What is your biggest fear? There’s an interesting question for someone who struggles with anxiety. My mind immediately jumps to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural address:
“…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts…“
It turns out, however, there is one thing I fear more than my own fear. A few summers ago I came face-to-face with my fear. I’d love to say I overcame it, but…
This was nothing like meeting a tarantula, although my whole life I have been petrified by spiders. Literally, if confronted by one, even the itsy-bitsiest of arachnids can send me into heart-pounding, frozen in place, panic. Unlike my friend Lola, I’m not concerned about them laying eggs in my mouth, or accidentally eating them, or even being bitten. The entirety of them being just freaks me the hell out.
Logically, I know they serve a greater good, so I do my best to live and let live. If a spider is in my space, I can break through my panic to capture it and set it “free.” Sure, there’ll be a tremendous amount of squealing and running in circles shouting “ewwwww,” but I’m a mom. Mom’s get shite done.
Now, if you ask others what their biggest fears are, I’d wager many will admit they fear death on some level. Particularly as we embrace the realities of parenthood, the idea of a premature death can be terrifying.
While I get that, personally I’ve reached an age where my own bodily harm and questions about my mortality are frightening only because I am afraid what my loss would mean to my children and my husband.
My husband, on the other hand, now we’ve come round to where my deepest fear comes from: his death. Even writing about this creeps me out, in a superstitious way.
Because, the thing is, I saw it happen. One day, 16 months ago, I watched in horror as my tall, strong, stoic husband slowly collapsed to the floor of a toy store. For reasons that are still a medical mystery, he had a full body grand mal seizure.
During those long minutes I held on to his hand as he convulsed, soothing him and begging him to stay with me. His eyes rolled back, blood eventually ran out of his mouth, and as his body relaxed in it’s unconsciousness, I had a just enough time to imagine what life would be like for me, for my children, if we lost this man.
I have never been so terrified in all my days.
Would we endure? Of course, I know we would. As I know my loved ones would go on should a dire fate befall me.
But if you’re asking what I fear more than anything?
To endure a life without my husband.
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