I once had a friend who nearly drowned with her head totally out of the water. Her sunfish capsized on Lake Michigan, scooping her under. Eyes squeezed shut, holding her breath, she fought toward the surface, but it wasn’t there. Afraid she was going the wrong way, she tried to turn, but became aware of a terrifying suffocating sound, as if someone’s air wave were totally strangled. The sound grew terrifyingly louder as she realized that her eyes were still squeezed shut. Opening them she discovered that her head was above water and that the terrifying sound was her fighting to hold her breath.
That kind of So-Overwhelming-It-Makes-You-Stupid fear runs in my family because there was a lot of young death in my parents generation, plus the Johnstown Flood. Also the Great Depression which wasn’t that life threatening but scared people so bad it might as well have been.
A friend of mine says that when she’s stuck in fear, she makes a list of all the things she’s scared of, and makes a second list of all the things she’s grateful for. So far, at the end of every day she’s done this, none of the things that terrorize her have come true. But in every one of those days, she has still been grateful for all of the things she is grateful for.
I am so very grateful for these days visiting J. at her memory facility. Yes, she has Alzheimer’s, but all of the things I fear most about that aren’t here today. This really got me thinking about denial, and how I need to try and cultivate some in this situation.
Originally posted 2016-12-07 19:00:59.