aging parents, midlife, parenting

Trying So Hard Not to Be Scared

scared of things that are out of my control

I had a meltdown yesterday.

It was the release of a day’s worth of trying not to give in to anxiety and fears that had built up subconsciously.

The tipping point came when I accidentally pinched my finger in the hinge of the closet doors. It closed so hard on my skin that it caused an instant blood blister. I saw stars in that first intense moment of pain as tears rolled down my cheeks.

I sat down on the nearby toilet seat lid holding my finger tightly. At first I sat down because the pain was so excruciating that I could barely stand. I remained seated until the end of my brief, but intense, meltdown.

I realized in that moment what was upsetting me wasn’t really the pain in my finger.

It was fear.

Yep, I’m scared. Scared of things that are out of my control.

After coming home from taking my mom for her doctor’s appointment in the morning, a dear friend reached out to me to share the horrifying news that her nephew had been killed in an accident.

I instantly felt nauseous for that young man’s mother, a woman I don’t even know. I don’t have to know her to understand that her life is now forever scarred so deeply that she will never be the same again. No matter what wonderful events and joyful times she experiences in her future, it will always be accompanied by searing pain.

It is the realization that we do not have any control over so much of what happens in our lives that scares me. That although we may try endlessly, we cannot command the safety or well-being of our children or loved ones.

I’m scared when I see my young-adult children leave our driveway in a car.

I’m scared of what is to come as I witness my mother slowly leaving me in an early, but quickly progressing, stage of dementia.

I’m scared because my eighteen year old will be taking his car to college this fall.

My son tells me that I always point out the bad things that could happen.

What to be cautious of, situations to avoid, what someone might do, what to do if blank happens. I’m scared of everything that can, but I pray won’t, happen.

He says, Ma – why are you always so negative?!

BECAUSE I’M SCARED! Because bad things DO happen. Look what just happened to my friend’s nephew! Don’t you understand?! I am scared BECAUSE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.

We can try our very best and do everything possible to increase what we think are the chances for favorable outcomes.

We plan. We take precautions. We hope. And many of us pray. (I think this is surely where faith comes in.)

The fact is that many of the circumstances of life are not in our control.

Is this negativity? Is this being a realist? I don’t know what to call it.

I started this blog as a medium for connection and expression in a midlife sisterhood kind of quest for joy. To find ways to share and explore how rich this next chapter of life could be.

But today I am not looking for joy.

I’m searching to find what will comfort me on this day that fear has won. What will help me feel a little less scared of things that are out of my control.

I think my unexpected meltdown helped a little. If only because sometimes fear and tears are appropriate. Let’s face it; sometimes life is hard and painful and yes – scary.

And maybe those tears helped release a bit of the pressure that comes with trying so hard not to be scared.

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