I suppose I’ve always been a little bit of an anxious person, but there are a few things since becoming a widow that really amp up my anxiety. It’s not something that’s easy for me to share, because the rational, normal part of me knows it doesn’t make sense. I’m going to share it with you anyway. Usually the things that are hard to share end up being the important things you may need to hear. So, in risk of making myself sound like a nut job, I’m going to let you in on my secret.
Although I’m not afraid of dying for myself, I have great BIG fears about leaving my children parentless. I know this isn’t unique to widows and widowers, and it likely crosses every parent’s mind, whether they’re widowed, or not. My anxiety about this goes beyond the general in the back of your mind type of worry though. “Just let them be grown, Lord…let them get to a point where they have a partner to love them and care for them before you take me home!” I pray this often.
I think about it daily. I worry that I’ll get sick. I worry about getting cancer or some other terrible or terminal disease. I think about how I would care for myself if I were sick. Again, I think this is probably in the range of normal, but here’s my big confession…
I have been avoiding finding a doctor for myself. I go for my annual GYN exam and I go to counseling sometimes, but that’s it. I don’t even have a regular doctor. I know this isn’t smart. I know that avoiding healthcare doesn’t prevent illness, and yet it’s a big psychological battle for me. If I had symptoms indicating a health problem, I’d go…I would…I promise. But I haven’t found a doctor for a routine physical because I’m afraid of bad news. Like really afraid.
This is something I KNOW I need to fix. I’m smart enough to know it isn’t wise to not have a doctor or get annual physicals. And yet, fear is winning this battle so far.
Every day it’s on my to-do list to find a doctor and schedule an appointment. Also, the dentist. And every day, it doesn’t get crossed off.
I wish there was some sort of guarantee that if your kids have gone through profound sorrow and had a front row seat to suffering, that they’d be exempt from ever dealing with it again. But because I know that’s not how this life works, I have fears.
God tells us to not fear. He tells us that A LOT. So then the battle between fear and faith kicks in. I want to be faithful enough to squash fears, but I’ve been changed by life and it’s hard. God knows it’s hard though, don’t you think? I mean, why else would it be written so often in the Bible? “Fear not!” “Do not be afraid!” he tells us. Yet this is my Achilles heal. This is the soft, vulnerable spot the evil one enjoys attacking with ferocity.
I pray for my faith to be bigger! I pray for more courage. And I pray for good health, even though I often make choices that don’t support that. (Lack of exercise anyone? Poor diet? Etc., etc.). And now cue guilt over irresponsibility. What a viciously unhelpful cycle! But I take vitamins and drink RED wine, so that’s something, right?
I try not to beat myself up about my feelings, but I know I should DO SOMETHING about it. Oh, if only it were that simple! I’m trying to give myself extra grace while also moving towards responsible action.
So there it is. My ugly truth. I’d like to say I feel better admitting this to all of you, but I don’t. I still feel afraid of future health problems and orphaning my kids. And also I feel embarrassed and ashamed.
How about you? Am I alone on this crazy train or is this common among us?
It’s on my to-do list again this week. Maybe this will be the week I get it done. I may have great big fears, but I believe in a Great big God. With His help, I’ll conquer these fears. I will!