Fear is all there is left. Or maybe it's that the grief feels so much like fear? (C.S. Lewis)
No, it's all-out fear. How can there not be? How is there room for anything else?
I did it all right. I believed in God. I took care of myself. I followed ALL the rules. I was the good girl. I was the one who never got in trouble.
And look what happened.
But if I'm honest with myself, I have to admit that I only did the right things because I was afraid in the first place. Fear is nothing new to me. I believed in God because I was afraid of what He would do to me if I didn't. I took care of myself because I was/am afraid of illness and death. I followed the rules and never got in trouble because I was so afraid to disappoint anyone...I was afraid to get in trouble and be punished.
But those were things that made sense (if only to me). Do A and be rewarded with B. Don't do C and avoid D. It was an easy system.
But now...now the system is a mess. There are no guarantees. There is no sense of justice. There is just the waiting for the other shoe to drop...For the next bad thing to happen.
Believe in God because I'm afraid of what He'll do to me? I'm already afraid because I've seen it. Does that mean I believe more or less? Maybe I believe...but I hate. Or maybe I don't believe at all. Who knows.
Take care of myself to avoid illness and death? Ha! Good one. Something as tiny as a speck of nothing ripped it all apart in an instant...and I didn't have a fighting chance against it. What good did the vitamins and the healthy eating do? No good whatsoever...unless you want to classify delivering a "perfect" dead baby or two into the world as a good thing.
Follow the rules and don't disappoint...avoid punishment. Well, it would seem that punishment comes in all forms. And I see the questions when people look at me. "What's wrong with HER?"..."TWO dead babies...I just can't IMAGINE"..."Maybe she's learned her lesson and will just stop trying now." I followed all the rules and my body betrayed me. And now it seems the world around me loves to pass judgments and issue punishments for things they THINK they understand.
So yeah...I'm afraid. I've always been afraid. But now, the fear is palpable. It's no longer a fear that plays by set rules. It's more a fear of the facts of life...the chaos and randomness that I KNOW is out there. It's a fear that has me jumping at shadows behind the door...real or imagined. Because regardless of what anyone would have you believe, bad things can happen to ANYONE. Just because you pray...or eat the right foods...or are a nice person...none of it immunizes you from the possibility that your perfect world can be destroyed in an instant. None of it.
And I wonder...how much of my life has been pure luck up until this point. How many times have I clung to the system because it suited me and my view of the world...when it could have so easily been destroyed that much sooner? Is this what they mean by the phrase, "Growing Up?"
My husband and my friend and I were in NYC two weeks before 9/11. We rode the subway past the World Trade Center because I wanted to experience a real NYC subway ride (once was enough, thank you very much). As I stood in the Courthouse on September 11th and watched the towers fall on television, I thought how lucky we were. But NEVER did I really contemplate that it all could have ended on that day. The system would have been destroyed.
As I laid in the hospital laboring with Samuel, I remember the nurse having me lay on my left side because his heart rate appeared to be dropping with the contractions. She didn't seem particularly concerned and so I wasn't concerned (belly fat was ultimately deemed the culprit for interfering with the monitor). In THAT moment, it all could have gone wrong. We were so lucky.
Those are just two of the more dramatic moments in my life that I can remember feeling "lucky" or "relieved"...but never really conscious of what I could have lost. Now, looking back, I marvel at the coincidence that led me to a place where I could deliver two dead babies. Maybe I have already cashed in my two good instances with those and now I have to pay the proverbial piper his fee.
I don't know. And I don't care. The fear is here to stay...but it's really nothing new.