an old familiar fear

July 28, 2013Karen Courcy

208080445252884910_6NmySSZZ_cThis has been a tough weekend for me; a weekend where old familiar feelings of fear and sadness hit me and it really shook me on so many levels.

Right now I am at a place in my life and my healing where the past is really present and anything that comes remotely close to old feelings, it hits me harder than normal.

There are no walls, and I don’t have the old coping skills to lean back on to push these feelings aside, so I sat with them this weekend and I felt a lone in that.

My mom was rushed to the hospital this past Friday from her home where she has nurse care and resides in a hospital bed day in and day out.

She is very ill and has been ill the past couple of days and this reminded me so much of the days when I was a child and didn’t know if my mom was going to live or if she was going to die.

When I was 5 years old I witnessed my mom having a mini heart attack in the kitchen as she paced the floor round and round holding onto her chest, and the paramedics came to the door and pushed me aside and did CPR on her, and I was never so scared in my life to witness such a thing.

I remember being so scared that I escaped up in the closet and sat a lone in fear, not knowing if she was going to live or if she was going to die.

My mom has been sick almost my whole life. She has been house bound now for 20+ years and has been bed bound for the past 9-10 years. When my mom had that mini heart attack they had to set up a hospital bed in the living-room for a couple of months while they regulated her blood. I have always had this constant fear that my mom was going to die.

She has many health problems and has a tumor growing inside of her and because of her weight and health issues, no one will operate. So she is at home in a hospital bed being taking care of by nurses and many other people who come into the home to help out.

I live over 1,000 miles away from my family in NH. I am in GA and they are in NH and although it’s hard to not be there to help out the family when hard times like this come about, its also best I am not there because I need to heal some very old wounds that can’t be healed in the presence of those who hurt me.

My mom was brought into the hospital Friday by ambulance and my sister basically told me “expect the worst” and a part of me froze! I literally didn’t have words and when I did finally feel, I went to my bedroom and cried into my hands for 45 minutes! I felt like I was right back into the past as that scared little 5-year-old girl who just witnessed her mom having a mini heart attack on the kitchen floor.

My mom and I have a tough relationship and I have drifted away from her for many years now. My sister and I have always known my mom to be sick and at any given moment we are always awaiting the news that she is no longer with us.

This weekend was hard. I felt a lone, I felt really alone in this because it’s hard for people to understand the depth of what it feels like now and what it felt like back then.

I remember in the mornings as a child, I would shake my mom awake to say goodbye to her when leaving for school, and every morning that I would shake or try and wake her up, I feared she wouldn’t wake up.

Over the years I have built this wall to this fear and shoved my emotions back in when anything came up around my mom.

When I moved to Georgia 8 years ago I think that was a way for me to shut my eyes to that fear and step away from the emotions that were tied to that, but this past year has been a year of re-surfaced past feelings and emotions, and this was a moment that old emotions crept back in and it hit me really hard – REAL hard this weekend.

I felt sad, I felt anger, I felt frustration and a feeling of fear.. all the old feelings I felt as a child, and allowing myself to feel that today as the adult I am.

I think a lot of other emotions came to the surface this weekend in this fear and past feelings about my mom. I believe that when certain emotions hit inside, it also wakes up other emotions that laid dormant for so long and that is what happened to me this weekend.

it’s amazing what stirs up inside when we are open to it. I think back to my childhood and I realize just how much I went through and I ask myself “how did i do it? how did I get through it?” ..

My mom is stable and doing a little better, and she may go home sometime next week – back to her hospital bed and all the nurses who care for her until the next time comes.

I have come to realize more so this weekend that there will come a day when she wont be better and life will take her away, and I need to prepare myself for that day I feared since I was 5 years old.


  • Gel

    July 29, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Aw shoot!! I wish you could have some time off from these difficult feelings.
    That sounds really difficult what you’re feeling about your mom. I’m sorry she’s going through health scares.

    Hey I’m wondering something….and I’ll write it but I don’t expect you to do it. The idea comes to mind as a way to explore a new “ending” to the trauma of worrying over your mom. It sounds like you had that fear of her dieing and leaving you for so many years and that sounds especially traumatic for you as a child. My idea is based on the part of it that’s really scary about being alone….left alone with all the fear and pain. The idea is to imagine a new ending for yourself and to find a way to enact it….like create a play or an imaginary way of expressing it. Or do it with photos. Not like this imaginary ending/new beginning will have to actually happen. But as a way to tell your subconscious that there is are new possible ways to live through the trauma of losing your mom. And that you WILL get through it. Maybe when you were a child part of the trauma is that you didn’t know what would happen if you mom died and you were alone. An imagined new outcome could show that you NOW can take care of yourself. You aren’t just left alone anymore.

    As I’ve written this idea out, it occurs to me that I need to do it for myself. As I wrote it I realized that there are different parts of the past trauma. One part is the lose of my mother. Another part is the extreme fear of being left alone and feeling helpless and hopeless. Incapable of taking care of myself. That’s the part that I need to turn around. I think I could manage the grieving of the loss better than dealing with that hopeless helplessness. But lumped all together it all seems insurmountable.

    I hope you’re OK with this turning into something for me. I was literally realizing these things as I was writing.

    I do appreciate you sharing how hard it’s been because being able to say the truth of it is a huge part of healing. Still, I hope you get some relief too.

    1. KarenBeth

      July 29, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      Hi Gel …. thank you for all your big thoughts… there were some great advice…

      The hardest part about me and my mom is that there is unresolved feelings that go back to my childhood. It’s not that I would feel alone if she passed because I have been without her my whole life.. it’s about those old fears coming up of my mom dying period.. almost like an old trigger, but this is bigger and more final.

      I think my mom and I just went our separate ways when I decided to seek help through therapy and it was through therapy I realized how much I was hurt .. if anything I think it’s about the fear of the action itself more so than being without her.

      There is this longing for a mom that I have wanted for so long and it took me so long to accept that I am never going to have the mom I truly want.. but the fear of her dying makes that final, it puts a stamp on never having a mom and her being gone from my life all together.

      I know one day it’s gong to happen, and I dont think I will ever be prepared .. it’s like making the trigger and fear come true – only this time it wont be a fear, it will be that fear happening and it being the moment I feared the most as a child.

      Thank you for your response… it means a lot to me, it really does.. after a hard weekend it was needed

      1. Gel

        July 29, 2013 at 8:35 PM

        OK Karen, It’s good to hear more depth about how this is for you. And I can see how my idea doesn’t fit very well. I’m trusting that my intentions to be helpful were well received by you and that’s more important anyway. I might explore the idea for my self. Thanks for your gracious reply.

  • Cat

    July 29, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    I hope you and your Mum are okay.

    1. KarenBeth

      July 29, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      awwww thank you Cat.. that means a lot to me 🙂 I am doing okay, and my mom is feeling a bit better and going home to care tomorrow ..

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