No matter who you are or what you’ve been through, It’s one thing that we have all experienced, can never escape, and can eat us alive.
But let’s talk about fear and the bereft mama: You. Me. Her.
Fear not only lives in you constantly, it can eat at you and entangle bitterness, resentment, anger. It can give them root in your broken heart. You fear the unknown. And everything is unknown. Life is contantly changing. And here you are, just trying to survive after losing your child, trying to figure out who you are and what this thing called life really is. Trying to simply survive… and everyone and everything is flying by at hyper speed and ‘the plan’ changes and you just can’t seem to catch up…ever.
And you find yourself filled with fear. Some will see it. Some won’t even recognize it until it shows its ugly teeth through anger or rage or bitterness or jealousy. They come out of nowhere, like a hungry lion… And kill progress in grace, love, forgiveness, peace.
And then, even if you deal with fear within the you…there’s fear that others seem to have of you. I never anticipated people being afraid of me… Ever. But here I am. Here I stand in the hardest of the hard, and people are afraid to hug me. People are afraid to send a message saying they were thinking of me, praying for me. People are afraid to even include my dearly loved child on Christmas cards or in holiday traditions. People only ask how I have been and expect me to say “good”. Honestly, that is the answer they get many times because the fight to tell them how things actually are…well, it’s just too much. It hurts too bad.
But their fear of my child, of me… Is baffling. Why are we, as a culture, so afraid to admit words like these: “I can’t understand what your going through right now, but I’d like to try.” Or “I was thinking of your son Philip this week, I know it has been — months since you lost him and I just wanted you to know we are still thinking of and praying for you”. Is it so hard to send a card asking me how I’m doing? Or encouraging me? Or sending something that will remind me of him?
Why do people think I forgot?
He’s my child for heavens sake! How could I ever forget?
Why isn’t it socially OK for him to be included as part of our family? It is to me. Shouldn’t I determine that- not our culture?
Why isn’t it socially OK for me to have trouble being around pregnant people or babies or parties with small talk? Why isn’t it OK for me to talk about him as my son? Why doesn’t anyone ask…Especially when they ask about all my other children…But they skip him?
One answer- fear.
They fear a response from me of anything less than “good” or “OK”. They fear the unknown. They fear the social complications of taking a step of faith away from fear and reaching out.
I fear the rolled eyes or sighs that come from asking people to remember him. I fear the odd looks, the potential for criticism. I fear someone hurting me more than I already am hurting.
Fear can cause us to fail at reaching out and helping others.
We all have reasons; Reasons we fear.
But are they valid, really, truly valid?
Maybe we need to set aside fear and focus on relationships. Focus on growth in an area we are unfamiliar with. And fight this fear we harbor.
Maybe each side must reach out in the midst of fear… And fight for goodness. Fight for these relationships. Fight because we refuse to let our fear destroy us.