By Patrick Griffith on March 19, 2016


All Articles death

As an atheist I’m not supposed to fear death. But I can’t imagine being more terrified.

I’m not scared of anything bad happening. I have no fear of discomfort. I have no fear of the unknown or anything like that. I’m relatively confident in what awaits me when I die. Or what doesn’t await me. And it’s not bad.

It’s also not good. And that’s what has me feeling sick right now. That’s why I couldn’t eat dinner tonight. And that’s why I had to put my unfinished beer back in the fridge. That’s why, as I type this three hours later, I still have a lingering pain in my chest that I can’t describe to you.

It’s the lack of goodness that has me so scared. The lack of goodness forever.


Never again will I smile. I’ll never kiss Sarah. I’ll never even see Sarah. I’ll never think. I’ll never cry. I’ll never feel this terrible pain that I feel right now.

The thought of death doesn’t usually bother me so much. Usually I catch myself quickly and divert my thought process to avoid the pain. Sometimes I’m not so lucky. And tonight is the unluckiest I’ve ever been. It’s the worst I’ve ever let my thoughts spiral.

Forever isn’t a scary word on its own. Its scary when I think for several minutes about what it means.

Not in the next year or the next thousand years. Not in one billion years to the one billionth power. And infinitely worse than all of that. Infinity isn’t something that I can grasp. So when I know that I’ll never laugh again I can’t even grasp the magnitude of how empty that is.

It’s not fair. It’s cruel. Tonight is the first time in my life that I’ve been genuinely envious of religious people. I genuinely thought at one point tonight that I wished I believed in a god and an afterlife. I don’t. Not even an ounce more than I did three hours ago. But I get it. I get the appeal.

Tonight is the worst pain I’ve felt in my life. More pain than I’ve ever experienced losing a loved one or going through a breakup. Not even close. And even the gravity of my pain is infinitely small compared to the gravity of death.

I’ll never be able to capture in words what I feel right now. Maybe you know the exact hurt that I’m talking about. I’m sorry if that’s the case. And I’m sorry if this makes you relive it.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about then this post probably makes no sense to you. Because even as I write this I would never expect anybody to believe how much pain I could conjure up from thinking. How can thinking be more painful than losing a loved one? I don’t know how to answer that.

But maybe it’s worth it. Because with my pain tonight comes the most incredible sense of clarity and mental freedom that I’ve ever had.

For the past three hours I haven’t thought a single negative thought about anyone. I’ve felt not even the tiniest insecurity. I’ve felt no desire to lie about anything or be anyone other than my complete and true self.

For the past three hours I’ve spent an absurd amount of time showering Sarah with affection and even more time thinking about how much I love her.

For the past three hours I’ve lived exactly the life I want to live. I’ve lived with 100% intentionality. Despite the pain, I’ve thought the most beautiful thoughts. I would not change the slightest thing. I’ve gone in and out of being deeply sad, feeling sick to my stomach and being too petrified to muster tears. But if that’s what it takes to make me aware of how special and rare life is, then so be it.

I have more to say but I’m going to cut this one short. I don’t feel like writing anymore right now. And if I come back to add more tomorrow I don’t think I’ll be able to replicate my state of mind.

I’m the emotional rock in my marriage. But not tonight. Tonight I need Sarah to be my rock. Because all I want to do right now is be in her arms. So that’s where I’m going right now.

I appreciate you reading this. Take care.

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