Maybe it’s because I’ve been in proximity to many untimely deaths in my lifetime. Maybe it’s because I lost my stepfather when I was 19. Maybe it’s because I lost my mom to cancer a little over two years ago. Maybe it’s because I’ve been having my own relatively minor, yet annoyingly worrisome health issues. Maybe it’s because my brother-in-law—who is just shy of his 40th birthday—was just diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer. Maybe it’s because I’m closing in on 40 myself. Maybe it’s because I have a child with a life-threatening, chronic medical condition. Maybe it’s because I have children. Maybe it’s because I understand what it’s like to lose a parent at a young age.
Maybe it’s all these things, snowballing together, that are ushering my worry. My greatest fear is something happening to my children. My second, though, is something happening to me.
Any parent can relate to these worries. We acknowledge and plan for them: living wills, powers of attorney, life insurance, guardianship arrangements. I know how important these arrangements are, and it’s somewhat comforting that they’ve been made. Yet, they do nothing to easy my fear that something will happen to me.
I’m not a religious person at all. I don’t even believe in God, at least not in the sense that most mainstream religious doctrines portray the image, role or power. I am, however, highly spiritual, and have great faith in the vital force of the natural and supernatural worlds. So I lie awake at night, reciting gratitude to that force for having given me, my children, and others I love another day of life and health, and hoping for continued safekeeping.