Fear & Appreciation

For whatever reason, today, I have this fear that something horrible is going to happen, or that something horrible IS happening that I don’t know about. It may be all the horrible stuff going on with hurricanes and now earthquakes… the edginess that all of that upheaval in so many people’s lives. The anxiety that I had just a few weeks ago when a friend of mine was caught in the midst of hurricane Harvey. It’s all reminding me how fragile everything is… of how stability and security are really just illusions of safety.

I went over to a nearby coffee shop to sit down and to some computer work this morning, when the feeling hit. This hasn’t happened to me many times really, not in this way, but when it does, I can’t help but want to panic. Because it almost feels like a knowing. Like you know how in Star Wars, Yoda just knows when there is a disturbance in the Force? How he feels when someone dies even though he wasn’t even there to see it? Yeah, it’s the Force feeling. 

It feels like an instant fear that somehow this ordinary day is not in fact so ordinary. That something just shifted and I don’t know what. I’ve yet to have this feeling actually connect to something… so I guess I kind of think of it now like my brain short circuits or has some kind of spasm where there is this one little misfiring neuron that thinks today is disaster day. Like that synapse in my brain that was triggered in the moment I got the phone call that Drew was in an accident and already dead, sometimes has some sort of tremor of aftershock. And then, out of nowhere, I feel like today, right at this moment, something bad is happening to Mike, and I don’t know it yet.

Although I want to panic, calmly, I stay in control. I pick up my phone, and I look on the map to see that he is indeed at work - since we have that gps locater thingy turned on for widow peace-of-mind. I breathe some relief. Then he texts me, just as I am about to text him. We talk a short bit, I tell him what’s going on, and requesting that he not die today. Then following that up with a request that he not die on any day for a long long time “Just in case the universe is listening” I say. He says, as he always does, “I’ll try not to!”

It’s a regular part of life now… this sudden moment of fear of losing it all again. It happens without any warning a lot of the time, and it usually happens when a day or a week feels especially happy, calm, peaceful and ordinary. It happens on days when I am really deeply feeling my love for Mike. Not just the in-love feeling… but something deeper than that. The pure, deep, unconditional feeling of how grateful I am to be an intimate part of this other soul’s journey in life. The honor of being there beside him as he experiences his struggles and triumphs, and loving him through all of it. It’s in those moments of gratitude, that my heart starts to panic.

Because the week Drew died, I was in the same space of gratitude. In fact, I’d gone over to his apartment to check on things, as he’d left 2 weeks before for his work trip, and while I was there I went out on his balcony and watched the sunset. Sitting there alone, with him halfway across the country, not even realizing at that moment that he would be gone in a week… I cried and I thanked God, or the universe, or whoever, for this beautiful soul in my life. I cried for how grateful I was for the honor of having this person. Just a few days later… the crash happened, and he was gone.

I guess now, part of me thinks something is going to come toss a grenade into my chest the moment I find that space of pure gratitude again. So when it does come, I tend to panic.

That feeling is still there, hours later. It’s a tight feeling in my throat, and it’s making my chest feel as fragile as tissue paper… as if you could reach right inside it and rip my heart right out at any moment. I know that all I can do is breathe, and hope that as one day unfolds into the next, he is still here. I can’t stop death, or illness, or grief… all I can do is hope, and say a small prayer, that today not be that day. Remembering that if today is that day, I can do it, because I’ve done it before and I am still here. It doesn’t take away the fear, but it does help me to endure the fear, and appreciate the present.

I suppose that’s the one good thing about fear of new loss. If you can keep calm about it and use that fear wisely, it can be great at shifting your perspective to appreciating what you’ve got right now.


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  • commented 2017-09-10 10:57:16 -0700
    Sarah… thanks for your post as it made me realize that I have had the same feelings but been pushing them aside.
    I remarried a little over year ago… my husband husband is 11 years older… in excellent health….
    We are in a great happy relationship…. yet I’ve been feeling as though something could change at any moment!
    And I have to remind myself that I need to be living and appreciating THE moment… that right now Everything is ok… in fact, it is great… and I need to stay in the moment!
    I hope and pray your day of dread becomes a day of delight.