“What’s your deepest fear?” is a question I often ask my good friends. With this single question I get to know so much about them, just listening to what s/he responds with and more so, the way they would answer. Death is a recurring theme I hear in the replies, either one’s own death or that of a loved one or someone influential in our life. I too consider death as a big one, but my answer to ‘what’s your deepest fear?’ is unfulfilled potential. I strongly believe there are no greater tragedies than wasted talent.
Growing up, my dad often told me “you have the intrinsic abilities to be successful in whatever path you choose”. So, from my childhood, I believed that I would be successful and achieve great things. Although I did not know what, when, how, nor in which form. I just believed that my life would be grand. But I feared that I would die before I reached the Top. Thus, I’ve lived my life in such a way that if I were to die now, I would not have any regrets about anything I would have or could have achieved.
I also believe in “Faber est suae quisque fortunae”, meaning every man is the architect of his destiny. Everyone has a talent which s/he uses for better or worse. In any given instant, we each have the power of making things better or worse or to keep the status quo for ourselves or others. That space is the epicenter of my deepest fear.
Living with a deadly chronic health problem, I feel constantly tested with regards to how much I really want to fulfill my goals and aspirations and how much I am willing to risk or sacrifice to achieve them. More, having faced death on so many occasions, life takes another meaning, so does death. Death has many facets to it and from my experience, it is the fear of dying that is the problem for most. This fear stems from multiple sources including and not limited to ethnicity, locations, culture, education, religion,…
Facing mortality is part of being a heart patient. To a heart patient, being aware and mindful of death is an everyday affair. We fight death every day, just to live that day. Paradoxically, as time goes, life takes on a deeper meaning, and a greater purpose (which becomes clear soon enough when one is fortunate).
With the new coronavirus pandemic, what’s new is that because everyone is at risk of contracting a vicious deadly virus and everyone is at risk of death. So, suddenly everyone else is aware and mindful of their mortality, almost constantly and with no clear end in sight. With how interconnected the world is nowadays, this dampens the atmosphere everywhere with a heightened and more permanent stress level. Interestingly, I have not heard anybody talk about the end of the world.
For people like myself, dealing with heart failure and confronting that daily, you learn how to deal with a lot of other things, because everything you do has a direct effect on your life and your quality of life. At the same time, every good or bad decision can mean more life, more complications, or death. For instance, if the therapy stopped working, or the pump malfunctions, before a transplant or timely drastic interventions, it will be a lot of trouble. So bad that nobody in my medical team can say how many days, or, even hours I can be without the pump inside my heart. So, in these corona days, it is even more important to remain focused, be extra mindful, and be careful.