My biggest fear is the death of one of my children. Even writing such a thing upsets me. The weight of such a terrible reality would crush me beyond recognition. I cannot comprehend how I would react upon a visit from the police, or someone from the military. How do people cope? I am not talking about a small child, I have moved beyond small children, that is until grandchildren arrive that is! I am talking about adults who have been initially shaped by parents and who are out in the outside world living a life, influencing those around them and forging new relationships. How would I manage that finality?
I have come to terms with my parent’s frailty and their limited years. It is generally understood that the older you get, the closer you get to death; it is inevitable. However, you should never have to outlive your children. I have an old friend who buried his son at the age of 22; he was also a friend of mine. His mother never recovered from it. The pain was too much for her, and as for his father, he became a much quieter version of his former self. He was man of experienced military service, a gifted orator and as sharp a pin. How would I manage those emotions?
I have said before in private that anyone causing malicious harm to my children would feel the rath of vengeance from me. I can feel a monster hidden away in the back of my head that could, if provoked, do very terrible things to terrible people. That is driven by emotion and not common sense, I realise that. I debate that deep down I would never let the matter go; I fear it would consume me. However, there is a part of me that feels I would ultimately forgive that person for their actions. I would like to think I would, you know, forgive, find peace of mind, let go and focus on those around me that need my support. How would I find the strength to forgive?
I am not a religious person. Neither an atheist or agnostic; religion as a belief system does not feature in my life at all. I have been into a church many times, weddings, christenings and of course funerals. In fact, when I first left school I worked in churches doing restoration work. Lovely old buildings that have a sense of peace about them. I found the people who transit through the churches interesting too. Mainly older people, war veterans and women’s land army types who had seen carnage both home and abroad in WWII. They spoke about their experiences with me as an interested party, and invariably did not blame anyone for the loss of friends and loved ones. Their belief system held them to together during those dark times, and now in their twilight years brought them together again to keep the memories alive. I see the value in support groups, and yet organised religion and passing off terrible moments as ‘God’s will’ would only cause greater grief and anger in me. How would I support those around me my world is crashing in on me?
I initially said that the loss of a child is my biggest fear, and I would imagine that of millions of parents too. However, having laid this out in words, I do see that it is probably as result of my emotions that would scare me the most. The concept of loss is understandable, and yet the fall out is unmeasurable. The total lack of control of a situation that has now passed. A previous life changing event that is already dry ink on a report somewhere in the chain of events. I have seen it first hand. I have had to sit with two parents, in a small room, and discuss the circumstances leading up to their child’s death. The atmosphere is crushing. You want to run from the room screaming as you watch two parents start to fall apart before your very eyes. They resembled a tower block being demolished in slow motion; floor by floor the explosives of reality going off and destroying their life internally one layer at a time, but still maintaining the external strong appearance. It is only when you leave can you hear the tower collapse through a half-open window along with the cries of despair. That is my biggest fear.
On a brighter note;
I generally fear very little in life. The things that cause fear I avoid; close interaction with big carnivores in their natural habitat, very rough seas, precarious high cliff edges and horror movies. Shit, I hate horror movies. Anything pre 1970 is okay, anything after that involves graphic gore and stupid walks into dark places when you can hear a large orchestra playing eerie music close by. Roller coasters, fast cars, motorbikes, explosions, airtravel turbullance, very angry people, other peoples’ blood and general illness do not spark fear in me; but you now know what does.
I am not a parent, so I can only imagine the very real panic, chaos, and fear the death of a child would cause in one’s life.
It’s when they start to go to Ibiza and such places you have to switich off!
You mean to say that worry once you start a family never goes away? I always feel like ours are only seconds away from hurting themselves at any given time.
They grow up and do stupid things similar to the ones you probably did!
I completely understand this….. well appart from having sat with people getting that news… I imagine that is terrible to experience.
I saw what my dads death did to my gran. She said many many times you shouldn’t outlive your children and for a time she seemed to forget the fact she had a daughter.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic.
Wow. Thanks for sharing this. I am inspired to share my biggest fear; the death of my husband, my Master. It grips me sometimes, and I can’t move forward. I have, at times in the past, pushed him further away from me trying to not be held by that fear.
Maybe I should write more about it.
Chickening out already… LOL.
Very powerful post, thank you for sharing. And for bringing us down from the high ledge at the end. 🙂
It’s was a close call! You’re welcome and thanks for commenting.
You’re right, losing a child is something (almost) every parent fears. The gear can send me into a panic, as well as the fear of losing my husband.
It was pointed out that the loss of my wife was not included in my post. In all honesty, that would require a piece all of its own!
Yep…I would definitely count this as one of my greatest fears, for sure.