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Statute of Limitations on Worry

Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Last week, Karla was asking if the worry every goes away: if there's every a point, after the death of a child, when your system resets to normal and you get the gift of naivety back again.

If there is, I'm not quite there yet. It's been over ten years since my daughter was stillborn, and still -- when something scary and unexpected happens -- I instantly default to worst-case scenario mode. I think it's largely a matter of self-protection. Prepare for the worst and anything else is a bonus. But it's amazing how familiar the grooves of worry and panic feel as I step back into them. It's like I've never been away.

Last night, one of my teens went AWOL for a couple of hours. Didn't call; didn't leave a note. It got later and later and -- as I lay in bed rehearsing alternate scenarios (I'll hear a key in the door any minute now; I'll never see my child again) I remembered a time years earlier when I was waiting for the radiologist to confirm what I already knew from the ultrasound technician's eyes. There was something desperately wrong with my baby.

This time my worry was misplaced. I heard the key in the door and then the creak of my teen's bedroom door. I debated going downstairs at that point and saying everything that could be said about not calling and not leaving notes, but I realized my emotions were too raw. That conversation needs to be had -- again -- but not when I'm as much in the past as the present. So I closed my eyes and drifted off into a relieved but wary sleep -- the watchful sleep of mothers.

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| posted by Ann D @ 10:27 AM