Saying No to Fear

MaryAlice’s post inspired me to write a response.  And let me start by saying that I really respect her honesty.  I, too, have struggled greatly after Newtown.  It has caused me to think, and to rethink, about many things.  The toy guns in my house have been in my thoughts, but, more importantly, the reality of my own fear has been very unsettling.

My serious battle with fear began over 10 years ago.  The death of my daughter Therese really changed me as a person.  After she died, I saw danger everywhere, and I grasped desperately to try and protect my heart from ever suffering like that again.  In the weeks and months after her death, I dreamed of burning buildings with loved ones trapped inside.  I woke in a cold sweat on many nights.  These temporary and very intense periods of anxiety and fear waned, but the fear of having my children die never really went away.  It is always there, deep in my mind, and an event like Newtown just brings it back to the surface.

When such terrible violence and evil strikes, it is very hard to process.  In the days following the massacre, gun play in my home bothered me. I was unable to watch the news, and, most dramatically, I was unable to send my son Gus to school.  I had him stay home for a few days, because my heart just couldn’t handle any place resembling Sandy Hook Elementary.  I could not deal with those fears immediately.  I needed time.

But then I went to confession, and I talked to my pastor about all these struggles.  My lack of trust and anxiety is a general theme of my confessions.   It was suddenly more intense after Newtown, but it was not new.  I told him that I am just a different person since Therese died.   And while in some ways I am better, this is one area in which I feel much worse.  As my husband likes to quote Joni Mitchell, “Something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day.”

My Pastor reminded me of a very entertaining story about his own mother.  When he was a young boy, his family went to the beach in the summer.  One year, his mother heard about a boy that drowned in the ocean, and she didn’t want the family to go to the beach anymore.  After his father intervened, she said, “ok, but nobody is going in the water!” My Pastor then said to me, “Can you imagine, taking the kids to the beach and not letting them go into the water?!”  We both began to laugh.

But I am HIS mother.  When my anxiety kicks in, I become that mother who doesn’t want my kids going into the water.  I didn’t want to send my son to school after the shooting (and I didn’t for 2 days!).  I am that mom who hears about a child dying in their sleep and then can’t go to sleep myself without checking on each of my children.  The thought of burying another child makes me cower in fear.

But the answer is NOT to give in to irrational fears.  I know this, and my Pastor reminded me of it again in confession.

Instead, I must pray for peace.  Not the peace of this world, but God’s perfect peace.  I must ask for extra grace.  Grace to trust and not to be afraid.  Grace to know that this world, this life, is not my ultimate home, nor the home of my children.  Grace to not hold on too tightly.  Grace to be brave, and to teach my children how to be brave as well.   “Perfect love drives out all fear.”

It takes God’s supernatural grace to know that Therese is home.  She is where I want all of us to be one day.  My motherly heart sometimes looses this perspective.  I try to hold on too tightly.  I think I can control too much.

Being brave is really about choosing to love when it is scary or hard.  It is choosing love over fear.  It is using your will to fight for God.  It is thinking of eternity and not our present earthly life.

I have talked to my sons (and daughters) about this, and spoken to them about how they should use their weapons to fight for God.  Today they pretend to slay demons with their swords, their guns, and even their lightsabers.  Today, they pretend to rescue women and children (after they have created the car accident or dropped a “bomb” on them!).  At nightly prayers, they ask me whether St. Michael has a big sword, or perhaps a gun.  Right now they fight with their toys and their muscles, someday I pray they will fight with their will and their faith.

Banning toy guns as a response to Newtown concerns me when it is a response motivated by fear.  Fear should not dictate our lives, and we should not teach our children, especially our boys, to live scared.  Perhaps we need to take some time to process our emotions, but we should strive to work through our anxieties and only make changes that are proportionate to the real threat.

