What is this thing called fear? I refer to the gut wrenching, entail snarling, and heart thumping, fear. The very kind of fear that invades every cell, paralyzing any thought of the future.
The hollow words “you’ll need a biopsy” sucked the breath from my lungs. As I sat in the small examination room, in a standard dull blue gown, I pondered those words. Biopsy? Were those words meant for me? I watched as the second hand moved obediently around the clock. I wondered how many, had sat in this exact room to be presented with the similar news. Was it my turn now?
A week later I called Dad. We chattered casually joking about the kids, mom and the dogs. Then trying to retain the same lightness I blurted ” Dad”, “They found a lump, actually, Dad they found two.” His abrupt silence ended with a sharp intake of breath, punctuated with a nervous chuckle. ” Oh please” he whispered. These desperate words hung between us.
I am fifty years old and my father is seventy-two. Two years ago his oldest grandchild, my precious first-born daughter, was killed by an inattentive driver on a sunny November morning.
Remembering that day; Hadn’t I wanted to die also? Hadn’t I prayed for release from this world? Didn’t fear wrap its stagnated arms around me? But my gentle father was, he ready. Is any parent ever ready for the unimaginable?
A week later I called Dad. “Dad, the tests came back, negative the tumors were benign. I waited, his exaltation, as if he suspended that breath all week, was audible; punctuated by his soft chuckle. A throaty laugh bubbled up from his over flowing heart. I told him I loved him, he told me the same. I hung up the phone and wept.
So it is,this I believe, that life, and it’s counterparts, love, joy, sorrow and despair are every bit worth the struggle. Fear can destroy our sense of being and paralyze any hope in the future. But only if we allow it. So I place my fear filled heart and grief stricken soul aside, place my feet on the floor, stand up, look out the window and remember the sound of my father’s breath punctuated by a soft chuckle.