Head Wound

I keep having this dream that something bad happens to Gabe’s head. His soft spot is my biggest fear about him, it is like a chink in his armor, his Achilles heal. I have dreams about head wounds, about brain damage, about something that would hurt who he is forever and ever and ever; something I couldn’t fix. My bad dreams now are always the same thing. Over and over and over again.

Sometimes Gabe’s soft spot is more pronounced. Sometimes it pulses. Sometimes it looks like a startling indent on the top of his head. I am always aware of it.

A few weeks ago at work some of my coworkers were talking about our biggest fears. One lady said her biggest fear was to be skinned alive. Skinned alive? Yes, she said. Like an apple… just imagine it. I have to say, that – I’m not too concerned with.

My biggest fear, my biggest one of all, bigger than all the rest, is that we get to a point where we have hurt the planet beyond beyond beyond repair. Not just that. That we have hurt the planet and have to suffer the consequences end-of-the-world-style and I have Gabe. It’s not just me, but now my children. And not only do I have to protect them, I have to know that the world they will inherit will be broken and terrible and poisonous. That is what I fear most.

Sometimes I feel like I carry around a big burden. I carry around the knowledge of all the bad stuff that will eventually touch Gabe. His inevitable heart break. The pain of falling down, the ache of loneliness. All the stuff he will have to go through, his failures. There will be good stuff too, but I look at him now and he smiles and laughs and throws little tantrums when I don’t give him the spoon or when the toy falls on the ground – and he is so innocent and trusting. It breaks me on the inside to know all the things I know.

What are your biggest fears? (Growing up my biggest fear used to be failing. I’m over that one… but for years and years and years into my adulthood failure was this big icy cliff looming somewhere unseen.) Have your fears changed? Do they mean anything?

16 thoughts on “Head Wound”

  1. On the extreme/irrational personal safety end, I am scared of being buried alive. AHHH! It’s so scary to think about. This, however, is not a real day-to-day kind of fear, because the scenario in which that happens is… pretty far fetched.

    I think my biggest fear now is the same as it was in childhood and it’s mostly other people’s deaths. I have a very vivid memory of being a kid at home with a babysitter and worrying that my parents would die in a car crash together and being too scared to sleep until they got home. I still feel that way about my parents, and in particular I worry that they’ll die too soon and never see me publish a book or have kids. But I am more scared, now, about something happening to Jeff. On some level I know that people can survive the deaths of loved ones, but that level of grief feels way too big if I think about it for very long. Actually it kind of makes me think of being buried alive, so take from that what you will.

    1. I thought about this some more. (It’s been a cheery morning!) And I realized that on a larger-scale (beyond personal tragedy), I am most scared of what you are, and I’m especially scared about water. At least once a week when I’m taking a shower or filling up my water bottle I’ll think about what it would be like to lose access to the abundant, clean, safe water we have now. What if water was privatized? Or contaminated on a large scale? That’s my nightmare scenario.

      1. I actually thought about the ramifications of asking everyone to share their fears. Hahaha Let’s all focus on the things that scare us!! But then maybe it makes them less scary? Maybe it is just my voyeurism…

    2. Ive always told my Husband, as long as ive known him, when i die, bury me with a bell tied to my finger like the old days, JUST incase! And then you have to visit me a lot for the first few months, JUST incase im alive and ring the bell! Haha. SO morbid, but you just never know!

  2. I have a very over-active imagination, so at any given moment I can work up some pretty catastrophic fears. In general, though, I think my biggest fear right now is something happening to my husband. I fear him dying, or being severely injured. Especially since I would be “alone” here without him.

    Since getting pregnant, the fear has evolved a bit. I still fear that something will happen to him, that he’ll die. But now the fear is extended: He’ll die and leave me alone with our child. And yet further extended: He’ll die and leave me alone with our child and I’ll have to decide whether to continue to live in Minnesota, where our child is born and we are surrounded by David’s entire family, but where I would feel so so isolated and alone without him. Or, if I should move with our child back to the East Coast, where my family is, and where I’d feel comfortable and supported.

    GAH it upsets me even just thinking about it.

    I’m sure the fear will continue to evolve once the baby is actually born.

  3. Money stuff is always high at the top of my list. I worry that a month will come up where we just won’t be able to pay the bills, and then it will spiral out of control until we lose everything we’ve worked so hard for. Hearing about the shrinking middle class and income inequality on the news just freeeeaks me out, because I have a hard time seeing a way out of it for our country.

    And, of course, ever since Byron got his motorcycle, the fear that he will die in a fiery motorcycle crash. Damn that bike 😉

    (On a world-ending related note: Jon Stewart and Richard Dawkins had an interesting convo the other night, somewhat related to this. Basically talking about science and the potential dangers of it:

  4. You know, when Mark was a baby he fell of the stroller and a few hours later his mom noticed something was off because he was sleeping for too long and he threw up. So he was brought to the hospital and it turned out he had had trauma in the epidural space and he had to be operated to take out the fluid that was accumulating there.
    You can imagine how awfully scary that must have been, he still has the scar, but luckily everything turned out well.

