current events, life, motherhood, parenting

Those days you are immobilized by fear

Sometimes I’m torn between sitting down and absorbing the pain I see in the newspaper detailing tragedy both international like Syria, and local like the biker who was killed on his way to work a few weeks ago, or actively pushing it into the mental head space of head-shakes, and getting up and making dinner and washing sheets and going about my day.

And sometimes like today, as I clean up and listen to NPR discuss the lives lost in Aurora, Colorado and the Sikh Temple, and now, as they discuss the guilty plea by the killer in the Gabby Gifford shootings where a nine year old girl was shot, I sit down and cry because there’s only so much you can attempt to pretend that you’re any different from anyone else.

I can’t get it out of my head. People at a place of worship. Like millions are doing in Mosques everywhere this Ramadan. Where I will be on Eid-ul-Fitr in less than ten days. People watching a movie just like I watch movies. Heading to a local political campaign. The goal of terror is to make you change your way of life, to move the way fear moves you. But I can’t lie and say that I didn’t see the Batman Movie because of the shooting or that that I won’t be looking at all the exits come Eid day.

Each of those people were filled with their worries and to-do lists. Nap schedules and dinner menus. The paint job that just has to be done and the way your husband can’t get enough of Prison Break on Netflix even though its increasingly soapy plot is slowly driving you nutty. You go to the grocery store. You buy movie tickets. You go to meet your friends and pray.

And then you don’t. And suddenly none of it matters.

Having a child is a beautiful thing and it leaves you cracked with the knowledge of just how much there is to lose. News stories like this always made me sad but now they twist with a particular pain like shards of glass rubbing against my skin. All I can think of is the horror of the families left with loss. Of how no matter what things will never be okay again.

Like Susan, I fight daily the fear of my life being ripped from me. Because tragedy happens every minute of every day, some in ways that make the news, and some in ways that don’t. I represented sick children. I’ve chatted with parents pushing their children with bald heads and princess outfits to their next oncology visit. News-making violence, daily tragedy, disease– it can happen to anyone. At any time.

Death is a part of life. Most days I can co-exist with this knowledge, but some days when I look at my son who at this moment sits by his bookshelf reading aloud Goodnight  Moon, all I can think about is those kids who now don’t have a parent, or a parent who doesn’t have their child. And it terrifies me. The grief for these families is so heavy its an actual tangible feeling, that leaves me unable to breathe. No one deserves to lose a child. No young child deserves to lose a parent. And yet there’s no rhyme or reason for a beautiful ordinary life turning into a nightmare from which there is no escape.

I will take a deep breath. I will get up and make my son his lunch. And I will push these fears down deep inside. One must live, love, and smile, carrying on with the knowledge of life’s fragility. There really is no other option.

If you made it to the end of this meandering post, thanks for listening.

14 thoughts on “Those days you are immobilized by fear”

  1. I hate that we can't do ordinary things without a fear. I will forever be worried now when my husband and daughter go to the masjid without me and it's just sad that we have to worry about loved ones coming home from any place of worship. Pixie.


  2. I hate that we can't do ordinary things without a fear. I will forever be worried now when my husband and daughter go to the masjid without me and it's just sad that we have to worry about loved ones coming home from any place of worship. Pixie.


  3. Pixie, so not just me too? Sad, but true state of the world. We just have to live through the fear I guess. *hugs*

    Kate, we do have it good here compared to the rest of the world you are definitely right!


  4. Last year right after Eid at the masjid in my hometown a two year old let go of his dad's hand, ran into a main road (the dad was parked on the side of the road), and was hit by a car. He died on the spot 😦

    I'm not sure why I shared this story but I thought of it when I read your post. I suppose it is to say that (and this is the only way I can deal with the fear of death) when a person's time to die comes it will come no matter where you are, who you're with, and regardless of the cause. How long we will live was “written” when we were in our mothers' wombs, after all. All we can do is keep on living as best as we can.



  5. Last night I was at a dinner watching videos of poor kids with kidney failure in Pakistan but no access to health care….

    And I was sitting there….thinking..How useless my life is here


  6. Mystic, its awful 😦

    A, and A, thanks for your comment!

    Rasha, yes, you did leave a comment. . . . that is so bizarre, next time I log into my blogger account I'll see if I can figure out what happened, this isn't the first time that's happened.


  7. Hey Rasha, if your'e reading, your comments were going to my spam box for some strange reason. Hopefully its fixed now, thanks for letting me know!!!

    Julia, long time no see hope you are well! It is hard. . . but you have to keep on keeping on right?


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