Ever since Erik’s passing my sense of home and safety has been fleeting. Every second of every day my mind is constantly filled with never-ending thoughts of things that need to get done, questions about the future, re-plays of the past, worry about the what-ifs, and everything in between. One of my biggest thoughts is how to make sure my twins are not only happy and healthy, but safe. Since Erik has been gone the feeling of safety and security went out the door. I take extra precautions now with it just being me and them. I check over my shoulder, I look out of the corner of my eye, and I double and triple-check locks. I’m more anxious and paranoid than I have ever been in my life, but I’ve been slowly working towards making sure I keep us in situations that are safe and that I try to be as prepared as I can be. So when an incident disrupts that progress, it throws me back to what feels like square one.
Last Friday at around 11:40 at night, I was dozing in and out of sleep. At this point, I had slowly gotten to the point where I was able to sleep 3-4 hours without waking up since his passing. So much progress from waking every 2-3 hours. But this night changed all that. I was suddenly startled by a loud pounding on my front door followed by the continuous ringing of my doorbell. This was the type of knock and ringing that you would expect from a cop or firefighter if they were trying to evacuate a place. It threw me into a complete frenzy thinking something bad was going on. As I rushed to my front door to see what was happening and to try to make the noise stop as my twins were completely knocked out, I looked out the peephole to see the top of a woman’s head. At this point scared and wondering what she was doing I said nothing to see if she would stop. She continues to pound and ring my doorbell. I looked through the peephole again trying to see if I could see her face. She then stops the knocking and starts whispering, “Help me, open the door, please. Please help me.” I was hoping that this woman truly didn’t need help, but I also couldn’t risk opening the door for the safety of the twins and myself. I tell her to step away from my door and that I’m calling the police. She continues to pound and ring the doorbell again, but this time she tries to use my keypad to open my door. At this point, I was beyond just startled. I stepped away from the door, frozen in the hallway not really sure what I should do. Do I call the onsite security first? Or the cops. As I’m coming to my decision I hear her running down the hall. A few seconds later I hear what seems to be one of my neighbors opening his door and saying “hello” over and over again down the hallway. Where did she go? Maybe she ran away? Still in my head hoping that she didn’t truly need help, but at the same time scared and startled. I walked back into my room my whole body shaking and decided to call our onsite security as she was no longer at my door. I made my report to them and all they could leave me with that night was they would send someone to the floor to check on it. Nothing more, nothing less. I was still shaking by the time I hung up with them. Not sure if this woman would come back or not. Not sure for the safety of my twins or myself. I ended up calling my family and had someone come stay with me. While I was waiting for my family member to arrive my anxiety was through the roof and I still felt myself shaking. It felt like being on high alert after having one too many cups of coffee. My anxiety that night didn’t calm slightly until my family member got there and went right back up the next day when he left.
This incident made all the worries that were already running through my head on a daily basis ten times more prevalent. It was that sense of not having Erik there to protect us anymore. Not having my person to handle things like this anymore. Not having someone to comfort me and make me feel safe again anymore. Even though I found out the next day that the cops had responded and things were taken care of, I still couldn’t shake this new level of anxiety I now had. The following days I was scared to open my front door. I checked and re-checked the doors more than a handful of times after locking them to make sure they were locked. I now look through the peephole before opening my door just to leave the house. I poke my head out and look both ways of the hallway before even stepping outside. Every noise I hear in the hallway now makes me jump. I triple-check my surroundings as I walk from the parking garage to my place, each time with my heart beating faster until I get into my place. All this while still trying to act normal and calm for the twins. I was able to take some actions such as installing cameras and having more security measures in the house to at least alleviate some of the anxiety, especially at night, but again the question continues to come into my mind of how do I, mostly as a woman, protect my twins and myself? And the what-if questions begin flowing again. All the thoughts and questions over and over again in my mind each second of every day.