Soon

S has this thing she does with M.  She asks him how long she can keep him and he typically says, “26.”  He decided that when he is 26, he will move to his own house on “the big road”.  His friends (A and M, brother and sister) will move in with him and he will have us over for breakfast.  A couple of weeks ago, we got an answer other than ’26’.  When S asked how long she can keep him, “‘Til you are 26?” she asked.
“No,” he said.
“Why not?”
“Because I am going to die soon.”

(Insert heart hitting the floor here.)

This has stayed with me since, coming from behind and slapping the back of my head every now and then.  When I remember his words, my chest tightens and I lose my breath, praying that he is just working through things in his head and that he doesn’t actually know something we don’t.

2013 has been a shitty year.  M has learned a lot this year.  Maybe too much.  I try to chalk his statement up to that.  We lost a pregnancy he was invested in. My mom’s best friend died and he came with me to her memorial service.  He doesn’t know it, but my dad had a minor stroke today.

He has seen a lot this year.  I wonder if our decision to be completely honest with him has exposed him to too much, too soon.  I don’t know what the alternative is.  I can’t lie to him, but I want to protect him.  Where is the middle ground?  I just don’t know.

What I do know is that life is short and shit happens.  No matter how much I try to protect him or prepare for the ‘what ifs’, I just can’t shelter him from all hurt.  No matter how much I want to.  And that sucks. I guess that is all part of the letting go that happens the moment a child is born.  From that first moment we let someone else hold him to my last breath, I have been and will be giving him the world and to the world.

I think that is my life’s work.  The letting go and the moving on.  Maybe that is everyone’s life work.  Maybe it is holding on too tight that holds us all back, our children included.  Just maybe.

-Betsy

Advertisements

2 responses to “Soon

  1. Wow, that statement is pretty heavy. Just wow. I suppose you could sit down and discuss it with him, but I’m sure you have already asked why he thinks that and gotten an answer. I’m not sure the alternative, sounds like the way we do things!

  2. We have had a few losses in our life. It wasn’t the death of Jerry’s dad that we shared with the kids. I don’t consider it lying to them. I simply felt, that for our children, it was better for us. I know how my kids process things. So when Elijah’s soccer coach committed suicide, we chose not to tell him. He asked about going to his soccer class, and we told him it was no longer held. When a dear friend of the family was found dead, we didn’t mention it to them because they didn’t know him. But with the grandfather dying… of course we told them. And they asked questions. Elijah processed it, asked more questions, and has moved on in his quiet way. Grace has been much more verbal. She has asked questions and then moved on. She mentions PopPop at least once a week. She has associated his death with our death and what would happen. It has been heartbreaking. I would rather answer where babies come from than have these talks. We did not take them to the memorial service as we knew it would be loud. There was wailing, grandma fainted, the minister yelled, there were lots of amens being shouted… it was unnerving to me and the children that were there were confused and afraid. We deal with things as they come. I tend to let the children ask me questions. My 7 year old and I have a journal the two of us keep. It helps him process things and me to write things down for him to think about.
    It is hard to deal with these things. I don’t enjoy talking about death, mine or anyone elses. But I do think it’s important to know your child, know how you want to raise them. There will always be repercussions from our choices. There is no one right way to do things. We simply have to adapt and move on. Grace is still processing (I even talked to a therapist about it… I was worried she was fixated on death…) and it’s hard to draw this out. But she is talking and I am listening and validating everything she says.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s