There is sometimes a paralyzing fear that comes with a being a widowed parent. This fear can keep you up at night, have your mind racing, and cripple you in the world of what if. There is an abundance of pressure on the remaining living parent, and it can create shifts in behavior that some may find illogical or irrational.
It is my obligation as a parent to protect my child. In order to meet my obligation, I need to take care of child, my household, and myself; in effect, establishing a cocoon of safety. Suddenly, even an overnight business trip out of town creates a increased risk. So many irrational thoughts suddenly become rationalized in my over-wound brain. I have never had a fear of flying, but what if?
What if something happens to me? What will happen to my daughter? Will her life be ruined? Who will take care of her? What damage will be done? And no matter what, her life will be set on a different course.
I am driving, alone in my car, in crazy Atlanta traffic. What if I get in a wreck? What if I am hurt and can’t reach out? Who will pick up my daughter after school? How will she know what happened? or where I am? or what to do?
What if I lose my job? How do I keep a roof over our heads and support us? (BTW, this actually happened this year)
I am also suddenly an overprotective mama-bear who, if backed in a corner, will fight to the death to protect her cub. But then, if I do that, she will be alone. So how do I keep it all together? What if?
Stability is important, but never so much as when you are parenting alone, with no real safety net, no other parent in the wings, everything is riding on what you do and say. It is a daunting responsibility. It takes mustering up strength each day to push forward, to sometimes ignore the internal voice of fear, and try to think in a more logical and practical way. Just another example of the strength a widow possesses, that isn’t always realized.
(This blog entry is a little different from my normal, more confident rants, I wanted to give a glimpse of the fear and trepidation that enters my mind and contributes to my lunacy, and perhaps a better understanding of the crazed mind of a widow.)