The Fear of Being Wrong

The fear of being wrong, or not doing something right, can be debilitating.  Especially when the decision impacts life and death. In my opinion, this explains why so many people desire to be told what to do.  It also leads me to understand why people are afraid of the loss of their loved one.

This morning it was chilly enough for me to question whether it was time to put a blanket on my bed. Normally I’d call my Dad and ask him. Always a child to my parents, it’s easier to ask them what to do then to come to the decision myself.  There’s less risk or responsibility when an action can be attributed to following orders or doing what your “parents told you”.

When your loved one is gone, when that source of simple answers and provider of knowledge is no longer a call away, decision making feels harder.  You have to work a bit harder to reach a decision; you’re not simply following a course of action suggested by a loved one.

Here’s the thing, that knowledge isn’t gone.

It’s within you now. It always has been.  It’s part of your DNA. But when your loved one is easily accessible, you can reach out and be told what to do.  Now, you need to look inward for the guidance.

If you actually sit and think a bit, asking yourself “What would Dad do?” the solution materializes. Often, I actually can hear the answer in my Dad’s voice.  More often than not I can “see” him responding, facial expressions, dry sense of humor and all!

It’s a big transition and a journey to get from feeling loss every time I wanted to pick-up the phone and have my Dad answer a question to now, when the answer is uncovered after I reflect on a similar situation that I shared with my Dad or he shared with me. Two years have passed and these dialogues can still make me blue, but more often it makes me smile.

Because his passing doesn’t mean that his advice and guidance is lost to me.  It just means that I have to work for it.

It’s my hope that in sharing these personal revelations that you might look at your own circumstances a bit differently.  There’s no way that I would have truly understood the concept that I’d still “hear” my Dad whenever I needed his advice even after his passing.  It’s an intangible concept to grasp.

But I hope that I’ve planted the seed of assurance that this will happen to you. While nothing makes the loss of a loved one less difficult to endure, I truly believe that their wisdom is not lost to us. We are able to call up our memories of them to help us reach an answer. Simply replace the pronoun in the question “What would you with their name. In my case, “What would Dad do…?” and my fear of being wrong in my decision or worry that I’m not doing some right is as diminished had my Dad been here to tell me himself.

We're in this together...

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Candice Smith

Shortly after her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Candice Smith decided to read his favorite book, How Green Was My Valley. The impact of Richard Llewellyn's words when he wrote: “Men like my father cannot die. They are with me still, real in memory as they were in flesh, loving and beloved forever” changed how Candice viewed her father’s end-of-life journey and how she celebrates his memory. Inspired to change the experiences for all family caregivers, in 2017 Candice founded Caregiven. When she’s not advocating for how individuals, societies and cultures think and approach death, she’s celebrating living in the Pacific NW with her husband, two children, family and friends (pets included).

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