I should emphasize here that I have not spoken to Mary Alice about this specific topic, so I don’t know exactly what is motivating her decision to ban toy guns.  I only suspect fear is at play because, to me, believing that Nerf guns will lead a boy to violence is a stretch.  And with time, and perspective, little boys playing with toy guns should be no more upsetting to us than a little girl pretending that her doll is sick or dying.

As a mother, I often want to retreat from the world.  I can’t listen to the news and hear of death and killing and wars.  My heart is too soft.  But I can’t really hide from any of these things.  And I certainly cannot hide from the most basic truth – we are all fighting a great spiritual battle, and we are called to fight it every day.

I must fight and give my children the tools to do the same.  I may never be called to stand in front of a real gun, or save the life of someone in a burning building.  But that doesn’t give me permission to forget the battle.  The devil’s main weapon against me is fear.  And my fear is greatest when I forget the spiritual battle and focus on the things of this life.   And so today I am choosing to fight, and I will wisely begin on my knees.

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com Katrina

    Thanks, Kellie, for this beautiful post – you and Mary Alice have started a great discussion that we can all benefit from! My husband and I have often repeated to ourselves the phrase, “Do not make decisions out of fear.” It changes our perspective and allows us to live out God’s plan for our family.

  • Jaime

    This is an amazing post. Thanks Kell’.

  • JMB

    My new favorite radio talk show (after my love Larry Kudlow:) is Dennis Prager. Today on the Power Hour the entire hour was spent on worry and how bad it is for you, your marriage, family, relationships and life in general. Basically, he says the same thing: excessive worry is a lack of trust in God. But we all struggle with worry, maybe not to the degree that you do here, but it’s so constant that it even ends up in the Canon at Mass and the Lord’s Prayer. Praying for you all!
    Toy guns or not, someday you will look back fondly on these days…the end sooner than you realize.

  • http://johnmallon.net John Mallon

    Kelly, what you describe here is nothing short of a full blown case of PTSD: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. If you to look at a textbook on it you would find exactly what you wrote here. Don’t hesitate to avail yourself to help, please.
    Prayers,
    John

  • Kellie “Red”

    John, I assume since this comment is mean and unhelpful, that you do not have a counseling background? I am also assuming that my spiritual battle with fear made you uncomfortable. If you would like to give me a diagnosis and dismiss my words as those of a crazy woman, that is sad, but it is your choice. I can tell you from experience (and counseling), that my spiritual battle with fear is not “abnormal” and that admitting you are afraid is an essential step in battling the devil. I will also add that right now I am saying a prayer for you, that you will have greater empathy towards the struggles of others.

    • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com Katrina

      Kellie, I wonder if perhaps John M. was trying to be helpful…John, if you read this comment, perhaps you could let us know? I say this because I read his comment very differently than you did. I thought that he was trying to point out that perhaps your experience of losing an infant make you more susceptible to intense fear and anxiety – I have often thought the same of myself, that I probably have a bit of PTSD when it comes to these kinds of thoughts. I think that since John signed his name, and wrote “Prayers,” that he was actually being sincere and trying to be helpful. Again, I could be wrong, but I read the comment differently!

      • http://johnmallon.net John Mallon

        Katrina, I just emailed my response to Kellie. Since you were so kind as to come to the defense of my comments and intentions, I would like to share it with you if I may. If you don’t want to post your email you can respond to me directly at johnmallon@mac.com. Her subsequent remarks have persisted in misjudging me and my motives. I would at least like to share my response with you as for some reason, it will not post to this Blog. Please also visit my website which contains an archive of my 30 years of writing and publishing on the Catholic Faith.

        Sincerely yours,
        In Christ,
        With Gratitude,
        John Mallon

  • http://johnmallon.net John Mallon

    Thank you, Katrina, you are exactly right. I have written a response explaining before I saw your remarks, but It seems to be taking its time posting. Thank you for understanding. Hurting Kellie was the exact opposite of what I intended, and if I have added to her pain I am very sorry, and feel terrible about it. I was actually very touched by her original post and liked it very much. Hopefully my post will appear soon. THANK YOU, again, Katrina. I appreciate it.
    In Christ,
    John

    • Kellie “Red”

      John, your post that is not appearing is not in our queue, so if you will have to repost it.

