All my life I’ve had overwhelming fears that surface when the right trigger is pulled. During the day – after the initial cold jolt to my system – I tend to function on a normal level. Like yesterday, even though I’d just learned of the horrors and trials to (maybe) come, I suffered through myterrifying panic attack and then took the girls to their dentist appointment. Only those with healthy gums may enter the Kingdom of God I guess. Then we crossed the street and helped my mom sort books for the library book sale. Then we ate a late lunch at KFC. The normalcy of the day – of a good, warm, sun on your face kind of afternoon, lulled me and I functioned and life as it does (at least until 12/21/2012) went on. I nearly managed to push my crushing fear of what may or may not be to the back of my mind, but as you can see by my (asides), the fear was niggling. Still, I laughed and functioned and enjoyed my family.
Then the night came and we all went to bed. I tucked in my girls, watching as Amy surrounded herself with her stuff – the same habit she’s had since she’s been mobile enough to gather and nest, watching as Amelia smiled at me from her beneath her sheet, holding her arms up for a hug – the same thing she’s done since she could, watching as Olivia did everything she could to avoid sleep until she finally collapsed having worn the day out (the same thing she’s done since – well, you get the picture). I returned to the master bedroom and tucked myself in besides Jack and watched as he slept. NOTHING keeps Jack awake at night. When the man is tired he sleeps. It doesn’t matter if you’re fighting or in the middle of something that might *wink wink* lead to something else, or if his wife has just given birth for the first time, or if his job is being threatened by take overs. The man will sleep.
As I watched him I got all nostalgic and gooey inside because our life together is pretty damn terrific. Then I got angry because in my head something was threatening to take away everything that I hold sacred. Then I felt that stinging fear that starts in my feet and rides over my skin until the very core of me is cold and shaken. It had been there all day and it chose my most vulnerable moment to rear its ugly head.
I lay there awhile, waffling. Do I wake him up and tell him that his wife is chemically imbalanced and will soon be taking his children off to live in a cave to ride out The End of Days? Or do I let the poor man sleep because he’s been up since 5:00 a.m., dealt with my panic attack via the phone, came home early, then went to my parents house with me and watched our kids while my mother discussed moving and I stared at her with big teary eyes and couldn’t help but think “it won’t matter where you are in 4 years anyway.” Obviously I woke him up.
He could have responded to my rude poke with a harrumph, a toss and turn, and a biting, “stop being crazy and let me sleep, woman!” He’s been known to do that. But last night my wonderful husband woke up and even though he had to get up in a mere 5 hours he asked me what I was thinking and let me dispel the crazy. It went something like this:
I know it’s not normal and I will be calling my doctor tomorrow, but right now all I can think about it earthquakes and volcanoes and floods and social chaos and people breaking into our home to steal our last jar of peanut butter and not being able to protect the girls and you getting shot because you’re the protector and they always shoot the husband and then probably me and then they’ll steal our girls and use them as slaves or prostitutes. And then I think maybe it’ll be that we all go to your parents’ place and camp there with your swimsuit model sister and her family and my parents and your fun lesbian sister and then your dad will lose his shit and think there’s no hope and shoot us. And then I get really disappointed in God for all the suffering in the world and I’m afraid that maybe I don’t believe that there even is a God because how could someone all loving let his creation suffer like it’s going to suffer? And I really want there to be a God because if there’s not and there aren’t pearly gates and unending love and happiness, then what the hell is all this for? And what if there’s a God and he hears me doubting him and I screw up the afterlife for all of us because we don’t go to church and our kids have no idea what the difference between being a Christian and being a Catholic is? I mean I look at those beautiful creatures and their innocence and those big eyes and I think there can’t be a God if he would destroy something as precious and perfect as them, right? I REALLY want there to be a God. I close my eyes and all I can see is suffering and I get these images of the girls looking at us and they’re so afraid and so hurt and we can’t do anything to protect them. Plus? My mom isn’t as spry as she used to be and I noticed tonight that her eyes aren’t as white as they used to me and I’m pretty sure that she’s going to die before my dad and I’m not ready to not have her. I need my mom and ….
on and on it went. Rest assured there was a lot of hiccuping talk, incomprehensible babbling, and a few snot bombs. Jack listened and this time he didn’t make crappy jokes about “maybe the other side of the black hole is a world of bacon and marshmallows. What could be wrong in a world of bacon and marshmallows?” “Unless we’re the bacon,” I had dourly reminded him earlier in the day. This time when it was his turn to talk he gave me what I needed. As his voice quietly rumbled through our darkened bedroom (It could happen. We’ll stay together. We’ll have a plan. We’ll do our best. There might not be a God, but there is something. We’re not just random. I love that you love us so much…) and the weight of his arm over my waist grounded me I eventually relaxed enough and felt centered enough that I slept. I could have all the breakdowns I wanted, HE would be strong enough for us both. Three hours later his alarm went off. And then the snooze went off about seventy bajillion more times, but my exhausted husband (’cause really, with all these phobias? I do wear a person out.) did drag himself out of bed. He smacked my behind when I grumbled, got himself ready for work, and then went off to do what he does best; live his life and take care of his family.
I could probably take a lesson from him.