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  • Kay Fletcher

Fear 04/04/2014

We had a family day out, my idea, nothing grand just a play area and a picnic. At the end of a couple of hours we got back in the car all feeling upset, albeit for different reasons. We had played a game of hide and seek clearly telling our son which areas were off limits for hiding in, mainly the nearby wooded land with a river running through it. After a few games it was our turn to look for him and we couldn’t find him. The quiet that descended on us was absolute and terrifying as we quickly checked the hiding places again, each of us only communicating with our eyes and a shake of our head as we drew a blank. Then we shouted – we shouted his name while running towards the trees. Thankfully he answered straightaway and came stumbling from his den. Of course I told him off, but I did so calmly explaining why we were so concerned and why it must never happen again. We carried on with our game telling him we trusted him to have learnt from the experience. All went well and then we decided to go for a walk. I found a smooth, almost polished stone and as he loves to collect stones and sticks, offered it to him. With a number of woody off-cuts in his hands he held it as we sauntered along the path, until he stumbled and after rearranging his collection and walking on he discovered his stone was missing. We looked everywhere for it, backtracked and scythed undergrowth. It was lost and our son was inconsolable. My husband was now exasperated that a dropped stone could cause so much high-volume misery. I felt we all needed to go home, our son was tired, a sleep in the car for him would not be a bad idea. So as I said at the start, all of us in the car, all of us upset. But I didn’t realise how upset I was. At home I couldn’t settle. I felt on edge and out of sorts. I wanted to scream out, get out, everything felt closed in. I felt trapped. I felt angry. I felt like crying. I then argued with my husband and I did so in front of our son. What was going on? It is only after much inner debate that I can acknowledge that my fear was the trigger; my tightly held fears for our son. I didn’t like feeling scared, and I didn’t like my fear being my reality. While dealing with my fears rationally and calmly at the time I later needed to let go of my emotions, give in to them and feel my fear. Instead of admitting this I picked an argument so I could justify the venting of my fear, blaming something and someone else for the emotional outpouring that swept all before it. For me, based on our family day out, I realise I can and do live with the fear; it is the fear being proven a reality that will always undo me.

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