Dealing with Fear after Loss By Mel Tibbetts

Almost four years ago I was about to learn that my happy world was about to be ravaged by fear.  In August 2013 as I went to pick up my husband from his colonoscopy appointment with my 4 year old and 7 year old in tow, the secretary told me that she would watch my children for me in the lobby. She told me that the doctor wanted to talk to me along with my husband and that my children should not go into the room with me.   At that exact moment I knew.  I knew that our world was going to change.  I felt fear enter my body, my mind, and my soul in that room as the doctor was talking, as my husband looked at me with a tinge of confusion, as I saw the doctor’s mouth move, and as I wondered what my children were doing at that moment.  

 

I would lose my husband, my co-parent, my best friend, and my soul mate in 6 months.  I would watch him waste away from cancer.  I watched my children’s confusion grow.  I watched my husband pull away from his role as a caretaker and father because he did not feel able anymore.  I was about to see my children go through one of the worst experiences of their young lives.  I would see my children lose their male role model; a love of their lives.  I was about to see my husband’s life end and my children’s hearts tear into two.  I was about to lose him and me.    

 

While my husband was being ravished by cancer, he continued to teach me about love and bravery.  I wanted him to stay to teach me more.  I was not done being his student.  He showed very little fear in the process of dying.  I envied him.  I knew that once he left this world, fear would ravish me.  I was scared as hell, but I could not express this openly.  I had to be the strong wife, the strong caregiver, the strong mother, and the strong survivor. He died on February 23, 2014. Three days later I turned 40 years old.  

 

Fear has been my closest companion for the past 4 years.  Fear has had a strong hold over my hopes, dreams, future, and heart.  Fear turned me into an overthinking, double guessing, not good enough person.  Fear has made me believe that what I want, what I dream for in the future, and what I deserve are not attainable goals.  Fear told me that I was not worthy of more.  Fear made me believe that I do not deserve to be loved again.  Fear has hidden itself as practicality in most of my decisions since that moment almost 4 years ago.  It is practical to take care of your family first. It is practical to take what you can get.  It is practical to stay risk free. It is practical to use your brain more than your heart.  It is practical to believe that your wants and needs do not come first.  Or worse yet, that you are not important.  It is practical to want what is best for your children over what is best for yourself.

 

I am finally at a place that I am ready to decide how much fear will dictate my life.  I have armed myself with the necessary tools to control fear’s role in my world.  I have filled my heart with love once again.  Love for the future.  Love for my life.  Love for myself.  I have connected with a great group of young widows and my children have seen that they are not alone in losing a father.  With these tools in hand, I am about to take fear by the horns and take fear out of my decisions.  I am about to put myself first. I am about to discover who I am again and what I want for my future.  I am about to live a life that I know that my husband would want for me and for our children.  I am ready for love and happiness to dictate my life and my decisions once again.  I am opening my book of life to a new unknown chapter in which fear is not allowed.  I am about to let life come to me with open arms and to let the universe give me what I want.  I am ready to accept love and peace into my heart. I am ready to take a leap of faith for the first time in a long time.  And I know that with this new acceptance of love, peace, and happiness is my husband right by my side.  Holding my hand and enjoying our new life.   

 

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