Ann’s voice on the phone was frantic: “The doctors say my liver cancer is back and there’s nothing more they can do. The whole family is wound up tight and nearly crazy. Can you come and help us?”
When I (Matt) arrived at Ann’s home, fear electrified the air. I asked each family member a question: What do you fear as you face the future of Ann’s imminent death?
Ann said, “I fear leaving Al all alone after forty years of a happy marriage. Who will take care of him if he has one of his choking spells at night?”
Al said, “I’m not worried about my choking, but I worry about how the time we still have can be the best days of Ann’s life. And I fear trying to live without Ann at my side.”
Their daughter Teresa said, “Mom, I was counting on you to be a grandmother for Michael. I’m afraid I won’t know how to be as good a mother for my son as you were for me.”
In naming their fears of the future, this family was naming and getting in touch with what meant the most to them; the loving presence of each other. Their faces that had been frozen in fear were now flowing with tears of appreciation and compassionate love. Sharing their fears had brought them closer together than ever.
As caregivers one of the important questions we can ask is, “What do you fear the most?”
Help us Lord to invite others to share their fears and then give them a safe place to share their fears.
From: Sleeping with Bread by Dennis, Sheila, and Matthew Linn