I walk around with fear in my heart.
It can’t be helped. I’ve tried. I can’t get away from it.
Of course I’m happy and spend many joyful days, but I’m also anxious. I worry. And I scare easily. Just Monday, walking home from the local Memorial Day parade, two fighter jets flew so low that my heart stopped. The last time I heard that sound was the day after 9/11 when the skies were supposed to be quiet, and all I heard were the jets at midnight and I raced to the window hoping it wouldn’t be my last moment on earth. I worry. It’s what I do. So when these jets flew over head, my heart stopped. And then they flew on, and I laughed with my mom, and hid the tears bursting from my eyes. I was so scared that I cried. Over a couple of low-flying planes on a bright summer day. And don’t even talk to me about the last time I went on a log flume. Like I said, I get scared.
So, yesterday, I worried a lot. With Do-bug at school, a dark sky, and tornado watches in an area I thought would never see such devastating storms, I barely got anything done. The fear was too strong. I worked intermittently, with one browser window glued to the storm tracker, and I’m not sure I was productive in anything.
To ease my tension, I joked about the unexpected along with everyone else.
But I also had run to the grocery story for water and cans of food and checked with Do-Bug’s dad to make sure he had a plan for shelter for the two of them.
Then, an hour later a friend posted this video. My heart didn’t stop. It raced.Â And I raced to the phone. I knew my dad was at a meeting somewhere.Â And sometimes his meetings are in Springfield. Springfield, where a Tornado had just touched down.
I got him on the phone at a restaurant at the exact same moment that my mom logged into facebook to find me:
We were all okay. For now.
Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending for my family. We’re all okay. Our homes are too. They never touched down on the North end of the Pioneer Valley. And in Nashua, well, we barely even saw rain.
But this morning I heard about the mother who sheltered her teenaged daughter in the bathtub. Her daughter is alive although in the hospital. Her mother didn’t survive when their house collapsed. I was driving when I heard this. I cried. It was hard to drive. I cried tears of relief that we are all okay. Tears of grief for this family who is not okay and the many others who are not okay.
And then I realized something incredibly important.
I would die for my child.
I never knew this before. It is a relief to know this. Because I can’t stop her heartache with a hug and a nurse anymore. And I can’t predict that she will remain as healthy as she is now. And I can’t predict that the U.S. will remain a country where I can walk down the street and be 99% sure that I am safe. But if the time comes when I need to protect my child’s life with my own, I will do it without hesitation.
There is comfort in this knowledge.
That love can give life.