      You don’t know this, but a number of women wrote to me today, all have lost children, and every single one of them thanked me for posting this and said they did not want to post publicly on the blog because they feared others would think they were “crazy, depressed, or had PTSD.” There is no way for you to know whether I have PTSD, and you claimed that I had a “textbook” case. You also asked me get help, “please.” If your words were well intentioned, I apologize for my accusations of malintent. But please don’t go around telling someone they have a textbook case of something when you have never met them, and you don’t have a background in counseling. If you were truly concerned, you could have voiced that in a nice way, and said that I *might* have PTSD, that you were concerned I was suffering more than normal, etc.

      • http://johnmallon.net John Mallon

        I didn’t think it was NOT voiced in a nice way. I’m very sorry if it didn’t come across as such. I am a theologian, spiritual writer, and also have a background in counseling—on both sides—providing it professionally as well as receiving it. Having PTSD, as I do, and for which I am receiving treatment, does NOT mean you are crazy. In fact, PTSD is often described as a NORMAL response to ABNORMAL EVENTS. In other words, PTSD is an indication of sanity. I was stunned that you took offense. I will attempt to repost my original response to you. There is nothing wrong with being “jumpy” or sensitive around your children after a tragedy like Newtown. I was shocked and hurt by your response. I only meant to be supportive.
        Thank you,
        John

        • http://shastasuesses.blogspot.com Harmony

          Just wanted to say, John, that I thought your comment came across as very kind and intending to be helpful. I wonder if Kellie’s reaction would have been different if you had included “a normal response to abnormal events” as a descriptor of PTSD in your initial comment. It sounds like she heard “you have a textbook case of crazy”. But perhaps some of her response is related to not wanting a label for her very personal and individual experience of loss and grief, the like of which I myself know nothing of. Kellie, you are obviously not crazy! And I also really appreciated your post.

        • maryalice

          I was careful not to bring up PTSD in my original post because my experience is so minor compared with the soldiers and others who have been really traumatized by guns, but I was actually thinking of that type of strong emotional response when my child’s toy gun made me feel an instant of panic. Surprisingly, I was actually not all that immediately upset by the events in Newtown, I felt for and prayed for the people involved, but I tend to be pretty good at putting boxes around things, I didn’t even cry. However, in the instant of that noise I was really shaken. I felt shaken again, in a slightly different way, by my experience with the toy gun shooter in the mall. In that case, it was not so much the sound of the gun that scared me as the fact of a person who was laughing at making children cry in fear.

          I think that Kellie makes a good point about trying to shield ourselves, as much as possible, from the obsessive and upsetting details, this is similar to JM’s being guardian of her thoughts. I have made a point not to follow the ongoing news stories about the Newtown families because it is just not helpful, to those families or to my family, for me to get emotionally wrung out on the individual stories. Again, I pray for the people in that community, the people who have no choice but to live through every detail of the tragedy because it is their tragedy.

          Certain things hit extra close to home — AWOL brought this up with the Petraeus scandal, and I feel that way about marital infidelity in general (stupidly, as my husband is about the most loyal person alive and I have no history of betrayal). For Kellie, a sick or threatened child is an emotional trigger, understandably, because not only did she lose her daughter, she lived for several months with the knowledge that her daughter would die at birth.

          Lastly, Kel, I’d encourage you to remember that several of your son’s classmates stayed home from school that next day. You were not alone in feeling the way you did, and you may have felt it deeper because of your past tragedy, but lots of people felt that way. I think that sometimes a past trauma makes us actually question whether our emotional response is just — is it right to be afraid here, or am I just too sensitive to fear? Lots of moms posted on facebook that they were reassured that there were cops in their kids school parking lots. There was lots of fear. So, if you’re a little crazy, so are most of us. :) The courageous thing is to keep putting one foot in front of the other and let things get back to normal, even if it takes a little time. I think that it is when one cannot do that (or one is doing it in appearance only) that one needs to seek out a diagnosis of a mental health condition and get help in the form of therapy, medication, or both.

