We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.
I’m not too worried about spiders. My boss makes me nervous, but not terrified. I’ve had a few things at work make me go, “woah…ooookay, that’s weird,” but I kept going. A lot of people are afraid of cancer; I say just treat it as fast as you can and keep on plugging. Death is a pretty big deal to most people; once you’re done, you’re done.
Dust to dust, I can accept that. What worries me most? Losing my own children. They deserve long and full lives, time to grow and do what they love, to fall in love, to see the world. I do not want their time to end before mine does. They should not have to suffer through pain, see their last days in the pediatrics ward of a hospital. No drowning, no choking, no fire, crash, no bullies, no school violence, no wrong place at the wrong time… and no SIDS.
We can be vigilant, defensive, even careful. We can teach and warn and install locks. We can build fences, slow down and keep an eye out. But what do parents wish they could prevent that is completely out of their hands? SIDS. It’s called sudden for a reason. Oh, and now there’s SUID,and I’m just figuring out how that is different from SIDS. Put baby on her back, don’t use fluffy blankets, no co-sleeping. Okay, I can do that. Pacifier? I’m on board. But some parents do that and still the little one doesn’t make it. Face in a blanket? It’s tragic and terrible, but I understand how it happens. But fresh air, good temperature, good positioning, nothing to choke on? Eek!
SIDS is scary. You make it through nine months (practically ten) of taking care of yourself, avoiding miscarriage, avoiding stillbirth, hearing the first cry when that tiny, slimy, purple person pops out of you… and now your enemy is unseen. It’s like a master ninja; you can’t hear it, there is no warning, and it comes when you least expect it. Fear of SIDS can keep you up all night, even when you’ve just spent hours feeding and soothing and cajoling the precious little imp into a safe state of repose. You have to watch her breath for a few minutes, watch for the tiny movement of her chest. Did the pacifier move as she took a few tiny sucks on it to soothe herself? Is she making that tiny, soft cooing sound, the one that’s preciously nasal? Am I okay to go to sleep? I should put her in the cradle, but I don’t want her to be lonely if she… no, don’t think of it. Just keep her safe.
If getting through those first couple of years and avoiding SIDS isn’t scary enough the first time, you want to do it again. And again. And then you learn bleeding. Because bleeding means miscarriage, and miscarriage means a heart that stopped. You don’t want to learn the details of it. You just ask why, and you wish you didn’t have to. The only thing that might feel worse is still birth, but you don’t want to find out by going through one. The only dividing line between the two is a number. How many weeks along were you? After twenty, it’s considered stillbirth, and you get a certificate from the hospital. What’s worse, is that at 22 weeks or so, depending on the expertise of your hospital’s NICU, a preemie could make it. What if the stillborn had… before…
For me, those are dark thoughts. I don’t like to tread in those shadows. I want to be in the light of the lives that I have brought into this world. I want to keep their sparks burning bright. Everything I do is to keep them from snuffing out before they’ve made the world a better place. And while we all have a little bit of darkness in us, I cannot dwell on it. Dwelling on it would mean taking away from the light I should be casting on the living.
I do not fear my own death, but the death of the life that I have created. But doesn’t everyone? Still, I have to be alive to see hem through, and in that sense, yes, I will do whatever I can to preserve myself.