Great Big Fears

January 24, 2018

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!

Extra grace,

Jodi

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17 Comments

  • Reply Earli Faith Price January 24, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Thank you for sharing! I had the same fear even before my husband passed away. He passed suddenly from a massive heart attack. The year before he passed, I remember talking to the kids about what would happen if they lost one of us and I talked to my mom about staying with us if something happened. It’s eerie to think back on it like a premonition, but I always had that fear. Afterwards, the only way I could get thru that was to make sure I had a person in place to take care of them. I talked to my mom and the kids and was open with them about it. They had the same fear. After talking about it and coming up with a plan, it helped to ease the fear. Knowing that they would be well taken care of if I too passed, made me feel more at ease. Thank you for sharing your journey! It helps more than you know!

  • Reply Antonieta Castellanos January 24, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Jodi, you are not alone. I have the same feelings about getting sick. One part of me tells me I don’t like the life that I am living, so why should I try to be healthy. On the other hand, I worry about my grown up son because if I die he will be alone in this world (he is an only child and is not marred). Let’s try to keep healthy, for the sake of everyone.

  • Reply Donna Wood January 24, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Your fears are valid, and very real, but they are not just for you but for most of us, even those with partners. Make a list of things you need to do and set out to accomplish them in a time frame comfortable with you. Maybe ask your gynecologist for a good doctor to see and set that up. Dentist I put off for years after mine retired, and finally got recommendations from people all recommending the same one, and went and was very pleased. Praying for you to be able to get through this step in your life with less anxiety than you thought.

  • Reply Jaime Jackson January 24, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    Oh sweet friend I SO get you! I too have reassured my children of “the plan” if something were to happen to me. This seems to help but we revisit it often. This scares me but not as much as something happening to one of them. Not sure that I could survive that!

    And I too have avoided doctors…all doctors! Haven’t been since I lost Bob. So I decided this is going to be the year! I believe in facing fears in moderation!! So I’m starting from my head and working my way down!! I went to the eye doctor yesterday!! There’s nothing scary about that right?? (Just that she pointed out that I’m about to be 40 and she guesses I’ll need bifocals within the next five years, insert eye roll. And also, the dilation of my pupils slowed down the next couple of hours of my day). Check that off my list! So working my way down…find a dentist for me! After that…we’ll see but it’s a start! Baby steps! Join me if you’d like!

  • Reply Jeanette Sullivan January 24, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Definitely the same fears. I pray for God not to take me anytime soon. I don’t avoid the same things,you are, but I have my fears and I’m pretty good at avoiding them. Lots of praying and I feel God will make the opportunity arise when He feels it will be best. One day it will just happened and later you’ll be like Thanks God’s, that wasnt so bad.

  • Reply Chari January 24, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    You are most DEFINITELY NOT ALONE! After my husband passed, I was afraid to drive, and was fearful in any car. My own mortality was as if it was right in front of me. Then Hurricane IRMA came and I begged God to spare us all, that my kids and I couldn’t take anymore loss. Unlike you, my husband wasn’t ill for a long time, just 9 mos. and his death was very unexpected, he was doing so well and we were planning on a trip to Boston for a final surgery and God had other plans. So yes, I FEAR that something will happen to me ALL the time. I have a cold right now and wanted to take a throat lozenge, but the packaging said that it could cause all kinds of things, so I didn’t take it, I am all alone, nobody is here if something goes south – it’s a horrible feeling that I am alone, nobody here if I have an emergency. But God is here and I pray for safety for me and our family each day, my husband used to as well and I believe He hears our prayers. I have a physical planned for next month and have HAD to go to the dentist for a cracked tooth, etc. I NEED to go just as you NEED to go to make sure that you’re okay and nip anything right away if something isn’t quite right. You can do this Jodi – I will be praying God leads you to the right doctor for you and you’ll be comfortable there.

  • Reply Sue January 24, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    My kid is my motivation (now) for getting out of bed. I am trying to be the best Mom possible given the circumstances. I press on for him as I don’t yet have more to look forward to. I have the same fears that you do. It helps me that I have commitments from people to step in. He would live with a friend. He would have help handling the fallout of dismantling the life. But it is a concern.

