'How I stop my greatest fear dominating my day-to-day life'

Michael's faced seeing his kids in pain many times.

It’s an interesting question isn’t it, as to what one’s greatest fear might be?

As a parent, it’s the thought of one of your children dying. It’s hard enough when they fall ill, or their lives become chaotic and troubled when marriages fail.

I never liked seeing any of my kids in pain. So often there was not a lot I could do for them other than listen and comfort them.

It was hard one night when my daughter rang to say her marriage was over. She was in a car park in Melbourne, and I was here in the Hunter Valley. She was distraught, understandably, and all I could do was listen. It was one of those moments when you wanted to be there to hold her in her grief.

Another time another daughter lost a dear friend to a car accident. She had just returned from a weekend cadet camp with this particular boy when on the Monday morning he was killed driving to work. She was the CUO of the unit, and at his funeral I watched her stand guard over his coffin throughout the entire service. I couldn’t believe she was able to hold it together for so long. For me it was heart breaking knowing her as I did, watching her show respect and honour to a fellow cadet in the strongest way possible.

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I have been lucky with my six children that all of them have seen the darker sides of life and so far, have come through unscathed.

My youngest daughter has been going through her own version of a marriage breakup, with three small boys, all under five when this happened it has been so difficult for her. Thankfully she has the undying support of family from both sides of her marriage to support her.

My youngest son developed Crohn’s Disease and what a learning curve that was. He was in hospital for some weeks, and every day I sat with him as the disease had its evil way with him. It was a terrible time because I was so unprepared for his diagnosis. But I had to learn quickly and thankfully today he is one of the lucky ones to be clear of this disease.

We all fear for our families in this day and age. Thankfully we don’t allow this to dictate our daily lives but rather enjoy the journey our children take us on. It’s an adventure every day.

What is your greatest fear?