Marja went out with her friend Eve last night; I expected her home about 10 PM. About 11:00 or so, I began to notice that she wasn’t home yet. After midnight, I began to worry. Marja is well able to take care of herself, and she’s sometimes forgotten to call me when coming home late. And I’ve always told her that I don’t worry easily and that events like that were more annoying than worrying. (True, the previous episodes were during the day and not after midnight.) I knew that if anything serious had happened, the police or hospital would let me know quickly. And, above all, I knew I couldn’t do anything about it then.
I couldn’t sleep, though. Awhile later I began to fantasize about what it would mean for me if Marja were gone. And that was a scary thought. Who would take care of me as I declined? I couldn’t imagine putting that burden on the children, at least not for very long. So it would mean, I imagine, loneliness, early nursing home admission, and so on.
It really is the fantasies about the future not the realities that are most painful.