I knew I was going to die. Imminently. Not the raging, heart stopping terror or fear of dying. This was a cold certainty. It felt as if I had come through the raging fear part and settled into a white cold clarity of peace and acceptance. My husband had taken our small son on a very high, very wild ride at Disney...the kind whose exit is at least 1/2 mile from the entrance, through easily a half million people. I was carrying an infant and holding onto a toddler, our two small daughters. As this was before the age of cell phones, I knew if the boys went on that ride, I would never find them again in the melee and crowds. I asked the proprietor of the ride if my girls were too small, if it would be dangerous for us to go along. He assured me it would be fine. He was wrong. I knew immediately on the first rise and twist that we would die. My glasses flew off my face and I clutched my girls to my chest, determined that I should try and save them if at all possible. We lived. But in my frightened mind, I had experienced death.
Fear and I have played games with each other my entire life. Just now, as I maneuver my husband's slow death, I am finding less to fear. I am much more outspoken and take on way less roles of support to others than usual. I refuse to walk on the Alzheimer's walks; I am angry when that association asks for money from me. I don't plan dinners for visitors or go out of my way to make anyone else comfortable...except him. It is an unusual position for me, foreign, alien.
Except for situations I see for myself that I can do some good. Walking through the county fair, I came upon a cow that had twisted herself up in her rope so tightly that she couldn't eat, drink, lie down. She couldn't even move her head. Normally I would have worried about the cow and kept going, probably reassuring myself that her owner was nearby. I have no experience with cows, and find them way larger in real life than you would think from a passing car glimpse of a rural scene. It never entered my mind to worry. Here was something I could actually fix.
I pushed a huge cow over with my body....the neighbor, whose greatest interest was chewing my shorts. I worked hard on the knots but eventually needed to crawl under that cow to untie her from the source.
I think about that cow a lot. I smile at my own audacity. It feels so good to have taken action. Action that made a difference somehow.