Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sunday Scribbling - "Fearless"

I agonized over this prompt because some of the bravest people I know have fears. I also have seen fear rear its ugly head in anger causing pain and self destruction. Fear of differences, loss and our own mortality can make people act out or hide from the world. Just look at politics and you will find the bottom line of many choices are made out of fear. Being fearless can be looked at in two ways according to my dictionary, literally living without fear or calmly resolute in facing fear. I don't believe humans can live without fear so I'll write about what I have learned about fear on my own journey.

When I was a single, working mom I was given the "put your affairs in order" speech. As a parent how can leaving a 7 and 5 year old behind not scare the hell out of you? I was the stable parent and had a job that sustained us, I could not leave them! I went into survivor mode and had no time for self pity or anger. I became a stay at home mom that focused on preparing the girls to be independent. Growing up with the fear of me leaving them affected who they are today. Each person has a choice in how they handle fear and I can't expect my girl's to deal with fear in the same ways I do. Once they were out of the house I had time to face my fears of the disease.

I'm certainly not afraid to die but I'm terrified of suffocation, which is how this disease ends. Morphine will apparently help with that, but instead of dwelling on it I asked a dying ALS patient. He had his wife call me one week before his death just to tell me that dying of suffocation was not as bad as we had imagined in our support group. What a gift this man gave me in such precious moments. I think facing my greatest fear head on empowered me to face the smaller fears.

My latest fear in my "happily ever after life" is that my husband will stop thinking of me as a woman when I get to the intimate needs of living with ALS. I'm doing good on my own right now but I'm researching in-home care and respite care before I need it. You can give your spouse a vacation by checking into a hospice for a short stay and he can be worry free. I will only chose a ventilator if my loved ones are not overwhelmed and we can afford it. This was a fear that needed to be discussed at length in our marriage for me to move on.

Fear can be toxic to my well being and those I love so I must keep it in check with positive action. Brave? No, I'm just happy that I'm still alive and enjoy living.


Devil Mood said...

I am haunted by irrational and stupid fears but reading your post and understanding how some of your fears are based in things that are real and practical ...and seeing the way you go on with your life...well, it makes me want to kick myself ;P
Yes, brave, you are!

GreenishLady said...

I figured "fearlessness" isn't a realistic state. We all have fears, and you are brave to my mind, in that you acknowledge your fears and face them.

Redheels said...

I would like to think that I could react in the same fashion as you have. I guess it is hard to know what one will do until a situation like yours comes.

I watched my father suffer with Alzheimer's. My mother and I did the best we could do. We were able to keep him home. I hoped somehow, someway he knew he was home and that was our gift to him. He is gone now to a better place, but I miss him.

Yes, for sure you are a brave one!

Thanks for dropping by my blog. I am new at writing.

Granny Smith said...

Thank you for writing with honesty and a real-life perspective. I admire your courage, and I wish the best for you, your husband and your daughters.

I also think you have an especially attractive blog.

Inland Empire Girl said...

I appreciate you sharing those concerns that you have thought about ahead, because there are things all of us should be having conversations about before the time comes for long term care. I agree with your ending statement about fear... it can be so toxic. Being alive and enjoying life sounds so much better.

Beatriz' suitcase contents said...

Thank you for sharing with us. You are an inspiration and I wish you well.

anthonynorth said...

An excellent and heartfelt post. As I say on my own blog, fearlessness doesn't exist.
It is what we do with our fear that empowers us.

Remiman said...

I'm sure glad I came over here today. Your perspective on fear is enabling to me in being able to look at the fears of others with more insight. All of my patients come before me with fear and I'm always looking for ways to help them deal with it.
As for me; I have more fears than you can shake a stick at. But like you I refuse to let them prevent me from living life each day. ;)
Thanks, I'm so glad I've gotten to know you!

gautami tripathy said...

I am very glad I know you. You give me great insights.

Tammy, a few times I am unable to coment on your blog. The page refuses to load up!

Becca said...

Tammy, once again you've taken me by the shoulders and given me a good shake. I needed that today :)

Thank you for always putting life in better perspective for me.

emmapeelDallas said...


You are brave, whether you realize it or not, and a true WARRIOR who inspires the rest of us.



Amber said...

This is your gift, as you well know, I think. So fearlessly sharing your life, and your experience, and your...soul. It helps people look at their own lives and reactions in the way we need to. We have been friends for a long time now, and still you so often give me this gift. ;)

oxox :)

Star said...

Along with many others commenting here, I see you as very brave. While I have my moments when I feel strong and powerful and very much in control, the moments when I feel guilt and regret for the past (and how it affects the present) and fear of the future seem to far outweigh them.

You rock, Tammy! I admire you so much and find within the words and photos you share here an inspiration that makes a valuable difference in my days.

Lucy said...

Tammy... If you aren't brave I don't know who is mamma! You empower the very meaning of the word. I am such a wuss and I fuss and complain over a broken damn nail. Thank-you, because knowing you has made me want to be a stronger woman. Your girls are so fortunate that you've been their role model. ♥


I am glad that you are still alive and enjoying life,too.

Sherry/Cherie said...

Tammy, you have expressed this so well. The fear is part of our life and when we are told the bad news the fear rears it's head. It's how we handle that -- how we choose to look at it and what we do with it that makes us "fear - less" ... you have such grace and dignity...and honesty. You are such a blessing ♥

Robin Westphal said...

Beautiful. I admire your strength and honesty. Blessings to you and your family.

daisies said...

you are so brave, brave is taking your fears and facing them and not tucking them away as though they don't exist ... thank you for sharing those fears with us, xo

rebecca said...

we can either choose to be consummed by our fears and allow them to run our lives and paralyze us or face them, their challenges and find a way to get through them like you seem to be doing. only the bravest of the brave choose and do the latter so never sell yourself short tammy.

you are an inspiration to many of us here who come to read your words and in the raw honesty in which you write. it humbles us all.

blessings and much love to you,

tumblewords said...

You are always so inspirational. Life is full of imperfections and scary things that go bump. Having been to the end of the trail and back, for some unknown reason, leaves me with not so much fear. Generally!

giggles said...

Profound honesty in this post! Fear is a complex animal, sounds like you embrace it with incredible respect and understanding! What an inspiration you are!!

Love and hugs

TJ said...

How cruel it all is when WE have to stop and consider the facts. Some of us assume we have time, some of us think we have some time and then there are those of us who live daily knowing time is "at any time". If this makes any sence to you. Love you friend,

Liza's Eyeview said...

Oh Tammy ... I just want to give you a HUG. This post is so heartfelt.