While I was at the "Urban Schmooze", my step-daughter Ursula flew off on the first big adventure of her life. She's off traveling on her own at the tender age of 18. Although John and I are proud of her and excited for her, the trip causes some anxiety for us also.
John's anxiety manifested in a dream he had on Saturday night. He dreamt that we were on a large structure, like a big wooden raft with a high tower, floating down a river. The dream was very pleasant at first but then it took a sudden turn to the terrifying. The raft structure rounded a corner and up ahead there was a bridge. Collision was inevitable and would be fatal. John and I watched the tower approach knowing we were going to die. The tower struck the bridge, John & I were knocked off and plummeted hundreds of feet toward the shallow, rocky, river bed. The girls continued on down the river and we didn't know what their fate would be. The dream was very disturbing and scary for John, it woke him up (falling dreams always end with a start before we actually die).
John's analysis of the dream (being a good Jungian boy - not Freudian) is that the dream represented his anxiety about Ursi off on her own in a foreign country. He was also anxious because he was alone with the twins overnight in a city he doesn't know all that well. Images of having a heart attack leaving the girls alone, or of them unlocking the door and leaving while he wasn't looking. His last thought in the dream was what would the kids do if we die. This is a parent's greatest fear. I know it haunted my sister, Madeleine, when she was dying.
On our drive home, John was wondering with whom you should share these fears. He wondered if sharing with your spouse was burdening them and would cause him/her unnecessary anxiety.
So are we being morbid when we think about these things or does everyone worry about it? Do you worry about what will happen if you die before your children are independent? How do you handle the fear? Who do you share your fears with?
Here are three of the four we worry about.