To be perfectly honest, asking me to narrow down my swag of fears to my one, greatest fear was rather challenging.
Indeed, I even had to include myself on the list.
I understand that this might seem the ultimate in paranoia but if you were me, you’d also be afraid.
Make that very, very afraid.
Who hasn’t shot themselves in the foot?!!
However, before you shoot me down in flames for delusional, low-self-esteemed thinking, who isn’t afraid of themselves…even just a little bit? After all, who hasn’t shot themselves in the foot often enough to know that you can be your own worst enemy?!! Certainly for me, this is no figure of speech or exaggeration but the hard core truth. My feet look like Swiss cheese, covered in bullet holes but I’m still smiling. If you can’t laugh at yourself, that’s when you really need to be afraid.
Anyway, aside from being incredibly afraid of myself, after much peering through the microscope over the last week, I’ve finally identified my greatest fear of all.
A family photo Mother’s Day 2007…6 months before my diagnosis.
That is that my children or those close to me will undergo extreme suffering.
As much as I thought death would top my list, in actual fact, it doesn’t. While dying certainly scares me and at times absolutely terrifies the begeebers out of me, extended anguish seems so much worse. As much as we know life has it’s challenges and these lead to growth, there are what we would all consider extremes which we wouldn’t wish on anybody, especially our nearest and dearest. That doesn’t mean that I support euthanasia but what I’m saying is there are some things worse than death.
Our family at Yoda celebrating my birthday in July, 2014
At the same time, I am terribly concerned about dying before my children are independent and that they’ll fall in a screaming heap. This is a very real consideration given my ongoing battles with a severe auto-immune disease and a complication, which causes fibrosis in my lungs. I have been fighting this even since my daughter was born almost ten years ago and there have been some very grim times when the worst seemed imminent.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Some days I even feel like Wonder Woman!
However, I’ve now had so many threats and survived, that I am starting to feel strangely invincible. I really shouldn’t be here and yet I’m still standing and I’m thankful for every year, every special moment we’ve had. My children are now 11 and 9 and are becoming independent. I need them to be independent and able to stand on their own two feet, even though they have their Dad, family and community support and I am determined to make sure they have me too. I have learned how to fight and have become a mighty warrior but we’d be foolish not to be prepared.
The darker the shadow, the brighter the light.
It has been a terrible thing to live with this threat hanging over our heads all these years, our very own sword of Damocles https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles
However, it has also meant that we have tried to seize the day and squeeze the juice out each and every moment. Not everybody has this gift. We don’t always succeed and being the frog in the saucepan, is incredibly stressful and frequently the wheels fall off and even putting one foot after the other becomes incredibly difficult both on a physical and psychological level. Yet, somehow we seem to survive the storm and the sun comes out again…along with a rainbow!
So, you would think that living with this ongoing uncertainty and its implications for the family would have killed off all my other fears. I should be walking on water, instead of expecting to sink and I’d no longer be afraid of driving and where to park my car. I should be happy to see my daughter head off riding her bike and gaining confidence and independence instead of worrying about her falling off (she had another stack yesterday and I had to pick up the girl with two grazed knees and the bike in the car.). I should just wave my son off when he starts high school next year, instead of running through my A-Z of worries yet again BUT…
I ‘m still human.
That said, all this thinking about fear has highlighted quite a few patterns of avoidance and I might just make a list and start knocking a few things off.
Have a go!
If you’re game, please share your greatest fear and a link to any posts.