When my kids were young, I knew bad things could happen to them. And they did. I prepared to deal with every crisis and be the support they needed to get through. And I was. For every bruised knee and scraped arm they dealt with; band-aids, care and kisses made them all better. A bucket, Tylenol and a heating pad were ready for those times when riding it out was really the only thing going to make their illnesses better. For all the things they encountered, I was there. And I always will be.
The most horrifying thought that they might die before me is something I've given some thought. My opinion, my gut feeling and my intentional reflection took me to places that were emotionally charged on the one hand, but also to a space that offered a rational acceptance of that possible event. And I vacillated mightily between the two states of mind.
I've said publicly that I would lose my way a little and my reality would never be the same while adamantly proclaiming everyone has tragedies, they deal... I deal... especially now more than ever before... so, it will be hard, but it will eventually be OK. Even while consciously, although privately, running scenarios to be mentally prepared for it, I still didn't know how I would really deal with the possibility that I might survive my kids. It is a daunting reality to have to accept and one I'm not sure that I'm really able to process.
Don't misunderstand, I'm not worrying about the eventuality of this type of an event. It's just a thought that periodically crosses my mind, and especially when I see friends having to deal with this situation. I see their pain and I wonder to myself, as a human, how would you respond?
I've come to the conclusion that I just don't know how I will handle that situation. No one really does until it actually happens to them. Predictions or reflections about what it will mean to me or anyone are fruitless. One thing I do know, for that very reason, is why I'm scared about death not reaching me before something truly awful happens to my kids. The big what if? scenario. That's really where all my fear is coming from. Knowing that I don't know if I will make it through without my kids and what my quality of life will be should it happen. It is a pretty scary prospect to imagine a world without my kids in it.
So for my own sanity, I will do my best not to be inquisitive and leave it alone. Peace is the objective, so fear does not have a place in my thought process. Inquiry into the unknown for better understanding, sure. But senselessly torturing of yourself with a scenario or imposing a reality into a situation that might not happen just doesn't make any sense. And I'm all about making sense of things.
I'll just leave it at possible anguish to come. In the meantime, though, I will be entirely grateful that they are here in my world and my visit isn't over yet.