Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Fear

I often get struck by thoughts of 'what if?'. What if I die suddenly? What if I get cancer?

These thoughts grip me by my throat and sit in my chest, they make my heart race. They tell me that one day I might die and leave my children motherless.

Just like me.

That they will go through life in pain, bereft and wondering all the time what it would be like if life were different.

Before I had the children I didn't have the fear. I drank too much, I smoked. When I was a teenager I put myself in a few situations which I now look back on and think 'how stupidly dangerous'. Every so often I would have freefall episodes where I would see how far I could push it. I was rebelling, taunting death 'come and get me'.

Before I had the children I didn't have the fear, now it is ever present. Most of the time I am able to ignore it, push it away. I am, in the main, a rational person and I know that life is for living, not for worrying, but in times of stress it's there and it won't go away.

The fear is that one day I will not be here for them, to kiss their heads goodnight and tell them I love them, and I never want them to know what that feels like.


  1. I have those thoughts at night. I lie and wonder how I would ever cope if something happened to my hubby. I imagine a whole life through with that scenario include my poor little girl and how she would cope.
    I have always done this. I call it "situation thinking" - some might call it daydreaming.
    It allows me to cover all scenarios so that I don't need to think on my feet quite so much. I believe it helps me cope with whatever comes along.
    It is sad when I lie in bed crying because my husband has died in a stupid scenario I have built in my head though!

  2. I have these feelings too, it can eat away at you until you start to worry about death in an obsessive way; but we only have one chance at life, which means we only have one chance to be with our children. That's called making the most of it. You're a lovely mum, and a very caring person.

    CJ xx

  3. Oh my yes, I too know "The Fear", I lost my father but never ever felt the way I do until I had children. I used to love the adrenaline surge that accompanied something dangerous. I used to go on roller coasters, now I cant even manage the waltzers!!

    I think it is a maternal instinct that is in built in us.

    I watched sports something on BBC1 last night on downhill skiers and it mentioned that they are fearless, they just control their fear and get on with it, that it is physiological and that the rush is greater than the fear. They never asked woman skiers, just the men. I would be intrigued to see how many great downhill women's skiers are mothers.

  4. You have tears welling up in my eyes. Beautiful and heartbreaking. A fear that most mothers can relate to but so few have ever been on the other side of.

  5. ((Hugs))

    I have the fear too. It is constant.


  6. I feel your pain, and your words resonate with me. Of late, I have started to attempt to focus on the positives of what I would leave my son with. There are so many people around that love him, and cherish his very being, that his life would still be very rich, albeit draped with sorrow. I hope you are in a similar situation.

  7. I have the fear too. It is awful, I can't stand to think about what the outcome would be. I always want to be there for my children forver. I lost my dad when I was 25, it was hard enough and I miss him like crazy. But at least I was old enough to have my own life.

  8. Oh, Laura. This post encapsulates the fear in a nutshell. I am racked by the fear and so tired of it. I feel like it walks next me all the time and living with it is so exhausting. And then I feel stupid for worrying about something that might not happen...

    I can hear O in the bath now, playing and laughing and my heart is clenching.

    Thanks so much for writing this blog. It really helps me to see this situation from your eyes. Love you. M xxx

  9. I sat one night with a very dear friend of mine, about a week before she died (she left two lovely kids of whom I'm stupidly fond, as you know). I remember very clearly her saying 'I'm not scared of dying - I'm not even worried about it. I'm just scared of what I'm leaving behind'. And I understood - I always thought the worst job in the world for her must have been putting together their 'memory boxes'.

    I'm not sure the fear is such a bad thing - it helps us focus on what we hold dear and enjoy every moment.

    Love you! xx

  10. Hi Laura,
    Amazing how many of us have this fear.
    The thoughts invade my daily routine whenever they feel like it.
    A beautifully written post.
    x jo

  11. I share your fear too - you're not alone. Sending you lots of love, Kitty

  12. Hi Girlfriend. I think about that too. I just turned 50 in November (gulp!) and the twins will be 8 in March - you do the math. It makes me cry if I let it but I just have to make it count and not let it paralyze me. And I pray to the universe 'keep them safe.' xoxox

  13. Hi Laura,
    I often have that fear....what if?
    I have to just believe that 'things' will be ok.
    As an older parent, 41 to a 6 year old, I do worry about the future. I'm starting over and I'm feeling the heavy weight of responsibility. It's making me feel slightly panicky.
    But as a single mum, I know that I just have to keep going.
    You're strong, don't let the "what if?" weigh you down.
    xx jo

  14. I can only read this beautiful blog in tiny chunks or it hurts too much. I have a dad shaped hole, and my husband had cancer. So it's all a bit close to home, and yet it's so beautifully written I want to read it. So much love. xxx

  15. I suppose that's what we sign up to on becoming parents. We open ourselves up to the extremes of what life can throw at us, from joy to despair. I have a dad-shaped hole (I was 14) and my mum lost her mum at the age of 10. On bleak days I wonder if it's a family curse/pattern. But mostly I try not to think about it. Brave of you to share this. XX

  16. My son is 6, and in July he lost his stepfather, a man who had brought him up since he was 2. He and I are coping, slowly, and I never want him to be bitter and angry and all those things so long into his future, although I know I can't stop it if that's how he feels. We hug a lot, he gets angry sometimes, I let him let it out, and we talk about Rich a lot. He has his memory box and his photos and his clothes. He has a dad shaped hole in his life, for a man who wasn't his father but who loved him, chastised him, raised him, praised him and made him the man he wants to be.

    I worry about something happening to me, but Rich's death has taught me that I'm not in charge of if or how I go, but I can change what I leave behind. *hug*

  17. I do that situation thinking thing too, I thought it was just me, aren't we silly thinking that we are the only ones doing or feeling something when there's six billion other people out there.

    Laura I hope there's some comfort in knowing that other people have these fears too.

  18. OMG! It's so nice to hear I'm not the only one. It is probably the one part of being a parent nobody warned me about. The only thing that has helped me through is NLP. Visualizing all of us healthy, happy and together all the time makes a HUGE difference.