Reg wasn’t a huge man, but he was athletic. If someone broke into our house with a gun, Reg probably could not have defended us. But I always felt safe with him. We slept with our windows wide open during the summer, and it never occurred to me to even worry. He was sleeping next to me, so I had no need to fear.
Toward the end of his life, tumors invaded his spine, and he became paralyzed. He had to use a wheelchair, and he was taking serious pain medications and became pretty weak. We went to the mountains and stayed with someone whose house was surrounded by wilderness. Reg was in so much pain he would often moan in the night, making it problematic for me to sleep. This house had an extra bedroom, so I decided to sleep in the spare room just so I could get some sleep. But, then the dog in the house started barking, and it scared me because I didn’t know what potentially huge animal was outside. I went back into the bedroom where Reg was. He said, “You realize if an animal breaks in or something happens, I can’t do anything.” My response to him was, “Even paralyzed, I still feel safer in here with you than without you.”
Now, I’m entirely alone. I don’t have that security anymore. Reg took a trip to see the Green Bay Packers play in a different city each year. Other than that weekend, I never slept alone in our house. Whenever he left for that weekend, my imagination would always go wild thinking about the bad things that could happen, and I couldn’t wait for him to get home. Now he will never come home.
After he passed away, I placed a baseball bat next to my bed and mace on the nightstand. I hadn’t even thought about security before (other than his once-a-year trip), but now I had to think about it. I remember one night realizing I had to either let go of the fear, or I would be fearful every night, which is not how I want to spend my life. So, I let the fear go and now generally feel safe and don’t worry about intruders. But I no longer sleep with the windows open during the summer. I don’t like to go outside in the summer when it’s late and dark to water the lawn, because I’m scared someone will go in the house. I don’t have the same sense of physical security I used to have.
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