From fear to grief

Terrible to live in fear, isn’t it?

—Leon, Blade Runner

I realized today that I’m not afraid any more. For years I have lived in a more-or-less constant state of anxiety, uncertainty, and fear regarding my son’s activities and future. If he was in our house, I walked on eggshells for fear of saying or doing something that would upset him. If he was anywhere else, I waited for the message or phone call that would alert us to Something Dreadful. As Doug knows all too well, I cried countless tears and engaged him in regular, anxious conversations regarding What Was Going to Happen.

Now I know less than ever what’s going to happen in my son’s future — but I no longer fear the uncertainty. It just … doesn’t register any more. Unfastening the maternal silver cord that linked me to him (in what I always thought was an inexorable fashion) replaced fear with grief. And grief doesn’t allow for uncertainty. The Bad Things aren’t an unknown quantity to worry about; no, the Bad Things have already happened.

The frantic roller coaster of anxiety in my brain has been replaced by what I visualize as a thick black haze, obscuring all things to do with Will. I am left to grieve what was and what could have been. I can’t fear or be uncertain about a future that I no longer believe in.


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