January 25th, 2018: When Melanie and I had received a call at about 6PM that Chesley’s health was declining, we dropped everything and packed as quickly as possible to get on the road for the 3 hour drive to see him. There is always that fear that this could be the last time you see them in that situation. From the moment that we decided to head out that night, I was struck with heavy anxiety. There were multiple things playing a role in my internal struggle.
When my anxiety initially arrived, it was a fear of how Melanie would be reacting to the news. This fear was being amplified by the fact that I was still at work when Melanie called with the news and that she was very close to him. You see, to anyone reading this that doesn’t know my wife, she tends to be a very strong individual emotionally. And somehow, we compliment each other, because there are times when the roles switch. However, that wasn’t looking like a possibility from my end this time around.
A second struggle was that simple fear of dealing with death. Was this going to be the last time we see him? Then, the thoughts of how the visit to the hospital would go. What condition would he be in upon our arrival? Naturally, my mind (like most) goes to the worse-case scenarios.
When I arrived home from work, we made a decision to drive out that same night. Things were happening too quickly in my own head. There was no time to mentally prepare for what was unfolding in the moment. On top of my first two stresses, now there was the 3 hour drive to add to the list. Melanie’s uncle met us at our house and we went out with him in his vehicle. Now normally I love driving, but in circumstances like these, and that fact that, well I wasn’t driving, was not of any assistance for me.
I was at war with myself for the majority of the drive. The anxiety was like I often describe it: waves. That was until Mom had texted me. Unknowingly to me, my mother and Melanie were in a texting conversation. I guess at some point Mom asked Melanie how she was doing. What affected me and changed what was left to the drive for me? It was Melanie’s response. While I was busy being blinded by fear and worry, I had forgotten about how mature and faithful her relationship with God is. As I read her response of basically how she was at peace with the fact that he would be free of pain and suffering in Heaven with God, I could feel my anxiety lifting off of my shoulders. I had been reminded of her trust and faithfulness in God despite the current situation.
Most of my anxiety had dissipated at that point. The rest of the trip was easily manageable. When we arrived at the hospital, I was still nervous, but I had developed a sense of confidence from my experience on the road which allowed me to overcome any remaining fear that I had.
I have been driving through life with anxiety for a long time now. I’m starting to realize that I’m being taught new things by God with each experience. I have a feeling I still have more to learn. Maybe this anxiety is a blessing in disguise.