Proactive Steps To Deal with Fear
We can know the odds and be prepared for the worst. But there are always those close calls and creepy little feelings that come up from time to time as we face the danger of what our spouse does for a living. How do we disarm them?
1. Face the worst case scenario. Much of what we fear is unknown, and fear breeds worry. Think through your greatest fear and play it out in your mind as to how you will deal with it. Come up with an emergency response to the “what if.”
2. Demystify the experience. Familiarize yourself with your agency’s death benefits and protocol. Talk to your spouse about who you would want to deliver the news should something happen. Security is very important to us as women, and not knowing what will happen if can be a catalyst for worry. Brent’s agency encourages officers to designate who will notify next of kin in case. You can be a part of that decision or work to initiate such a protocol in your husband’s agency.
3. Resist the temptation to listen to scanners or dispatch applications on the Internet. This is not an emergency response to facing the worst case scenario. This is a distracting illusion of control. “If I just know what’s going on, I can handle it…” Risky approach. This could perpetuate fear, not dispel it.
4. Talk out your fears. I talked with Brent in his down time once or twice and found it helpful. I’ve also talked with other seasoned wives, and this helps too. You may even consider talking with a survivor if you have the opportunity. If you are a person of faith, prayer is an excellent way to talk out your fears. Personally, this is where I found much comfort when I have dealt with occasional fear.
5. Let it go. This is one area you can’t control, and if you try you’ll drive yourself and others crazy. Go back to your foundation. What or who is it that you trust?
My friend Michelle Walker lost her husband in the line of duty New Year’s Eve of 2005. I asked her how she dealt with fear before he was killed. I learned that her father was with LAPD and had suffered a shooting but recovered. Incredibly, she never feared that her husband would be killed. She answered, “Fear drains your energy, puts stress on your marriage and family, and ultimately won’t change a thing. I’m so glad that I didn’t waste the time I had with Mike worrying.”