    My biggest fear, like Kelly above is something happening to my husband, or to any of my loved ones, but specially and more intensely, Mark. . Of course I know I would survive it, but I just don’t want to have to do it or think about it. In my ideal imaginary scenario we would just leave together without suffering…

    And yes, probably I am afraid of old-age, dementia, Alzheimer… but not when you are completely lost… rather that part where you are aware of what is happening and you have stretches where you are fine and stretches where you notice it’s not ok, you are forgetting and confusing things. It must be awful.

  5. I think about the environment too and it’s impact on my soon-to-be son and I try to justify the fact that I probably want two, if not three, kids total. I think about this while I drive my zippy little car 80 miles an hour by myself on my 60 mile commute to work. I’m not helping the problem! I keep thinking, though, that my little guy has a really great chance of being someone to help the problem. I have high hopes for him. I’m envisioning a Nobel Prize in something science-y. If not that, Literature. Do not tell mama you want a Finance degree! Poor thing, I already know what private school I want to put him in assuming we still live in this area when he goes to school.

    I have other fears about things that could happen to him or his hypothetical brothers and sisters. They spiral out of control while I lie there awake in the middle of the night after walking up from nightmares not nearly as bad as the things I make up afterwards. I thought about these things a bit when I contemplated not having any kids. But, bad things have happened to me too, and I think that when I’m dying I’m going to remember the good things.

  6. Oh, and irrationally I am afraid of being incinerated… more specifically I am afraid of feeling it, of being burnt, of the pain, even when the brain is already dead. What if the nervous system works for a while still? (I know it does not, but yeah, it scares me).

  7. I’m afraid of dedicating the next ten or twenty years of my life to my marriage only to have it all fall apart in the end. This is my real fear. This is what happened to my parents, and it terrifies me. This is why I never wanted to be married in the first place. My gut says that things will not end this way, but you never know. I fear one day waking up and realizing that my husband is a shell of the man he once was, and having to make the decision to leave him. And then having to start all over again with a broken heart and spirit, realizing that the changes were small and unnoticeable until you put all of them into perspective and realize that you’re miserable and dying inside. Honestly, I think about this from time to time, and while I know my husband is a different man than my father is, it doesn’t mean that I don’t worry that the outcome will end up the same. It simultaneously breaks my heart and terrifies me. I’ve told him about this fear, and while he listens and tries to reassure me, he can’t. It’s just the fear that I live with.

  8. My biggest fear is kind of related to yours about Gabe’s soft spot. I am afraid that I will be in an accident or get a disease that makes my body unresponsive, but leaves my mind untouched.
    Basically a clear, working brain trapped in a disabled body and thus unable to communicate.

  9. Grand scale catastrophes are an all-consuming fear of mine. That things we take for granted won’t be there, water, food, money, safety, some semblances of a society – and yes this was a fear before baby, but now it just seems so overwhelming to picture that scenario and know that you’d be responsible for protecting someone ELSE, some innocent little life. I try to shake off the environment-related ones by telling myself similar things to Melissa above, by hoping I raise our children to care and protect our planet, but I don’t know how to shake off the other ones. If I fall down the rabbit hole of thinking about it to much, it makes me not want to have any more children. Sigh.

  10. Oh, god, me too–end-of-the-world disaster stuff and…I have my son. And NOW, end-of-the-world disaster stuff and I have my son, and I know WE COULD HAVE MADE IT if we’d stayed in Oaxaca with the chickens and the garden, but because we came back to the Bay Area we starve and suffer and die.

    It kind of makes me not want to have any more children, too, sometimes.

    But what I have nightmares about right now, really, is my husband’s visa application getting stamped “denied,” and not getting The Job of My Dreams because of some stupid article I published on the internet years ago with a picture of a respectable Catholic lady from my mother-in-law’s prayer group shoving a large ceramic mescal dispenser shaped like a penis into my mouth.

    1. I kind of want you to be back with your chickens too. And I kind of want you to have an extra room just so I can come and be safe there in case we need to flee.

      I have this thought that I should invest in bees. I really don’t even like bugs or things that fly, but investing in bees will probably come in majorly handy if the population becomes nada due to mass plague or weird climate changes…

      These are the thoughts I think and then try not to admit to, lest I end up on that show “doomsday preppers.”

      Ps. Now that you are in the bay area I would LOVE to meet you!!

      1. Haha, I know. I’ve kind of been mentally calculating how long it would take to get back to Oaxaca on horseback or bicycle in the event that modern civilization collapses. If I start building a covered wagon in the backyard, feel free to call “Doomsday Preppers” on me.

        I’d love to meet you too! If you ever unearth a free hour or two, shoot me an email. 🙂

  11. Irrational: being burned alive. I read a horror comic when I was a little kid about a family who were burned alive in a house fire, and that fear has stuck with me. So THANKS, whoever let me read that.

    Rational: death. Good old garden-variety death. The single thing we can’t escape. I spend a lot of time thinking about how and when it’s going to happen. And the lead-up to it, since I’m 35, divorced, broke and childless – will I be completely alone, living in poverty? Basically I’m convinced I’ll end up one of those stories in the papers where the body isn’t discovered for weeks and is half eaten by cats.

    I’m super fun at parties!

Leave a Reply