          • Kellie “Red”

            Thank you MA.

      • http://johnmallon.net John Mallon

        In that case, Kellie, how do I write to you privately with my response, since it is not posting? Again, having depression, fear, anxiety, PTSD, etc. do not mean one is crazy, and are nothing to be ashamed of. Anyone treating a person with these conditions dismissively (i.e. “crazy”) is ignorant.
        John Mallon

      • sarah amidon

        Hello Kelli, This was a beautiful response and thoughtful insight to the shooting in Newtown. I, too lost a son who was born still. I don’t know the circumstances of your daughters death but your words struck a cord in my heart that rang true and deep. I was working in a classroom full of first graders the day of the shooting and didn’t get any details until the next day. I sat and sobbed for those precious little ones and their families. The feelings of loss, anger, complete helplessness for those people struck me as if my own son’s death had happened right along with them. I was right back there in those moments following his death. The amount of grief and sadness was palpable. It was as real and as strong as it was 11 years ago. I thought I was crazy to be feeling that way b/c these children were taken from their families in such a horrible horrible way where as my son simply died from a knot in his umbilical cord. No one took his life from him. My tears flow for those children just as they did for my sweet boy at the drop of a hat, out of the blue, at the mere thought of their grieving families. Thank you for validating my loss and my own grief for those poor children and families. I too, struggled with that same fear when I walked into another first grade class the following Monday. I cried all the way to work worrying about my own children, wondering if they would come home to me at the end of the day. I worried about what I would do as a teacher if someone did the same thing in one of my classrooms. Thank you for putting a finger on and lighting the darkness of Satan’s attempt to give life to the fear of his evil ways in my own heart. Yes John may be right, you may suffer from post traumatic stress. ( I don’t think that was the purpose of your blog though). Someone told me the same thing many years ago and when the feelings welled up inside me so intensely I thought to myself, “there it is again” that deer in the headlights kind of feeling that intense sadness, grief, fear, anger but you were also right. You were right to go to Jesus in confession! You don’t need an expensive counselor you just needed Jesus reminding you that HE is taking care of you, your daughter and all those children, teachers, parents and families. HE will heal our trauma. HE will help us carry the hurt because HE carried it himself. HE is the answer to all our pain we just have to ask HIM and then allow HIM to help us. We have to trust HE is asking us to carry this very great pain for HIM! The trauma of the loss of a child never goes away. It is always right there under the surface of our hearts we just learn how to carry it each and every day. With the help of our dear friend Jesus we can carry it and then help others to carry it too when someone else is asked to pick up the same cross. Peace to you and thank you for your comforting words.

        • Kellie “Red”

          Thank you for courageously sharing this Sarah.

          • sarah amidon

            Thank you Kellie for putting the finger on the real problem…”FEAR” Satan loves it and he loves when we try to make excuses for it like PTSD and HATES it when we bring it to Jesus in the confessional! Keep writing!

            Sarah

          • maryalice

            I’d clarify, Sarah, and say that it is important that we not call PTSD an excuse. Mental illness cannot be treated solely in the confessional, that is putting too much pressure on our priests and ourselves. I have known many wonderful Christians who have talked themselves out of getting the help they needed because they thought that it was their fault for not praying harder, not having enough virtue, not tapping in to the gifts of the holy spirit in just the right way. PTSD, or any other psychological diagnosis, should be respected as an illness, and we are not Christian Scientist. If you tore your ACL you would not try to do without surgery, medication or physical therapy and just offer up your pain.

  • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

    Thanks so much for the very touching article.

  • http://johnmallon.net John Mallon

    For some reason, my post in response to Kellie is not appearing. Are there some rules I am missing? Today is my first attempt at posting here. I did add some links to articles I’ve written on traumatic events. Does this site disallow posting links?

