Owning up to Fear

July 24, 2008 · Filed Under Military Parents 

cross posted from Spouse Buzz

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Fear is the dark place we go when we contemplate the worst. Fear is Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole. Milspouses and milparents tumble down that hole more often than they will admit when there’s a combat deployment involved.

In my life, I have feared many things.

I will honestly crawl up on a table if there’s a spider on the floor. I am terrified of spiders. They have too many legs and they’re just creepy. I can’t step on them but I can kill them with hairspray, cleaning solution, heavy books, etc.

I fear public speaking. Nothing really helps me deal with that. I have tried to visualize the audience in their underwear. It doesn’t work. I am only more nauseated by doing so (no offense). I almost flunked freshman English because I had to give 5 speeches in one semester. I thought that was brutal.

Now, with a loved one on deployment, I have, again, real reasons to fear things.

I live at the end of a cul de sac. Whenever I am coming home from running errands, I check before turning off the main road to see if there’s an unfamiliar car waiting for me. Would I keep driving if I saw one? I don’t know.

Whenever the doorbell rings, I check to see who it is before I answer the door. Would I not answer the door if someone in uniform was standing there? In my silly little world, if I don’t open the door, the worst has not happened. I admit that that’s ridiculous. Would I really not open the door? I don’t know.

There are various scenarios that play out in my head in the early morning hours. All of them have happened to other people so they are “fairly” realistic. I don’t know what it is about 3:30 am but I have some serious conversations with myself at that time almost every morning. It’s prime time for the rabbit hole.

Fearing the loss of my son as a KIA or as a hostage run about equal for me. Thinking about the possibility of either one will grab me in the pit of my stomach and take me on a rollercoaster ride. What would I do? How would I react? Am I strong enough to deal with it? It doesn’t seem like I really would have a choice in the matter but fear and worry don’t take that into account. Remember, we’re talking about the rabbit hole.

As milfamilies, we deal with the rabbit hole. We know there’s an end to it. One way or another, be it through homecoming or something terrible, there is an end to it. It’s the dark part of deployment.

I prefer Alice’s rabbit hole.

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