There isn't much I'm afraid of in this world. Even in the worst of circumstances, even in the scariest of moments, even in the rock bottom of depression, fear is not a common emotion for me. I wasn't raised to be fearful. I was raised to be strong. To be positive, to be brave, and to always persevere through trials.
I look back and think of all the "big moments" in my life that would have warranted a fearful response. But in each and every one, I simply grazed through those would-be fear-filled moments with my head held high, determination in my voice, and confidence in my eyes.
Some examples of these moments that should have resulted in at least a small inkling of fear are as follows: Moving to new countries, learning a foreign language, graduation, job interviews, turbulence on an airplane, my wedding day, childbirth, meeting new people, showing up at work with my clothes on backwards, public speaking in front of 100's of people, going through a divorce, standing at the edge of the grand canyon, my son being hit by a car, my sister dying of heart failure in front of me. And these are just to name a few! Yet in all these crazy moments, I never felt fear. I can honestly say that emotion did not exist in these moments. Shock; yes. Denial; absolutely. Anger; hell yeah. But fear? Not even a sliver. Why, you ask? Well, I have been asking myself the same thing. These type of thoughts really cause me to dig deeper to find the answer.
What is fear? You can google it, look it up in a dictionary, or ask your therapist about it. Each one will have a similar answer. But that wasn't enough for me. I wanted to come up with my own. I freaking love acronyms. With dementia running in our family, sometimes the only way I can remember stuff is if I make an acronym to go with it. So here is what I came up with for fear:
F - Fully
E - Engulfed
W - With
A - Anxious
R - Realities
The W is silent. Oh and also invisible. :-) I pronounce fear the way the priest in The Princess Bride pronounced "Marriage". He said "maywaage". He put a w in the word Marriage. So I put a w in the word fear. It kinda takes the heaviness out of it and makes me smile when I say it. Try it. You can't say the word without smiling! Fewar. "Fewar is what brings us together today ... " It's silly, I know. But we all need more silliness in life. So let's think about it. Fear. Such a weighted word. Fear: Fully Engulfed with Anxious Realities. That's what happens in our mind and body when we feel fear. We become fully engulfed with anxious realities. Fear and anxiety to hand in hand. Reality is a tough pill to swallow. But naming it gives us power of it.
The only time I can think of, that I remember being truly afraid, was when I got in the wrong line for the Wonder Wheel (is that what it is called?) at Disneyland. I don't like heights. And not only was I 100ft or more dangling in the air in a tiny little glass bulb, but it also was rocking back and forth! I was not okay with this, and actually felt fear for the first time. This was back in 2012.
Maybe another instance where I actually felt fear, was when when I woke one morning and realized I was out of coffee. That was not a good feeling. I can only label that as fear. I became fully engulfed with the anxious reality of what a day without coffee would be like.
And the 3rd time in my life when I have felt fear, is when I realized that I would have to live the rest of my life without my sister Shyra. This thought scared me senseless. The reality of it shook me to the core. I don't want a life without her. I need her here. She is my sister. She's fun and kind and bubbly and beautiful. She added so much life to my life, that now when I picture a life without her, I am freaking afraid. I don't like the idea of a life without her bubbly presence. I never get to see her face, hold her hand, or hear her giggle ever again? No. I am not okay with that. This is a reality I do not want to face. A life without Shyra is no life at all. I didn't want to write how I feel because the written word carries so much weight. But I know that this is a part of my healing, so I have to go down this road. Not only for myself, but for those around me. They deserve a Harmony that is focused on healing. Not a Harmony frozen by fear. Shyra's death has broken me. I miss her every waking moment. I tear up with every thought of her. I am paralyzed most days and can't see the path forward. I am not the same person I was 5 months ago. But I know that if I face this hurdle head on, I will win. I will get through this. I will label my fear and fight through it. And if I can do it, so can you.
Yesterday, my family met for lunch down by Shyra's gravesite. The grave marker (ie tombstone), finally showed up! With all materials on back order, it took 5 months for her grave marker to be installed. But now it is here and it is beautiful. I know that she doesn't live at the cemetery. Her new zip code is in Heaven. But thankfully, Heaven's doors are always open, and she is a social butterfly. So she makes her rounds to her loved ones! I just know it! I know she is all around us. I know she's with me. She will always be with me. She watches over me still, grabbing my hand as I cross the road, whispering positive words in my ear as I kick ass at my new job, and she gives me signs each day to let me know that she is okay. I know all this. But I also know that the closest tangible thing that my family and I have left that connects us to her, is her gravesite. It was so peaceful being there yesterday. So tranquil and restorative. A great time as a family. A hard time, but still a great time.
I will post some pictures of our picnic with Shyra yesterday, but I highly recommend you find the time to stop by and say hi. Her grave marker is beautiful and sparkly, just like Shyra was!
And I also suggest you take the time to name your fears and own up to them. This is where the healing begins. I may never be the same again, but with Shyra's ever present help still, I will be better. That's what she would want. Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us. And for that, I can be grateful. I don't want a life without Shyra, but I will live a life that she will be proud of.