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Death, my dearest friend

I have been aware of my mortality for a long time. Before I went to school, lost pets or grandparents, I would sit up at night, struggling to breathe.

Strangely, although I have never been religious and, as far back as I can remember, have believed death meant oblivion, dying does not frighten me.

As I grew up, my asthma grew milder, better controlled by medication. And my next brush with death, outside alcohol poisoning and getting into fights, was in my twenties. I had pleurisy. It felt as though a vice was strapped around my chest, tightening and tightening. I was not hospitalised but given codeine for the pain and spent a few weeks in bed, hallucinating. Today, I remembered that time of waking nightmares. I think what I saw then—the demons—informed my horror stories. As an atheist, it seems unlikely that my monsters had any religious origin.

Even as I grow older, and my parents age, and their friends die, I do not fear death. I see it as a release from all this suffering. No anti-depressant has removed my sense of it, but death shall. The consolation that gives me strength to tackle obstacles, keep fighting, and grab moments of joy along the way is knowing that one day I will be at peace.

It is little wonder that I was, am, and will be drawn to horror and the Gothic subculture.

NB: I am fine. This is normal. I plan to stick around.

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