Fear is a crazy thing.
It drives us to take great chances,
motivates us to do thing we once thought to be impossible,
and pushes us to our limits.
I like to think that I am braver than most.
In my thirty-two (almost thirty-three *sigh*) years,
I have been through more than my fair share, if there even is such a thing.
Let's just say I didn't have a 'walk in the park childhood and leave it at that.
In fact, if you asked me to describe myself in three words, 'brave' would make the list.
I'm not scared to try new things.
I'm not scared to make a total fool of myself.
I'm not scared to be brutally honest.
I'm not scared to say no or afraid to walk away when it's the best option.
I don't fear 'change' the way most people do.
I'm not afraid to be different or to hear what people really think about me.
I'm not scared to quit my job, give up my chosen career, and walk off into the 'who knows what's coming next' sunset.
I'm not afraid of disappointment; I'm not scared to fail.
But I'm afraid of death.
I'm not afraid for myself but for the loss of those I love most.
I've seen death, faced it head on, and had it make itself way too comfortable in my humble abode.
I lost one of my all-time favorite people at nineteen, a dear friend at twenty-four, my beloved grandfather at twenty-five, and my father at thirty.
And I wish I could say I'd handled these loses well.
I wish I could say I'd never doubted or questioned God's plan.
I wish I could say it hadn't taken rocked my world and taken a major toll on my marriage.
I wish I could tell you that it hadn't caused me to have such intense nightmares
that I almost dreaded falling asleep.
But I can't.
The truth is, death and I don't play well together; fear and I are so not friends.
And yet here I sit, facing what has been one of my biggest fears for as long as I can remember:
I am losing my grandmother.
I have no reason to believe it will be today or even this month.
In fact, she could live for several more years.
But we recently heard the news no family ever wants to hear, the dreaded D word that bring tears to my eyes and a softball sized knot to my throat.
My grandmother, my PERSON, has dementia.
The woman I've loved for all these years is, in a sense, dying and becoming someone new.
And while I love this new version of her fiercely, I already find myself aching in her absence.
It's coming; it will happen soon.
I will go to visit her, my girls will bound through her door, leap on her bed, and I'll see it.
The one that say, "Who are you? I don't know you."
I don't want death to win.
I don't want fear to sink its nasty teeth into me this time.
My grandmother has lived a full life. She has loved and been loved. She knows Jesus and was fearfully and wonderfully made by Him. I should find peace and comfort in these things. I should look with joy towards the idea of her going 'home'.
And I do.....sometimes.
But other times, I just hurt.
I already miss her, the real her, the her she used to be, so much that it takes my breath away.
And yet she's still here, at least in the physical sense.
I suppose the bottom line is, I am painfully selfish and painfully afraid.
I want her to see my children grow.
I want to share more of my life with her.
I want her wisdom and encouragement.
I want Hollyn to remember her as she was.
I'm afraid to face the day when she doesn't know me....so much that just the thought of it is enough to paralyze me.
For so long, she was the person who knew me and understood me better than anyone else.
I didn't have to justify myself or give detailed explanations; she just knew.
And now she doesn't.
This is uncharted territory.
How does one go on living day-to-day when her person has forgotten her?
This will mean finding a new normal, except I simply don't want to.
And by 'simply don't want to', what I really mean is, I'm scared.
And while I realize that merely writing it and sharing it with you isn't going to make it stop, make it hurt less, or make it disappear, it does help.
Fear, although it comes in many forms, is universal.
We all fear something.
And there is strength in numbers.