SUNY Jefferson

The Fear of Fear

Bailey Martin
The Fear of Fear 

            I’m sure everyone comes across a person in their life that they look at as invisible. Someone that can handle whatever life throws their way. Someone that never shows fear. Someone that is confident that everything will be okay in the end. I had that person, his name is Dad. My dad is the most fearless person I have ever met. Something that would tie my stomach up with fear did not phase my dad at all. I always thought of him like a superhero. In my eyes, he could never get hurt, he could never be fearful, and he knew the outcome for every situation. These were traits that I dreamed of having. I wanted to do anything and be fearless. Being fearless is such an amazing thing to be. That is, until life as we knew it, began to unravel.
            In April of 2017, something unusual happened. I went to my parents’ house for dinner and that’s when I noticed something was off. My dad had a bandage around his arm, like an IV had been hooked up to him. It turns out, my dad had a seizure a few days before. My mom had to call an ambulance and at the hospital, they told him they believed it was a heart issue, but all the tests came back negative, so they told him he was fine and he could go home. How was it, that they thought he had a heart attack, but it came back negative, so they said he was fine and could just go home? Unbelievable. Just a few short days later, my dad had another seizure. My mom insisted that he was taken to a different hospital. The ambulance took him to a hospital in a different town, and the doctors ran a bunch of different tests. They ended up finding a growth on my dad’s brain, and he had to stay in the hospital for a few weeks to be monitored. My parents had a trip planned to Hawaii at the beginning of May, for my mom’s birthday. My dad felt like this was his last change to go to Hawaii with my mom; he had a bad feeling about the growth on his brain. The doctor gave him medicine and the okay to go to Hawaii.
            In May, after my parents got back from their Hawaii trip, my dad was admitted back into the hospital after he wasn’t feeling well one day. Following this, his tests came back and he was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, also known as glioblastoma. My entire family didn’t really know what that meant. We heard the word cancer, that’s all. The doctor explained that he could perform brain surgery and remove as much of the tumor as possible, but he knew he couldn’t remove it all without causing my dad to go brain dead.
            Brain surgery. Surgery, on the most important part of the human body. I was talking to my Dad telling him good luck and saying ‘see ya later’ before his surgery. This was the first time I had ever seen fear in my dad’s eyes. He didn’t want to admit it, but he knew he had to address it. He told us he was scared, he didn’t know what was going to happen, and it made him feel uneasy. I started to feel uncomfortable and scared.  My dad, the most fearless man in the world, was fearful. That scared me more than the actual surgery. They were able to remove some of the tumor, but not as much as anyone would have hoped. A few weeks after the surgery, he started chemotherapy and radiation therapy in hopes to kill the rest of the tumor or at least stop the growth of the tumor.
            June rolled around life was moving quicker than we liked at the time. It was time for me to move across the country, from Washington to New York to be with my husband on a military base and start my life. I felt awful having to leave, as I was a big help to my mom. But as bad as I felt, I was relieved to be leaving because I hated seeing my dad get worse and worse. It was hard for me and my family, and it caused plenty of breakdowns for all of us. But for some reason, I didn’t believe that anything bad was going to happen.
            A few months passed by; it was now September. I talked to my dad every day since I had moved, and he acted the same, other than being scared sometimes and having short- term memory loss due to the tumor pressing on his memory. One night, I got a call from my mom saying that we had to come to Washington as soon as possible because it was almost time to say our goodbyes to my dad. My husband and I flew back to Washington the following morning. Although my dad was getting significantly worse, he was still trying to fight this cancer. We stayed as long as we could, until my husband had to go back for work. After my husband and I flew back to New York, my dad began to forget bigger things. He forgot who I was at times. He knew he had a daughter, but would often forget what I looked like, what my name was, and where I was. He hated when people would have to explain things to him because he knew he should know all of this. It frustrated him. It scared him. He was in immense fear. Fear of leaving his family. Fear of leaving life.
            Shortly after, on October 10th, 2017, my dad passed away. Seeing him go from fearless to fearful taught me a lot. I always wanted to be like my Dad, I wanted to be fearless. But why did my dad show fear, when he had never done that before? My dad was fearful because he knew he had something worth losing. He was scared of losing me, my mom, my brother, his friends, his job, his world; it was all changing.  Now, I never want to be fearless. I show my fear even with the silliest things. I let my fear shine through because I learned what fear really is, and I have a lot worth losing. I have my future, I have my family, I have my friends, I have my dreams to achieve. That all is worth losing to me. What’s worth losing to you? If you can’t admit that you have a fear of something, you need to reevaluate the importance in your life.