hope that one of these ideas resonates with your heart. I am sure all who read your post, will be thinking of you and wishing you every Blessing of Comfort…

    • K. Clowry says:

      Thank you for your advice. How do I stop thinking about dying all the time? Why so focused on that? Is it that I am turning 70 and it’s normal?

      • Fran says:

        Yes, it’s very normal. Through a series of losses, as we age, or suddenly we just wake up one morning after 65 and think, “Omg, I have far more days behind me than in front of me!” :-), it is very normal to think about dying and death. I wasn’t all that sure at first. Then: I used to do Tai Chi with a small group — about 10 of us — aged 65-75. One morning I simply blurted out, “Do any of you ever think about dying and death?” And they erupted in loud laughter! One woman laughed, “EVERY DAY!” And we all erupted into laughter again. And then we really talked about it, after class. However, you have fairly recently experienced a very great loss: the loss of your spouse. If you can afford it or if your insurance will cover it, I suggest talking with a grief counselor. If funds are limited, there are grief groups — your pastor or your local hospitals can give you a list of groups in your area. Grief groups are great fun (usually) — lots of tears AND lots of laughter. Are you ever going to get over losing your husband? It will get easier as time goes by, but you’ll never completely get over the loss of him. What you can do is go on, in time, to a better life — probably much better life — than you have now. As much as I believe that old age is a time for preparing to die, I absolutely know that it’s not a time to just sit around and wait to die. Be gentle with yourself, know that how you think is normal, get some help — and know that one day you’re going to wake up and that you will be surprised at how good you feel. It’s just going to take some more time.

        • K. Clowry says:

          Thank you for taking the time to write this. It has been very helpful and it gave me a feeling of normality. I guess the thing to do is “deal with it when the time comes” as we really don’t know when that is. You have made my day and I intend to start building some kind of life for myself. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  2. K. Clowry says:

    Thank you for your reply. I am heavily involved in my grandchildren’s lives…always have been. I also have a daughter and a sister I can talk to but don’t want to burden them with such a morbid obsession. It has come over me since I started thinking about turning 70. Is this normal? Most people consider 70 to be old and it hurts!

    • Fran says:

      PS: 70 IS old. LOL It is. We’re not ‘elderly’ at 65-70 (I’m 69), but we are old. What really hurts is that few of us want to admit that. If Medicare is correct, 85% of us women (who are 70 right now) will be dead before we reach 85. Of the 15% who do reach 85, fully 50% will be in a nursing home.
      For you and me, age 85 is only 15 years from now — and that’s IF we reach 85 — the odds are not at all good that we will! LOLOLOL Rather sobering, isn’t it. A VERY good reason to not just sit around and wait to die. 🙂 Please find at least a good grief group where you feel comfortable.

  3. Angie says:

    I just turned 70 and I too am obsessed with dying. In the past couple of years there have been so many deaths around me, friends, family, even my dog passed away.
    Maybe I just haven’t had time to grieve one death before another happens. But I keep wondering if I’m next, almost wishing I was so as not to experience any more deaths around me. Every time I feel bad, I think I’m dying. Every time my husband feels bad I think he is dying. There is nothing to look forward to and nothing fun anymore. I’m pretty busy with activities during the week, when I feel good enough. At home with my husband, I’m very lonely.

    • K. Clowry says:


  4. Diana says:

    The harder we try to push something out of our minds, the more firmly it stays.

    I deal with it by limiting how long I think about it. For example, when thoughts of death come, say to yourself, for the next five minutes I’ll consider how I want to deal with my final days, then I’ll go for a walk, or wash the dishes, or play that CD.

    Go on and think about it, but briefly. Give it a time limit. But acknowledge the feelings. Then make yourself move on. It will come back, but again, limit how long you think about it.

  5. fran says:

    This is a excerpt from a book by Daniel Baxter, MD. It changed my life. I hope it does you good too.

    The sense of life’s preciousness, which I inhale from the streets on my way home from work, is how I survive the daily spectra of disease and death. It is how I maintain my emotional perspective day in and day out. Not only do I never fear the daily reminders of my own frail mortality, but I am grateful for this exposure, the realization that we are all ultimate HIV-positive, in that we are all going to die sooner or later. I acutely realize that someday, regardless of my own final disease or injury, I, too, will join my many patients on their sickbeds. The poignant stories transpiring everyday on my AIDS ward, my crucible of hope and despair, have taught me that having a life that denies the relevancy and immanency of death actually robs that life of the wonder it should have. I have come to believe that a content life is one that gracefully carries death on its shoulder as a friend and not as a feared adversary.

    Daniel L. Baxter, MD., The Least of These My Brethren

  6. Judy says:

    I’m sorry for your suffering. I have been in your shoes. There are lots of good suggestions in the above posts. I would add taking things one day at a time. Even one minute at a time. And have patience with and compassion for yourself. Do some of the things suggested above but move at your own pace. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. It doesn’t go away nor do we “get over it”. But I can promise you that it gets easier to deal with.

  7. Suzanne Gross says:

    Find something beautiful or magical in your life everyday….a sunset, the color of a rose, nice smile from cashier at grocery store, smell of a gardenia, color of the clouds at sunrise, children laughing at play in a park, flower gardens starting to bloom in spring, smell of the ocean air, sweet shy hello from a little boy or girl, a baby’s laugh, nice unexpected kiss on the cheek from someone you care about, a snoring dog next to you so happy, big blue sky, going outside and the temperature is perfect, basking in the warm sun, curling up to a warm cozy fire, a good pillow, a great comfortable bed, beautiful mountains with mist on them, gorgeous floral arrangement, finally your hair looks great, big green field of open space, gleam on the neck of a beautiful horse, hitting a great shot at golf, satisfaction of a job well done, hug from your grand baby. Looking for these little miracle things, each day, and especially savoring them in the moment…..will bring something special that you might not have noticed and appreciated before.

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