The D Word

The D Word

It’s terrifying to think about, but I am morbid enough to obsess about it daily. Okay, a million times a day. The “D” word…death! I’ll admit it, I’m afraid to die. I’m afraid of what it will feel like, I’m afraid of how my daughter will have to cope I’m afraid to simply not exist in this life. I am a person of Faith and I do believe we live on in some way, but I kind of like it here and really don’t want to leave anytime soon.

I am that person that really tries to live life to the fullest daily. I have zero regrets in my life, because in a instant it can all change. I have seen how one instant can change my life for good and I have seen loved ones tragically taken in a blink of an eye.

My fiance drives up and down the highway daily and I have to make sure he texts me when he arrives safely because my grandmother was killed in a car accident and I have fear of something happening. I can’t help it some days. I wasn’t always like this. Definitely not before I had my daughter, but it began after and even more now that I turned 40 and found a man to share my life with and I feel so happy and content. I have a part of me that is just waiting for something to take that joy away. I try to tell myself to snap out of it as I can’t control certain things. Let it go and just be happy. And believe me, I am happy and positive and I really do feel fortunate for my life, but I have moments when I get scared. I don’t know what God’s plan is for any of us so I try to focus on all of the good things and memories and not wait for something bad to happen. This is not an easy task.

And it seems this past week several Facebook friends got diagnosed with cancer, someone lost a loved one tragically and I watch all of the posts in my newsfeed and think “Holy crap, that could have been me.” It just wasn’t this time.
When I turned 40 last year, it really changed my perspective. I questioned my mortality and the legacy I am leaving for my daughter. It seemed like the instant I turned the Big 4-0 my body felt different. I get tired easier, it takes me an extra day to recover from shooting a wedding, I now have some kind of arthritis happening in my wrist from holding my camera, my night vision is getting worse. I love being 40 for so many reasons, but these aren’t any of them! And those thoughts bring me right back to that dreaded “D” word.

I’m at the point in my life where you have to frequent doctors for check ups and physicals and blood work. Other tests are becoming important and I have to be honest, the anxiety over going and getting testing done is overwhelming. What if something isn’t right, what if they find something? What if this is the time I get that dreaded news I have been fearing? It’s awful and that anxiety is causing me to put off some important testing because I just can’t deal with the “what if’s” I certainly can’t be the only person who thinks about this stuff. So for now, I just go to sleep at night with a prayer of thanks and wake up grateful for one more day and that’s all I can do. Because I simply don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

Photo Credit: uzi yachin via cc

Veronica Yankowski

Veronica L. Yankowski is an award-winning celebrity photographer, author and photography educator. During her extensive career she has had the privilege of working with many celebrity clients such as Dina Manzo from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Signy Coleman from The Young and the Restless, Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC, Jon Bon Jovi, and many others . Her photographs have graced the covers of magazines and last summer her boudoir photography was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Veronica is an accomplished author and her first book "Dialogue 3" was published in 2002 and showcases her photographs of people and places and the tragedy of 911. She is currently a continuing education photography teacher at Brookdale Community College instructing courses from beginner DSLR to more advanced portraiture courses and also hosts workshops around the state to amateur and hobbyist photographers.

She has been interviewed on several radio talk shows, featured on blogs and her work has been on several reality TV shows such as TLC's Four Weddings, Bravo's Cake Boss, HGTV's Dina's Party and The Real Housewives of NJ.

Veronica is currently speaking in the tri-state area on photography and how women can build their confidence in photographs. She instructs women how to pose better, and sell their brand with a perfect head shot.

Since beginning her professional career in 1996 as a photojournalist, Veronica has won many awards for her portraiture work. She worked for some of the top media outlets in the tri-state area such as The Star Ledger, The New York Times and the Associated Press.