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Fear Vs. Fear

Sometimes I think I am fearful of everything. I’d like to say it is a widow trait, but I think I have been like this always. My fears never kept me from doing something, but I worried too much. What if. Then I'd say whatever and get on with it. So afraid my life I loved would change. Then it did, my husband died. The worst what if I could think of.

Now my mother has taken a spill. Tripped over her cat and is in the hospital. Injured her spleen but no surgery required as of yet. Doctor’s orders she has to stay quiet. I am heading to Florida to be with her this week. 

A normal occurrence that happens with families every day. A daughter going to look after her mother. Yet this is a huge step for me. My fear for my mother overcame my fear of leaving my house. Now that is a widow problem. 

I just haven’t been anywhere in three years. My husband’s illness kept me home for one year. It is almost two years since his death. I am as social as you can get, but have to come home to the safety of my nest at night. To sleep in my house, six dogs by my side. I am happy and at peace with that.

The first months after my husband died I could only stay out in four-hour intervals. Then a panic attack would creep up on me and I had to get home. Home to the familiar. Home to the dogs. Home where I could lie down on the couch, pull up a quilt and sleep to forget. 

Soon I could be out all day. Almost. I had a part time job to socialize more. Stay out of the house without having to be with friends. Talking and laughing with strangers, customers who came into the lovely gift shop where I worked. Six hours a day, three days a week. No panic attacks.


I no longer had to run home to hide, but found I had to call someone on my cell phone to talk on the drive home.  That drive a reminder that when I got home there was no one waiting. So talking on my cell on the short drive kept my mind from remembering the drives home when I worked full time and was greeted with a warm smile from my loving husband. 

Now it is two years later. My mother needs me. She was here just three weeks ago. She comes to visit me. I fly her here. But I don’t go there. The house I own that she lives in, the house where my husband replaced all the windows. He was always working on that house when we would visit for long weekends. I have been avoiding going back there. I have avoided going many places we used to go on a regular basis. Fear that the memory of him in a place where I am now visiting without him would be too painful. I would be hours from my nest with my dogs. Where would I hide?  

So the fear of old memories haunting me was overcome by the fear for my mother’s health.

It is an odd feeling. As soon as I heard how serious this could have been, could still be, I snapped into action. Made the plane reservations. Found my pet sitter who will do sleepovers for six nights with six dogs. Suddenly I am calm. I am back in control. I am staring all my fears in the face.  I am expecting my mother will be fine. I am there for the short term.

Tomorrow I get on the plane and travel the same path I did for years with my husband. I have my fears in priority now. It will be a good trip. I will be there for my mother. I will remember the fun she and I have had in the house, and not dwell on the fact my husband is not with us. Be grateful she is still here with me. Another fear I could be facing, but won't dwell on just yet.

However, going back to my younger days, before I became a widow, fear was ever present lurking in the background. I am the family worrier. I am fearful not for myself, but for those I love. Fearful they won't be around me. But that is life. Changes. I am working on doing better with this. Of course, tomorrow I have to kiss six dogs goodbye for six nights, and I fear I will miss them too much.


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Indeed, fear can overcome us at any given point, under any circumstances. The trick is to not let fear make us our own prisoners. I remember when my grandfather died, I couldn't play my music and I was afraid to go to sleep because he taught me how to play music and when I went to sleep I saw his face. I became terrified of both things. However, I learned that surrounding myself, bit by bit, with things that reminded me of him was okay. I wish you luck.


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Thanks for the nice comment. I took that first step heading out of the house to my mother's and as soon as I got on Marta (our transport system and the best way to get directly to the airport) I started to breathe easily and thought "what was wrong with me to have stay so housebound for two years?" I went places during the day, but the fear of not being in my comfort zone at night kept me from many things. It was a big step for me in my mind, but once my feet were moving it was amazing how easy it was. Now I am open to going places again and it feels good. Just have to keep on good terms with my dog sitter.
Can I hear your music anywhere?