  • swampfx3000

    Many years ago, when I began my young family, I swore that I would never have guns in my house. That was until there were numerous stories about kids going to their friends house and getting shot by playing with a gun they found. It was then that I determined that I have little control about much of what happens to my children and that it was up to me to prepare them. I bought a couple of guns and registered my son and wife for gun safety training and joined a range. Now all of my children know how to shoot guns. They like them and play games using them but they are not obsessive about them. They understand the risks/dangers as well as the benefits. I happened to see this presentation yesterday and thought he did a pretty good job of putting this into perspective.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_van_uhm_why_i_chose_a_gun.html
    If you want to know really why we have the 2nd amendment and why we should be armed, watch this:
    http://voxvocispublicus.homestead.com/Battle-of-Athens.html

  • http://johnmallon.net John Mallon

    I have tried repeatedly to post my response. But it will not appear. Is there a limit on word count? Why isn’t going through? My other posts are going through… I want to post my response to Kellie, and should have that opportunity.

    • Kellie “Red”

      John, I do not know why it is not posting. If you are trying to be helpful, feel free to e-mail me at rightsaidred.builder@gmail.com.

      I am surprised to learn that you have a counseling background. Is it typical protocol to read a blog post and diagnose someone with a full blown case of ANYTHING? Anyone I have ever dealt with in the profession seems hesitant to jump to conclusions until they know a person better? It seems very different from my experience with other professionals in that field.

      I accept that your intentions were/are good, but I worry that you do not understand much about mothers who have lost children. Perhaps you are comfortable with being labeled with a psychological disorder, but most women (and people for that matter) are not comfortable with such a label — especially from someone they do not know. There is a way to suggest these things as a possibility that is both kind and helpful. Again, I understand now that you meant no harm. And I also mean no harm in telling you that your approach isn’t ideal.

      I also think many women who have not lost children experience intense fear when they think about events like Newtown. Telling me I have a psychological disorder would certainly make my post much less relevant to those women. I am finished discussing this on the blog. If you want to continue the discussion, we can do so over e-mail.

  • Juris Mater

    Kellie, thank you for this. I have been trying to sort through my own fear with little help or direction, and this is so helpful–you speak from a lot of experience and wisdom, straight from a mother’s heart.

  • Juris Mater

    John, from what I understand, trauma falls on a wide spectrum, and PTSD is normal, as you suggest. It always helps me to put a name to things like this in order to get them out into the open and so that I can benefit from the best clinical methods out there, to complement good spiritual direction. I appreciate your suggestion here (but remember that we moms need to be coached gently on matters of the heart : ))

    Also, related to clinical techniques combined with the spiritual life, I have been helped by 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Take captive every thought.” Sometimes when my fear and imagination start to overcome me, I imagine erecting a gate around my own mind, and having to give every thought permission to enter (or not).

  • http://johnmallon.net John Mallon

    Thank you Mater, I agree with you. To be clear, I did not “diagnose” anyone of anything But was merely offering from my own experience (and schooling) a “name” which would, I thought offer hope. Your application of Scripture precisely aligns with current psychological wisdom in dealing with these situations. Thank you for writing. Please visit my website, Here: http://johnmallon.net
    As relevant to this thread, I especially recommend the following:

    Goodbye, Julie, Editorial in the Sooner Catholic after the Oklahoma City Bombing, also picked up by Catholic New York and numerous other diocesan newspapers nationwide
    http://johnmallon.net/Site/Goodbye,_Julie.html

    Healing does come: Oklahoma City’s anguished path to recovery, The Washington Times, February 22, 2001
    http://johnmallon.net/Site/Healing_Does_Come.html

    A Hero’s Tears: In Oklahoma City, I met one of New York’s finest. I wonder if he’s still alive.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122658915865424509.html

    Depression: Is this Happening to You?
    http://johnmallon.net/Site/Depression__Is_This_Happening_….html

    Thanks again, Mater!
    In Christ,
    John

    • sarah amidon

      Another FABULOUS book I always try to offer people when they are suffering loss is called YOUR SORROW IS MY SORROW by Joyce Rupp. Awesome book lots and lots of healing in each page.

