While I was at the “Urban Schmooze”, my step-daughter Ursula flew off on the first big adventure of her life.  She’s off traveling on her own at the tender age of 18.  Although John and I are proud of her and excited for her, the trip causes some anxiety for us also.

John’s anxiety manifested in a dream he had on Saturday night.  He dreamt that we were on a large structure, like a big wooden raft with a high tower, floating down a river.  The dream was very pleasant at first but then it took a sudden turn to the terrifying.  The raft structure rounded a corner and up ahead there was a bridge.  Collision was inevitable and would be fatal.  John and I watched the tower approach knowing we were going to die.  The tower struck the bridge, John & I were knocked off and plummeted hundreds of feet toward the shallow, rocky, river bed.  The girls continued on down the river and we didn’t know what their fate would be.  The dream was very disturbing and scary for John, it woke him up (falling dreams always end with a start before we actually die).  

John’s analysis of the dream (being a good Jungian boy  – not Freudian) is that the dream represented his anxiety about Ursi off on her own in a foreign country.   He was also anxious because he was alone with the twins overnight in a city he doesn’t know all that well.  Images of having a heart attack leaving the girls alone, or of them unlocking the door and leaving while he wasn’t looking.  His last thought in the dream was what would the kids do if we die.  This is a parent’s greatest fear.  I know it haunted my sister, Madeleine, when she was dying.  

On our drive home, John was wondering with whom you should share these fears.  He wondered if sharing with your spouse was burdening them and would cause him/her unnecessary anxiety.

So are we being morbid when we think about these things or does everyone worry about it?  Do you worry about what will happen if you die before your children are independent?  How do you handle the fear?  Who do you share your fears with?

Here are three of the four we worry about.

  • Christine

    I have been having a lot of irrational anxiety lately. Mostly around my kids and something terrible happening to them.
    I have HUGE fears about something happening to Sean or I and how one of us would do this alone.
    And the biggest is if something happened to both of us and how would Cuyler manage. Nobody knows him or how to effectively interact with him like we do.
    Ahhhh…parenting. It ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  • Jen

    Sometimes I am suddenly overwhelmed by the thought, “what if something happens to me?” Or worse, “what if something happens to one of them?” Usually it is based on something totally irrational but it is still just as real and scary. I can definitely relate.

  • http://www.myfamilyisnotbroken.wordpress.com Nancy

    Erin- great to meet you on Saturday. I still think “twins in Temagami” is a good site name.
    I love my dreams and those of my children- we talk about them all the time-they lead us in creativity and often offer solutions. We never stop worrying about people we love-my 15 year old went to South Africa last year for 6 weeks and after the initial feeling that my heart was yanked out when she first left, I found myself trusting all of it. Very hard. Being insanely busy helped- and you have your gorgeous twins to help with that!

  • Sara

    Hi Erin!
    First off – so great to meet you at the Schmooze! (i included the ‘c’). I have a massive fear of something happening to me and leaving Will. I think as an only parent it’s a natural thing, since it did enter into my thought process before I had him. Also, losing my mom so quickly when she was diagnosed with cancer, I know first hand how you can have a mother physically one minute and gone the next. I so feel for what your sister must have been thinking – I know my mother worried about leaving us and we were all grown. I try to put my mind at ease knowing that if something did, he is surrounded by a ridiculous amount of people who would love and care for him…Love the picture!

  • Allyson

    Wow, yes, absolutely. I think it is part of becoming a parent. I was all of a sudden aware that I was completely responsible for the safety and happiness of this tiny individual. Obviously as they grown up they take on more responsibility and eventually become independent but I don’t think that feeling changes much and is part of the struggle as a parent. My mother died 5 months after my first was born and it threw so many of these thoughts into my mind about what if something happened to my husband or me. I think John is very courageous to analyze it and discuss it. I think not only do we have to prepare for these possibilities but also discussing them helps ease the sense of anxiety we feel. Thanks for sharing.

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