I cannot protect my children from everything. It’s a hard lesson I learned when my son, Harrison, died at the tender age of 16. I am the mother of 4 beautiful children and I honestly believed I could keep them safe. I told them I could keep them safe. I trusted the four walls of our home were safe. How life proved me wrong and a liar will haunt me for the rest of my life.
We believe we are safe at home. Our four walls, for the most part, keep the outside evil, well, out. The love within, the peace within, all the mushy stuff, protects us. I always told my children they were safe, and nothing would harm them. You know at night, when most kids are afraid of the night, the dark, and all the noises and such they worry about. My standard answer would be the love and safety of our home would keep them safe. It was asinine, foolish, crazy…all those things to think that way. But it worked and we all believed that I, mum, would keep them safe and sound in our cozy house with the love we shared. How wrong I was.
One night, in 2014, my second oldest child went to sleep and never woke up again. Forever 16…
The world shattered for us all. I knew this impacted my children greatly, but it is now 3 years later that I am starting to really see more of how this changed their world. And I only see the surface as I am sure there is more they do not let me know to protect me.
Just a backstory, it took me 3 years to come to terms with my son’s death. And when I say that, I mean to finally get my head back in the game of life. I did not realize I wasn’t truly living and caring for myself and my children during those years. I was on zombie mode during this time, just going through the motions. I learned I could live again. I found my smile. I am living life, albeit with a broken heart, but living once again.
Since I was so delicate, for lack of a better word, my children took great strides to not burden me with their issues. Talk of amazing people. These are not old children either: 9, 12 and 24 as of now. For them to be most concerned about me and my well-being, to put their needs aside to help me cope with my loss. And I made mistakes and such. Their capacity to forgive, understand, accept and love unconditionally. They set the bar so high, I can only hope to be half as wonderful as they are in life.
But now I see it and the impact. Death came into their safe place and took a loved one unexpectedly, without warning, quietly in the night. There’s no safe place and their mum could not do anything to stop it! She was wrong…I was wrong…deadly wrong. And nothing would ever be the same again. The concept of death is all too real for them. They know a child can die just like that, where as other kids their age don’t necessarily have that knowledge. They know some medical issues can cause instant death, without warning. They know their mum is not the strongest, most perfect person in the world. They know death causes their entire world to turn upside down. Makes people stare at them and ask a million questions about what happened. It causes financial issues sometimes, work issues, family issues that can impact everyone negatively.
All this to say it is astonishing the ENORMOUS impact a sibling death has on children of all ages. A child dying is wrong in the universe on all aspects of the spectrum. I have been tremendously blessed with children with amazing qualities allowing me to heal and now it’s time to focus on them. I could not have made it this far without them. They are my reason for living and loving. I am totally and completely, head over heels in love with them.