Ex-Husband used to have a difficult time falling asleep because he’d often find himself awake, fearing death. Fear of dying plagued his existence. I really don’t worry about death much. I worry more about debility or mutilation – be it loss of a limb through amputation or traumatic brain injury.
I am quite familiar with many of the pragmatics involved. I won’t go into the details (it’s impossible to un-learn, but a few cursory searches will reveal the bulk of it), but there are a lot of steps and details between the initial traumatic event and fitting with a prosthesis, relearning how to perform activities of daily living (ambulation, self-care, etc.) when missing a crucial part of yourself that you always thought you would have (be it a body part, your memory, or even your identity), etc., that are gory and troubling and are never things anyone who hadn’t been exposed to it (be it a patient or a care provider) would ever think about or even realize happen.
Death is an abstraction, a mystery, a series of reactions that we understand only by absence, forever a negative in the darkroom. We can’t begin to understand the absence of death as it’s always through that filter of grief or the anxiety of the unknown — but to lose vital pieces of yourself… and to know it.. and understand it… and have maintenance of it on the agenda like laundry or inspecting the car — it leaves me cold. Bloodless.