I Collect Ways to Die and My Husband Can’t Stand It

What’s our obsession with hearing how people die?


Man shifts chess piece.
By Tiko on Adobe Stock Images

When the Queen died, my husband Ben was surprised by my reaction.

“A policeman came into the Prime Minister’s bedroom with a torch? That would have been a terrifying way to wake up,” I mumbled into my pillow after he came back to bed to share the news.

“The Queen died and that’s what you say?” he asked — I couldn’t see his face in the dark but I could feel his teasing smile.

The Queen’s passing left us thinking about all sorts of things — about our own grandparents, about the role of the monarchy and if there should be one, loyalty, wealth, and the list goes on...

Me? I thought about our PMs early morning home invasion.

I know why my husband found that a surprise. Someone died and normally I have a dozen questions.

But the Queen was 96 and had been unwell. She slipped away in a peaceful setting with her family. Her death doesn’t set off my anxiety.

In the last two years, global anxiety has increased and I think it makes complete sense.

Most of us are worried about the world, but some of us, like me, take our worry to the next level. Professional worriers? Passionate worriers? Whatever you call it, I fit into that group.

I collect ways to die.

I wish we could be worry free in the world.

I’m just not sure it would make much sense right now. It’s hard to be completely worry free when we have a war, a pandemic, global warming, and various other major changes happening in our world.

My history of worrying started in my teen years. As it often does. Teens and women have been the worst hit by declining mental health since 2020 according to the WHO.

Teens and women have been the worst hit by declining mental health since 2020 according to the WHO.

As a 16-year-old I spent my summer camping holidays hiding out in my tent, consuming near-death stories from my dad’s old Readers’ Digests.



Kelly Eden | Essayist | Writing Coach

New Zealand-based essayist | Personal Essay Workshops | @ Insider, Mamamia, Thought Catalog, ScaryMommy and more https://becauseyouwrite.substack.com/