When I was younger my biggest fears were being stung by a bee and needles.
As I got older, I learned to fear being alone and loss.
I vividly remember the day my Pappy died in May of my second grade year. I remember running out into our yard and shouting at the sky as part of my process of grief and trying to understand.
Years later, I experienced that process of grief and questioning again when in a matter of 72 hours, September 11, 2001 had occurred and then Friday, the 14th, my friend Ive lost her battle with brain cancer. None of this ever made me fear dying, it just made me fear not being missed. Not having people to mourn and struggle with processing, seeking to understand where I had gone and why. It’s kind of silly, really, since I have always had amazing family and friends who I know would miss me, but I became terrified of dying alone.
This past summer I lost my PapPap and my sweet dog, Madeline Virginia.
It’s amazing the growth I have had in this area of fear in recent years. Yes, I was sad and grieved. I still haven’t changed my grandparents contact information in my phone and it was incredibly hard to visit their house this summer with William and not have PapPap there physically. But, he was there. He was there in the memories I have in that house, he was there when we were enjoying supper around the table with my aunt & uncle, he was there in the smells and pictures. He was there in my Grandma’s hug. He is also always there when my dad laughs – their faces scrunch the same way and joy radiates from them. It was hard to not be able to tell him goodbye and not say “I love you” one last time, but I was no longer afraid of dying alone.
Even though I cold not be at his side in his final days or with the rest of the family at his funeral, seeing everyone come together and share their stories, pictures and memories of this man made me see how love comes together and brings people from all over the world to honor and celebrate a life that impacted them deeply. Even if I only impact one person the way my PapPap impacted so many, I know I have no reason to fear.
What were your childhood fears? Have you overcome them?