  • Reply Cathy January 24, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    Please find that doc, the stress you have been dealing with can and does affect your health. My A1c jumped up during my husband’s illness from the stress and unhealthy eating. We were on the road to MD Andersen in Houston and lots of time spent in waiting rooms and oncology clinics meant to many carbs, not enough fruits and veggies. Your fears are normal, look to your family and friends for referrals and help to make a plan for you and your family. Having a plan can take away loads of stress, after the plan is in place hand it all over to our Lord and Savior, May God bless you with a long and healthy life.

    • Reply Maryellen January 25, 2018 at 7:47 am

      Great advice! 👍🏼❤️

  • Reply Jayne Reed January 24, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    No you are not crazy, my husband has been gone for 8 months now and I have thought about that same thing alot, I have 2 sons, 2 grandsons and 1 grandaughter and I keep saying to myself that I need to be healthier myself to live a long life, thank you for your blogs, I read them all and they have really helped me, like you said you don’t talk to just anybody about these things, it’s nice to share it with people who are going thru the same grief, take care !!

  • Reply Danna Hope January 24, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    You are so not alone. I experienced this fairly quickly after my husband died unexpectedly. I literally got on an airplane 2 months after he died and had a full blown panic attack about dying in a plane crash. I began having chest pains and my Dr. ordered a stress test and I was terrified. A friend went with me and to sit in waiting room with my 10 year old daughter. Passed the test so yippee but what will be next. Thanks for sharing once again and being real.

  • Reply Maryellen January 25, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Jodi, I will pray for you for strength & courage to find that doctor you NEED.
    I know once you take care of these things a weight will be lifted from your shoulders. You’ll feel so much better. Think of the kids & how it will be that you’re taking care of yourself for you & especially for them. Kind of like an insurance policy.
    Thinking of you making those appointments this week! Get ‘er done, girl! 😉😉👍🏼❤️❤️❤️

  • Reply Shelly oliver January 25, 2018 at 8:05 am

    I’m on month 7. I don’t fear death and still sometimes wish I had gone too. Then I look at my grand babies and how much they love me and I keep on going My biggest fear is knowing where things are. The person I would ask is gone and nobody else knows. Tax season is here and with the sale of our business I’m so freaked out and alone. Also across the country from my family. I’m in a different spot I know. I’m 56 and alone so I’m just so lonely and sad

  • Reply Lynette January 25, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed, you are doing a fantastic, courageous job!

  • Reply Karen Underdahl January 25, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Yes Jodi, you need to find a doctor! Can you get some referrals from friends! That could be helpful and then you could make that call. I have had the same doctor ever since Jesse was born, 35 years, he is retiring in March this year. I hate to start over and didn’t know where to start. I couldn’t get in with my dr. for my ankle post op checkup, so another dr. was suggested so I didn’t have any choice for that appointment so I took her. I really liked her my first and only visit so far and so next physical in December of 2018 will be my first with her. I am hoping that I made a wise choice, but you can tell once you meet someone if you will like them. Trust your gut feeling. I will be so proud of you if you can cross this one off your list! Call a good friend and see who she goes to and she will be able to advise you on that particular doctor. Or call several friends for referrals and then make a choice. Good luck, I want to hear back from you Jodi! I understand your concerns and they are very important, do this for yourself and your great kids!
    Love you, Karen

  • Reply Cindi January 27, 2018 at 8:59 am

    My biggest fear. Sometimes I think it would be easier to be done. In the last 16 months I have lost my 26 year old son, my husband (brain cancer) in July and my mom last week. We have 6 kids, 3 at home. I keep asking God for strength. I know my husband would have handled this so much better. Does it ever feel better.?I use to be so happy

  • Reply Shirley Shelbourn January 28, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Jodi this was an awesome post as all of your are and I relate so much except my kids were grown when my husband died and I actually worry about my adult children being parentless. However I really don’t want to live a long life. So I hope we can all learn to leave it up to God but it is so easy to take it back after giving it up to him.

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