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I Fear What Comes After Death

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From a teen in the U.S.: I have a hard time accepting the fact I know I’m gonna die one day, but I don’t fear death itself. I’m scared of what happens after and I know there are no answers. I’m kept up at night because of this and tend not to cope well. I’ve lost many people in my life specifically at the age of 7 and again at 8 only 14 months later. I am Christian, but my belief always wavers as I am uncertain. I just need someone to talk to but all the “free” therapy places ask for my card (in which I can’t use) or need a phone number (in which I don’t have) or the sketchy ones want my address.

I Fear What Comes After Death

Answered by on -

A.

It’s been said that the difference between human beings and other creatures is that we know that we are going to die. (Yes, I know. Some scientists are challenging that idea, saying there are in fact some animals that have an awareness of death.) My point isn’t to argue with science but to point out that it is part of the human condition to experience profound loss when others die, to have an awareness that our life will at some point end and to wonder what happens next. People who study and practice religions and philosophy and psychology all ponder the mystery of life and death.

As you said, no one knows for sure what happens after death. My grandmother, a minister’s daughter, was sure that God has a mansion with many rooms and that when she died, she would find a room waiting for her with a mint on the pillow of her bed and my grandfather there to greet her. I really don’t know if the story she’d tell us was literal for her. I do think it was at the very least a way to make her faith more familiar and less worrisome.

I think your obsession with the question could be called a crisis of faith. Multiple losses at a young age probably made you question your beliefs more than most people do at your age. It’s normal for a child to wonder where people went when they die and seem to disappear. It’s normal for a child to have trouble coping with the loss. It’s normal for people of any age to be angry with God when someone they love passes. You are still working on finding a way to metabolize your grief.

Since you are a Christian, you may find it more helpful to talk to your pastor than to a psychologist about your concerns. What she or he will probably tell you is that our ideas about what happens next are grounded in faith. Faith isn’t science. It’s a leap into a profound belief that provides solace and comfort.

I encourage you to contact a local pastor. It won’t cost money. It won’t require a phone. Just make an appointment to talk about your concerns with someone who is sympathetic and well versed in the questions you are asking.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

I Fear What Comes After Death

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2020). I Fear What Comes After Death. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/04/09/i-fear-what-comes-after-death/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 7 Apr 2020 (Originally: 9 Apr 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 7 Apr 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.