  • Lydia F.

    When my first son was small I would take him to play dates and many of the mothers banned all toy guns and it was hard for both of us to understand their anti-gun line since the boys would just make guns with their fingers or even their sandwiches. I was neutral about it. We did not have guns, but my husband grew up in a hunting family that taught respect for guns as part of life.

    I read a few years later the blog of a mom that talked about this topic and she came to realize that her boys in reality were really playing to some day be men, and that the guns they used were really about being heroes – blowing stuff up, but also learning about protecting others – and those were the type of men she wanted to raise; men who were strong and not afraid and who wanted to save others. Women can have a hard time realizing this because we think differently.

    After this horrible tragedy, and the discussions about guns, my husband and I talked about how as a kid there were guns everywhere in their community – and they were usually loaded since an unloaded gun is useless. They didn’t have trigger locks on or the guns hidden. The kids were taught early that guns were dangerous but necessary, and they were taught how to use them, clean them, and how to be careful with them. My husband learned how to make his own ammunition even. Occasionally there were accidents in the community but they were rare. My husband was bullied in school, as were other kids, but guns were not brought to school. And there were LOTS of guns around.

    So what is different? Our society is different. The respect for life is less, children are coddled but not given the tools to deal with conflict. Kids were thrown out into the neighborhood and told not to come back until lunch or dinner – today you would probably be arrested if you did that. Ultra-violent movies that kids watch, even when small; violent video games and an out of control culture where respect is demanded from others but not given back. No fathers in the home or many times no mothers. The laundry list of societal ills grows every year but we refuse to acknowledge that the non-virtuous life so many adults lead affects the children. Violence stems from this.

    Now in the mass shootings lately it has been mental illness that has caused this. None of the gun laws on the books in Connecticut would have stopped this tragedy. There WAS an “assault weapons ban” during Columbine and it did not stop them. You can pass whatever laws you want to make everyone feel better that they are “doing something,” but it won’t stop crazy people from killing. You have to help the crazy people AND their families. The mom in the Newtown case was wrong to have guns in the house with someone unstable BUT she also needed help. She wanted to commit her son but couldn’t because of the laws. We have to do something to help the families of the mentally ill. We are reaping what we have sown. Decades ago we closed the mental hospitals and decided to forget about the sick people in them. Those people are the homeless, the drug users trying to self-medicate, and the ones committing suicides because they can’t take the pain anymore. It is also their families that suffer and the community. It is pretty sad that the largest mental facilities are in jails – the mental hospitals of last resort. This is a deeper problem that won’t be solved by getting rid of large clips or guns that look mean, or even getting rid of guns altogether.

  • Rose

    So male aggression in pure form is a good thing, to protect women and children. BUT when men behave in aggressive and patriarchal ways (john’s comment, for example – written with good intentions but which presupposes that he, as a man, has the answers and can decode a complex situation in one quick comment – John, I don’t mean to pick on you but if you read a lot of blogs you see a lot of what some people call “mansplaining” which is basically men “protecting” women by telling them their problems are simple to solve) – then male aggression is annoying and unwelcome and diminishing.

  • XY

    Kelly, I’m sorry to read of your losses. Thank you for sharing so fearlessly on this blog!

    I think you make a wise theoretical distinction between appropriate and “irrational fears” and are are pragmatic in advocating responding “proportionately” to threats. I’d like to lean into that distinction a little by noting that modern therapeutic culture sometimes gets into trouble by stripping emotions of context and reifying them as entities in their own right. This is misleading because emotions are the complex interaction of subconscious situational beliefs, attitudes, intentions, and much more.

    As a somewhat anxious person myself, I hope to say no to pathological, i.e. empty fear while channelling more appropriate fear into productive caution. As for existential fear and anxiety, you’ve given me some encouragement on integrating that more deeply into faith and God’s Peace.

