Thoughts of death, Montaigne and all that.

Adesh Fr
3 min readOct 29, 2023
Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

I wanted to write something sad about death but I changed my mind. Say I’ve had a Sullivan moment which has me realize there is no point in sad creative expressions because the world is sadder. And that sadness makes the world and life worse. Creativity ought to make life and the world tolerable and all that.

I’ve had frightening deadly thoughts for a couple of years now. Like an illness. I get fearful of a loved one’s death and not mine. This is a problem because if I feared my death, I would have done something about it. And I can say that because I have already done something about it. And that is, I have found a way to not worry about it.

But what do I do about thoughts that tell me someone I wish didn’t die before me might die soon or has died right now?

When I talk to those guys on the phone, I get to be without the anxiety for a couple of days. I can only talk on the phone because they aren’t here with me in Canada which makes me wonder if everybody who leaves home and family feels this way until they get used to it.

What else did I do to ward the thought off? — I wrote a short story about an immigrant’s fear of the death of a loved one and sent it to a journal. It was helpful until a thought hit me that I could be a financially poor journal-sending-writer who cannot afford tickets in case something tragic did happen back home.

And then I turned to Montaigne. In his ‘To philosophize is to learn how to die’ he says the only way to deal with death is by thinking about it all the time. I liked the idea. But you know what I loved?

This:

I truly believe that what frightens us more than death itself are those terrifying grimaces and preparations with which we surround it…mothers, wives and children weeping; visits from people stunned and beside themselves with grief; the presence of crowd of servants, pale and tear-stained; a bedchamber without daylight…

Montaigne says it’s the doom and gloom of death that makes us upset and afraid. And it makes sense because when a tragedy happens we deal with it and live with it no matter how much it hurts. It’s the ambiance around that tragedy that is scary. Like it’s not the ghost that scares us but the darkness.

--

--