Sunday Post 90: Scared to Death

Before 2010, I didn’t spend a great deal of time thinking about dying.  I think in my younger years I was scared to death of death, I just didn’t think about it that often.

I’ve always believed in heaven, but I’ve got enough “Doubting Thomas” in me that anything not tangible is, at times, difficult for me to digest.

But before Lisa died, it just wasn’t on my mind.  Plus, I thought I was immune to tragedy – sort of felt like I was a “chosen one”.  I felt for others who had experienced bad things, but it really didn’t cross my mind that I, the Danny Tanner, would ever be stricken with a significant loss.  In fact, I was so sure that nothing would happen to Lisa that I sometimes joked about it.

“If something happens to Lisa, I’m taking a date to her funeral.  I can’t so this by myself.”

Not so funny now, huh?

It wasn’t happening to us, soo I just didn’t spend much time worrying about my demise.

Today is a bit different.

In the past two weeks, I’ve had business trips to both Akron and Boston.  And now I get a bit freaked out when I leave the kids to travel – especially on a plane.

I know that’s ridiculous.  It is much more likely that I’ll die in a car wreck on the way to work than to drop out of the sky over Hoboken, New Jersey.  And yet, I just can’t seem to avoid my wandering mind.

My maturity and spiritual growth has taken much of my fear of dying away.  I think Heaven is a wonderful place and the older I get, I know more and more folks who are there.  Can you imagine having the opportunity to reconnect with all the people you loved so deeply who have gone before us?

No, it’s not my fear of dying that stresses me out.  It’s actually the thought of my girls without me.

I’m sure they’d be alright.  They have a ton of people here on earth who love them and who would care for them.  But I just can’t help but to envision their shock and sadness if I didn’t come back home.  The thought takes me back to that cold day in February 2010.  I remember Michelle burrowed under my arm on the front row of our church as we sang familiar hymns to honor Lisa’s memory.

And then, I picture the same venue – only I’m in a jar on a table at the altar.

The thought of them enduring that service alone is a vision I’ll not soon be able to shake.  How much loss could they handle?

As a parent, it seems that often my fears are the same as they were when I was younger.  However, the motivation behind my anxieties has changed greatly.

In 1985 I was afraid to die, but it’s because I wasn’t sure what was beyond.  Today my thoughts are not sadness for me, but the burden for them.

Kids change you.  Kids change your perspective.  For me, kids instilled selflessness – something I desperately needed fifteen years ago.

Near the end of her life, Lisa said, “I’m not that upset that the girls won’t have me as a mother.  It just makes me sad that they won’t have a mother at all.”

I think I now understand what she meant.

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  1. I understand your fears as a parent. I’ve not suffered a loss like you have. But I have always said dying does not scare me……. But I’m not happy or ready to leave my children behind. I’m still not, and they are “adult” (technically). Leaving them and those I love here is something that saddens me and scares me.

  2. Mel Ham

     /  September 23, 2012

    well written..and so open and vulnerable…and true. As scared as you had to be during those final days, your prescence, your devotion to Lisa, there seeing things that the rest of us were sheltered from, you help her transition. You gave her strength, bravery (she had a lot on her own), she left us with the peace of knowing the girls were in loving capable hands. Mel

  3. Susan

     /  September 23, 2012

    Your feelings are shared by many….I lost a child and now the fear of losing another occupies way too much of my time….Its not that our kids aren’t strong, they are, but we want to be the strong one all the time and sometimes we just don’t get the choice. There is no answer, just time and faith that God will help guide us when we are scared. Your girls are so very lucky to have someone as compassionate and loving as you are…..and for those of us that read your blog, thank you for sharing what so many of us are feeling.

  4. Evie Lichti

     /  September 24, 2012

    O, Danny – You . . . in a jar on a table at the altar? Well, at least you haven’t lost your sense of humor! Let’s hope that it won’t happen for a long time. I admire you so much for all you’ve been thru and how stable, loving and successful you are. And . . . you ain’t a bad mother either! You Go Dad! Love – Evie

  5. Aunt Susan

     /  September 25, 2012

    Hadn’t thought about the jar, can we decorate it?

  6. I’m sorry for your loss. I can’t begin to imagine how painful it is for you all. You’re in my thoughts.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  November 16, 2012

      Thank you – we’re better now. There is an unfillable hole, but we’re OK.


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