Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On Worry and Death… and LIFE

My son D has decided he will not try and get any deferments from the army. And, actually, this is understandable… after all, he is NOT studying. So sometime this winter he should be drafted. But of course, just the idea makes me worry. (While I suspect he will be used as a driver, and not as a “warrior”, any job in the armed forces carries an element of risk.)

When I teach birthing classes, sometimes I have to talk about scary subjects: cesareans, forceps, fetal distress. The pregnant women tend to look rather apprehensive at these junctures. I warn them about this in our first session:
“I’d rather have you look green here, than have you sit here calmly and later, in birth panic if an emergency arises and you have no information to draw on.” Then I continue: “You know, you already are concerned about that baby. That’s part of being a mother. And you will worry about him until the day you die. You’ll have to send him on class trips, despite your fears…because you want him to participate. You will have to let them grow, be independent…despite your anxiety. That is part of this journey that you are embarking on.”

In actuality, we lie daily to our psyche: Even though we are often apprehensive about our offspring, we assume, barring special circumstances, that we are safe. We imagine living forever. In actuality there are no assurances. There are a lot of ways to die in this world. When my kids get scared about something (like bombs on buses, will Iran throw a bomb on Israel, etc.) I always say something like this:
“We don’t know how and when we will die. We can only choose how to live.”

Of course, worry does have it’s good side: fastening seatbelts, starting a diet. But other than that, we have to redirect our thoughts, and work on living the best we can.
(Now I’ll get off my soap box.)


Anonymous said...

I'll listen to your soapbox anytime. Nice post. We just left our firstborn at college and 'though we don't fear heavy armor there are other damaging things out I really relate to your thoughts on this one. I found encouragement in your words. Barbara

FAB said...

Very nicely put. I Imagine in your shoes I would be very scared, but you're right, it can happen at moment, better we live and do it well! Great post.

Diane J Standiford said...

Well said. It really is just that simple.