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Sunday, January 23, 2011

alone in the dark

As a child I was terrified of death.  TERRIFIED.  I was also afraid of the dark, as that’s when things that want to kill you come out - vampires, Jaws, wolves, aliens, the creeps in the Thriller video, and anyone appearing on “Unsolved Mysteries”.  I had nightmares all the time.  I clearly remember sneaking into Mom & Pop’s room in the wee hours, trying to guess which side of the mattress would welcome me in and which would send me back to my Holly Hobby-clad bed.  Sometimes when my nightmares woke me up, I’d stay paralyzed under the covers.  Too scared to run down the hall for help.  My big sister hovered inches above my head in the top bunk, but the long climb up the ladder would surely leave me vulnerable to the creatures lurking below.

Bedtime caused me quite a bit of anxiety.  My parents told me these hideous creatures did not exist and that I was safe.  But I never felt safe.  Nobody was able give me the security I needed.  Thinking back, I want to cry for that tiny frightened girl white knuckling her blankets all night.  It was sad to feel so alone and scared, even if the fear was completely irrational.

Happy to report, I’m not afraid of the dark anymore.  I find the dark quite peaceful now and would have a hard time sleeping with even a nightlight.  I kicked the darkness neurosis when I was 24 (this is abnormally old, I know).  I worked on a cruise ship called Maasdam and there were no portholes in my cabin.  My roommate and I worked crazy hours and caught zzzs whenever we could.  Since our cabin had no porthole, the room was often dark in the middle of the day and out of respect for one another we’d fumble around quietly with the lights off.  Midday darkness just doesn’t hold the scare factor that midnight darkness does.  You can’t be freaked out at noon.  It’s just not cool.  I also found that between total exhaustion, supreme drunkenness and rolling seas I could’ve sleepily spooned with the Boogie Man and been blissfully unaware.

The fear of death lingered much longer, but ended equally abruptly.  As quickly as it took to read the book “Life after Life” by Raymond A. Moody.  In it, Moody proves through recorded observations that people who have near death experiences (NDEs) report similar or near-identical stories.  Pulling away from the human bodies in spirit, traveling down the long tunnel, entering the loving light, feeling peaceful omniscience, reviewing their lives, seeing a crystal city, deciding they still have work to do on Earth and returning to physical lives.   You have to read the book to get the whole story.  Good stuff.  I’ll blog about it more later. 

The point is, I was afraid of the unknown.  Death.  But now I know death isn’t really death.  It’s a transition into love and light.  And love and light is pretty fabulous. 

There is so obviously something more.  Whether or not you subscribe to reincarnation, it’s hard to ignore thousands of people who report having the same NDE.  For me, in accepting the FACT that there is life after life, I overcame my deeply rooted fear of physical death.  In time, I also figured out why I was so afraid of it to begin with.  I think the answer is this:  I grew up without religion or open conversation about spirituality. 

Regardless of the practice, religion teaches children that heaven exists.  Religion looks those little munchkins in the eyes and tells them, without doubt, that they possess eternal spirit.  Religion provides answers to kids who have sooooo many questions.  And we all know a kid’s favorite question:  Why?  But why?  Yah, but WHY???????  I never had those answers as a child.  But now I think I have some. 

I don’t habitually take my kids to church, mosque or temple (though they are all lovely options), but I talk about God and this amazing Universe all day here in the home.  My house is my church - full of God’s energy.  I am very confident when I tell my children that we will always be together.  That we have shared countless lifetimes loving each other.  That sometimes I’m the Mommy, sometimes they are, sometimes we’re just friends.  But that we are always together, full of love and light.   

They listen, laughing and wondering with each other, “Who was I before?  Who will I be next?  I hope I’m a dolphin!  I hope I’m a bird!  Hahaha!”  And somehow, these are my kids.  Laughing at death.  Who would’ve guessed? 


I confess, to this day I still launch myself into the covers from half way across the bedroom.  That gnarly hand reaching out from below doesn’t stand a chance.    ;-)


  1. Awesome blog! A great show on the Bio station..I'm addicted to is "I Survived..."but the one I really love is "I Survived beyond and back"...tape them! Very similar stories about after death from normal people.

  2. Casey- an old shipmateJanuary 24, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    I have to say I have a fear of death (or mainly being killed in my sleep)- just something I can't seem to get over. But love the ship story and the darkness part- made me realize I never did have that fear while sailing and always slept quite well when I had the chance. =)

  3. Carey S - what are we.... Some sort of cousin?!,January 24, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    After just experiencing my first numerology reading followed by a psychic reading, I am a believer! I kinda know I always have been. In a corny way, I now understand myself better and love my family even more (is that possible!) To go even deeper, let's talk about energy,chi,sixth sense, intuition, instinct! Our connection to Mother Earth!
    Loved your blogs...keep writing!

  4. V -
    I love this post. My home and my family are also my most important church and love a very important shield. I wish more people realized its never too early to start teaching a loving and forgiving religion to our children.

  5. anon - setting my dvr now!

    case - i love you!!!!! loved every minute of sailing with you!!!! we got some fabulously unexpected therapy on board and we didn't even know it! big hugs and belly rubs!

    carey - i'm cracking up! don't you LOVE NUMEROLOGY? i think of it as bread crumbs from the universe. i'm letting my pinnacles guide me right now and it's totally empowering! you a chi junkie? do you get acupuncture? linda tolentino is a MAGICIAN! let's talk, baby! xoxoxoxox

    carolina - HB and big love!!! i so agree with you - love-and-forgiveness is an incredible foundation for teaching our children. if organized religion doesn't make total sense, we just have to teach them what's in our hearts.

  6. I was EXACTLY the same way as a child. Exactly. You wrote what I felt every night. It's taken me to my 30s to (kind of) conquer my fear of dark, night, the woods, etc.
    xo deb

  7. oooh the woods. forget it. i'm not past that yet. watched too many jason movies as a kid. but really, those memories of being frozen in fear do not melt away easily. love love!

  8. vanessa all this blog made me remember was high school and watching children of the corn and then going outside and running around in the cornfield...

  9. We were creepy cheerleaders, weren't we? Ew. Makes me gag a little bit thinking about doing that. Scary. Haha. xoxoxx