Fear of “the call”

I just caught myself thinking about my ex, but not in the way I’d expect to. Occasionally, I have pangs of loneliness or moments where I miss something about him. 20 minutes ago, I wasn’t thinking about that at all.  I was randomly overcome with worried thoughts of him drinking and driving. I caught myself at the question swirling in the back of my mind, “If he dies, would his family tell me? Should I ask a family member of his to promise to tell me if something happens to him?”

So matter-of-fact, that sinking feeling I know so well. I haven’t escaped that special horror yet, I guess. It’s a feeling I’ve known since I was a kid. Then, I was expecting “the call” that they found my vagabond, mentally ill, addict father in some remote BC location – and not alive this time. In my mid-twenties, I was expecting the same call about my mother. I expected her suicide nervously for many long months after I cut ties with her. I thought about how I would plan her funeral many times over the last few years. Both of my parents are still alive, but there will always be that expectation in the back of my mind that cops will come to my door to break the news.

Somehow, I married someone who made (makes, still) stupid enough choices that I dealt with that same fear/worry pattern more intensely and frequently enough that the worry itself became a pattern in my thinking. It just is. Like, there’s a time of day where I crave sweets, a time of day where I am creative and a time of day when I plan a suicide/drunk driving funeral in the back of my mind. It’s disturbing how normal that is for me. I know that can’t be a normal thought process.

So, while I start to date again, something more gets added to the deal-breaker list. “Must not have mental health or addiction issues. Must not think drinking and driving is normal. Must not be self-destructive.” Check. 

Not too much to ask, don’t you think?

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