    P.S. I agree that kids playing with toy guns does not seem likely to spark much adult criminal violence, but symbolism still matters. So if one dislikes real guns, then one probably shouldn’t be thrilled by their toy variants either.

    • Kellie “Red”

      XY, this is a great insight. Thank you. I agree about the “irrational fears” and “proportional responses.” I tried to get at that in my post. I remember people telling me after Therese died that I was depressed and needed medication because I still felt incredibly sad 2 months after her death. I found that sort of response completely unhelpful. They were stripping my intense emotions of context. The way I was feeling was proportional for what I had just experienced. I was in deep grief. To indicate the need for a psychological diagnosis or even medication offended me because it stripped my emotions of their context, and in a way in devalued my daughter’s life. I should have been incredibly, incredibly sad. I needed to feel that way for a time. It is a normal part of healing and grief. Begrieved parents don’t just grieve for a few weeks. It takes time to heal and move forward. Sorry to go off on a tangent here, but I think you brought up a VERY good distinction. So good, I might just have to write another post about it ;-)

      • XY

        Well, I was riffing off of the first chapters of _Saving the Modern Soul_ by Eva Illouz, a sociologist and analyst of therapy’s impact on high and mass culture. Her writing is a little dry but deeply insightful especially on how the “rationalization” of emotional language has made people more strategic in intimacy and emotional in business, blurring lines between home and work; private and public, and women and men.

        I don’t know your situation, but linking others’ (well-intentioned?) discomfort, ignorance, or impatience with your grief to a (sense of) devaluation of your daughter’s life strikes me as very profound. That helps me understand better my own intensification of (self-destructive) anger over hidden hurts in the face of misunderstanding and impatience. Thank you. (I was once the victim of a crime I couldn’t fully share with all but a handful of people because of personal and legal reasons, and sometimes I wanted to set my hair on fire just to force others to see the magnitude of my loss. One surprising thing that made me feel much better was doing little acts of good anonymously here and there. That way I grew more comfortable with having parts of my life overlooked. Everything Jesus ever said about giving in secret and the hiddenness of the Kingdom of Heaven is absolutely divine in its own mysterious way. Any way, sorry to go off on my own tangent, but I hope and pray for you, your family, and your daughter that the ineffability of your grief corresponds to the hidden Glory your daughter gives to God in Heaven.

        “Though the living
        all make the error of drawing too sharp a distinction.
        Angels (they say) would often not know whether
        they moved among living or dead. The eternal current
        sweeps all the ages, within it, through both the spheres,
        forever, and resounds above them in both.”
        –Rilke, Duino Elegy I

  • XY

    This is an interesting take on fear by a Catholic psychotherapist: http://www.chastitysf.com/fear.htm

    I like the distinction there between feeling versus being afraid.

  • http://www.minichfamilyblog.blogspot.com Christie M

    I remember 30 plus years ago when my 4 boys were very little. I didn’t want them to have guns to play with. I never bought them, but by 4 years old, each of them had learned to bite their peanut butter sandwich into the shape of a gun and shoot it.
    So, we settled for toy guns that you could shoot, but you could never shoot at people. Only aim a gun at cans or rocks, but never people. We followed through with video games also. No shooting or killing of people.
    That seemed to work for us.
    As adult men, they are responsible, some of them gun owners.
    Our daughters, are wanting to learn to target shoot and I am thinking, “Can’t you just play with dolls?” LOL
    I understand the fear of danger with our children and find when I am most anxious, it is when I am not trusting in the Lord fully. If I truly believe His plan is best, I will be at rest.
    I find myself struggling many times, especially with our special needs daughters.
    I fear that if they do too much, they will get hurt and possibly die. But…. one of them is going on a special needs ski trip next month because it is the right thing to do. I’ll spend my time praying for peace and safety for a week, while she has the time of her life. LOL

  • Becky

    Thanks, that was just what I needed to read!


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