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Losing My Child Has Forced Me To...

Wake up to the reality that I cannot keep my children safe no matter how good a mother I am or try to be. I have been living under a delusion for most of my life because I believed that good things would flow always and forever as long as I devoted myself to my family. If I were always "there" for my kids, I could keep them safe and they would outlive me. Not only would they outlive me but they would thrive and be happy and healthy and have families of their own and see their children and grandchildren grow up. If I fed them healthy organic whole foods and took them to the doctor for regular check-ups and when they were sick and made them wear helmets and seat belts and put braces on their teeth and made sure they did their homework and were kind and respectful to their teachers and peers...that if I were emotionally and physically available to them more or less 24 hours a day, all would be well.

I was wrong about all that. Those beliefs have been shattered. My heart has been broken. I feel like a failure. I am disappointed. My belief in my ability to have any meaningful impact on my surviving children or anyone else for that matter has been abandoned.

I have also learned that in spite of all those dark realizations, I can and must go on mothering my two surviving children and caring for my husband and parents and brothers and sisters-in-law and friends and people that I meet because even though I'm awake to the reality that I have very little control over the people I care most about, I can control ME. And by continuing to care about the people I have always cared about, it helps ME. Maybe it doesn't do much for anybody else, but it helps ME. Being around people that I love is still the only thing that really matters. If I become angry and bitter and miserable and give up on life then I become a problem. I become someone else. I become someone that no one will want to be around. And that's a loss that would make Tom really really angry with me. I can't do that. I won't do that. I love too much. Still.

Summer 2017. We had such fun together. Whale watching, oyster eating, sitting around the open fire and roasting marshmallows on San Juan Island.

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