I am a worrier. I worry about death, how it could be lurking around the corner, ready to grab me at any instant, even though I wouldn’t be “ready” and it wouldn’t be fair to my kids. When I am not dwelling on how I could perish on any given day, and without any warning, I feel gripped with fear about a distant point in the future when I will be old and more familiar with death as I watch the people around me die, including my husband.
Why don’t people talk about this more? Am I more scared – or more obsessed – than other people? My husband listens to me patiently, but he thinks I “need help.” I think what bothers me most is the powerlessness of it all. No matter how well I plan or analyze or live well, I can’t stop what’s going to happen. Loss of loved ones, loss of memory, loss of self, loss of everything I once had.
The only thing I fear more than my own death is the (hopefully) remote possibility that one of my children will die before me. I am such a sensitive person, so introspective, that somehow I can feel a hint of this hypothetical sadness just by imagining it. I can’t imagine how anyone could cope with such a horrifying loss.
Of course, anxiety is hard to live with. I rarely feel truly relaxed because it is in the still moments of the night when I have the time to reflect on the fleeting nature of everything.
But I think anxiety has also made me more mindful. I enjoy each day with my children, each night I lie beside my husband, because I know those moments are finite.
We won’t always be together, thanks to the permanence and inevitability of death. But we are together today, and I am going to focus on making the best life I can for my family and myself. Fear be damned!