My spouse’s last deployment was to a combat zone for 10 months. Prior to his departure, I actually confronted my worst fears out loud- which is routine. I felt justified in my worrying while he was gone. Every news story that mentioned a casualty in his area brought me to my knees. When he arrived home safely I expected the worry to stop, and it did- but only briefly. After his arrival home, instead of worrying about my husband being a casualty of war I worried about other things. As one worry was resolved another took its place. There was no rest.

These are the most common occupants of my worries: I’m scared of getting sick, I’m scared of the people love getting sick, I’m scared of death, I’m scared of the people I love dying. The triggers are everywhere. For a whole week, I couldn’t open up my Facebook feed for fear of seeing a goFundme page with a tragic story affecting someone’s someone.

I sometimes avoid driving the fastest and easiest route to the commissary because there is car with a decal remembering a child lost to cancer on the corner. When I let my mind wander I sometimes envision my kids’ funerals or my own. Once I walked into Target to buy the start of 6,570 blank note cards so that I could begin writing notes to my family to last them for eighteen years because I convinced myself that I was probably going to die. I’m scared to type this.

Everything in my beating heart tells me that at least a million readers will think I’m crazy and comment that I should be in padded room somewhere. Sometimes I believe that too, but then somewhere in the darkness that is all the worry and fears, is a candle begging for fuel to become a fire to light up the whole place. I really like the thought of the potential warmth and light of that fire.

I sat down with my loved one not too long ago. The walls crumbled. I told her everything, all the worry, all the darkness- and even the fact that I knew the, “why,” but felt paralyzed in combating it. She recounted her battle…the one I watched. She told me about how trouble at work caused her to believe that she would lose her job, that her family would end up begging for food and that she even worried that she would be unable to buy soccer cleats for her little boy who found solace in the sport.

I had no idea these were her thoughts. I felt less alone.

I understood while in the middle of a panic attack she thought she could escape. I understood.

I wish I could have understood her sooner. I wish I could have given her the same peace she was now giving me for validating my heartache.

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