“Death No Longer is the Master”

Death No Longer is the Master

There is great comfort in losing my fear of death.  That is one of the blessings that many parents experience after the rawness of their grief ebbs.  It is an empowering and freeing experience: it is a gift from your child.  When my wife was diagnosed with a gall bladder that had to be removed, she told me that she did not care if she died during the surgery.  Losing this fear does not mean that grieving parents have a death wish or are suicidal.  It just means that death has become a part of life and there is no need to try to deny its existence or ignore its reality.  Death no longer is the master.

This is one of my favorite truisms written by fellow grieving dad and friend Charlie Schmidtke; in fact it is one that I too experienced.  I have spoken to a lot of grieving dads that feel the same way.  It’s not that we want to die (there may be times early on that you want to because the pain is so intense); it’s that the fear of dying is gone.  Actually, for me, the fears of a lot of things are gone.

I use to be afraid of flying and would have to medicate to stay calm when I did decide to fly.  Now I fly all of the time without fear.  I told my wife recently “what’s the worst thing that could happen”.  Again, not that I want to die, it’s just like Charlie said, “death has become a part of life and there is no need to try to deny its existence or ignore its reality.”  Not that I am trying to test the theory of “what’s the worst thing that happen”, I am flying next week and really don’t want to jinx myself, it’s just I don’t have the fear I use to have.

Another fear I use to have is public speaking, now I don’t even get nervous.  I actually have gotten much better at public speaking for work, conducting my workshops and key note speaking.  What’s the worst thing that can happen?  I mix up a few words, forget a line or two?  I have lost two children; these things do not even come close to comparing.  When I speak to other grieving dads, I worry more about connecting with them and helping them, not so much about my performance as a speaker.  I just want them to walk out of the room with a sense of peace and/or connection with another grieving dad.

I would be lying if I said I don’t still have some fears, because I do.  One of the fears is being thrown back into that pit of despair and depression again at any given time.  That scares the hell out of me.  Also, I have fears of my wife dying before me.  I don’t want to be the only one left by myself; however, I also don’t want her to have to deal with the loss of me by herself.  I know one of these scenarios will happen, that’s just life. 

How about you, have you lost or gained any fears since the death of your child?  If so, what are they?  Has your fear of dying changed?

This entry was posted in Bereaved, Compassion, Courage, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Depression, Despair, Devastation, Emotions, Fear, Grief, Grieving Dads Words, Healing, Life Lessons, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Pain, Peace, Scary, Survival, Truisms, Words of Encouragement. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to “Death No Longer is the Master”

  1. Steven Stuart says:

    This is not a fear per say, rather a distressing concern…I have now powers to help/mend my wife. I stare at the woman I love and can not fix the very recognizable anguish. It sucks. It hurts, and after much thought, it is one real fear that I can never relieve the pain in her heart that I know all too well.

  2. Bryan Tobin says:

    I definitely do not fear death either. Or I should say I do not fear my death. The only part of my eventual death that I fear is the sorrow that will be felt by my loved ones. I fear the death of my wife and and other son b/c I don’t ever want to feel this pain again but I know it will happen. Death is a part of life but I won’t let it dictate how I live. I’m going to live. I’m not going to wait to die.

    • Grieving Dads says:


      You are correct and I should rephrase that, I do not fear my death. Other loved ones, yes. I too never want to feel the depths of that pain again. Keep living. Going through the loss of two children has taught me to take in life and to live in the moment. There is peace in the moment. However, it takes a lot of greif work to get to the point. Follow that light at the end of the tunnel. Its there, you may not see it yet and may not for a long time, but it will reveal itself. Some days it will be brighter than others.

      Thanks for sharing. I added you blog to my blog roll, I hope you don’t mind.




      • Bryan Tobin says:

        Honored to be on the blogroll. Thanks for adding me. Constantly seeking that peace in the moment. Some days I feel closer to it but, as you know, other days I feel light years away.

  3. Steven Stuart says:

    Fear of dying? What fear of dying? I have found that the fear of death has totally gone away since Colin died. Obviously I do not want to leave my wife and daughter any time soon, but eventually we all die, and I don’t have a get out of jail free card, so I will die too…but I have no fear of it. The only true fear left is something terrible happening to my wife or daughter. Other than that, what else is there to worry about. The worst thing possible happened. I took the hardest punch known to man and am still standing.

    • Grieving Dads says:


      You are still standing and yes, you took the hardest punch known to man. I know there are days you don’t want to keep standing and some days you sit down, but getting back up is part of this.


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