A few years ago, an e-friend of mine's husband had a type of heart attack called the "widow-maker." Thanks to closely available medical care, he survived, but it sure threw both of them for a loop ... and in many ways they're still wildly spinning.
The idea of the "widow-maker" haunts me as well. As do the ideas of aneurysms, strokes, car accidents, freak murders, terrorist bombs, and other means of sudden and unexpected death. (Of course, I am a pessimist, so I think the haunting comes with the territory.)
But I'm not a fearful person, even though I do have this awareness. Instead, the awareness is a sort of compass that gently points me to true north. For example, if Scout is driving me crazy (as she
sometimes occasionally often does, now that she's a willful three-year-old), I'll take a deep breath and say, "At least she's here. She's alive, her blood is flowing inside her skin and her body is warm and active." And the compass moves a little from "annoyed" to "appreciative."
When I recently started writing poetry again, I thought about my friend's experience. What would it be like to suddenly lose your husband? Even worse, what would it be like if you, like my friend, had young children facing that abyss of the future with you? My first thought was, "I couldn't imagine." But then I decided to try and write a poem about it. It turned into a not-awful poem, so I submitted it to an online literary journal ... and it got published.