Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

What if I Die too Early for my Son?

I ask myself for forgiveness for the night that I wanted to give my life to somebody else. I talk to stars and to God and to innermost me.

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t know,” I say.

***
On the night I sat on my bathroom floor hoping to gift a dying mother with my future days, I didn’t know that one day, my biggest fear would be leaving my son too early for either one of us. That while I do not have whatever disease that my imagined donor had, I have this life, and this boy, and I do not want to leave him.

Lost another tooth today, mom. Pretty soon, I
***
Most nights, I don’t think about the moon. If it’s dusk, and I’m outside watching my son ride his scooter and I see the moon staring lazily down at us with its cold face, I may say “Hey Buddy. There’s the moon.”
“I know.”
Uninterested, because he’s figuring out his next scooter trick.
Tonight, it was jumping off the scooter, pounding the pavement with his foot, and jumping back on.

“Epic?” he asks.
“Totes,” I say, trying to not think about the fact that there are teeny-tiny neighborhood kids who are more confident scooter riders. For we are blessed, and I know that, even when I feel sad that my son struggles. He did well tonight.
***
He wants to be a You Tuber. I’m considering it.
***
We remember moons. We remember the ones that fill the sky with promise and a sense of watching-overness. The big moons. The Mother Moons. They feel like mothers anyway, orange and round. Closer and warmer.

I remember seeing the mother moon the night I invited death.
After a failed pregnancy, a failed marriage and a bad night, I sat on the floor of my bathroom and stared into a mirror. Life was bleak and uninspired.
My friends had babies.
I didn’t, and had been let go from a job that made me feel important. The owner of the company, a guy I thought was my friend, asked me to buy out my stock options, knowing he’d be declaring bankruptcy in a month. My best friend knew it was going to happen and didn’t tell me.
She let me spend money that weekend. We’d gone shopping.

I sat on my floor crying, and asked God to give me the disease a new mother had that would force her to leave her children for so that she wouldn’t have to leave her children. I wanted to give her the life in front of me that I no longer wanted, assuming that failed pregnancy meant that I’d never become a mother myself.
I walked outside and saw the moon. She was huge, and orange. She held up her wineglass and I clinked it. “Thanks,mama.” It’s been years now since that mirror prayer.

***

I have a six-year-old. He came later than he would have in my life plans but whatever. He’s here, and so am I. I went outside just now to find the moon and didn’t see it but realize that my biggest fear is something I have no control over.

I want to be here for my son. I want to live live fully and outside, and with him, even when the faces on the bathroom wall mock me. I will advocate for him, and do what I can for him. Somewhere in there, I’ll do what I can for me, too. Also? I’m pretty sure that my husband doesn’t know where the guinea pig’s food is…

For both of us.

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “One of my biggest fears I ever had to face…”
Hosts are yours truly (Kristi from http://www.findingninee.com) and sentence-thinker upper Michelle Grewe of http://crumpetsandbollocks.com/

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  • Allie - Oh momma, this was soul crushing. It’s one of my biggest fears too and I just cannot even go there. And the other stuff about the job – damn. I don’t even know what to say!April 21, 2016 – 10:05 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - UGH I can barely go there either and yet look at me – going there. WHY??? UGH!!! xoxo xApril 22, 2016 – 8:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - This was a “wow” post for many reasons, but most of all so very brave to share these thoughts with us. I know all parents have that fear of leaving their kids too soon, but, you and I know that some parents have that fear magnified because our worry of how they will carry on without us is more intense. But, I think part of it is caused by the fact that we’ve been worrying about them for a long time already and it’s hard to let that worry muscle relax…I’m trying though!April 21, 2016 – 10:26 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Emily and yeah, I think our fear is magnified. I mean I look at what some of the reactions have been to Tucker’s delays (even from family) and think OMG he NEEDS me. The worry muscle relaxes? I am SO happy to read that.April 22, 2016 – 8:14 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - I wrote so much about tornados and lions, but the real one would be dying early and leaving two children. Which in a way, is the only life I know – as one of those left children from a young parent.
    That said, I think we’re all going to live forever and meet at beach houses along the way.April 21, 2016 – 10:42 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I loved your tornados and lions and pics and yeah, I know you get it first-hand and yes please let’s all live forever and meet at beach houses!April 22, 2016 – 8:15 pmReplyCancel

  • JT Walters - I think you hit the nail right on the head. We all fear not being able to be here for our children. We also fear their love changes for us…teenagers especially.

    But most of all, as a parent with a child with two rare disease, I fear out surviving my son. Burying a child, especially your own, is the most unnatural horrific thing any human being can live through. I’d gladly pass before my son as long as I knew he had a good life.

    I never knew I could love anyone as much as I love my son.April 22, 2016 – 12:41 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I know what you mean JT. I never knew I could love anybody as much as I love my son too and cannot imagine burying a child. EVER. SOB.April 22, 2016 – 8:16 pmReplyCancel

  • Ruchira Khanna - Jeez! I can totally understand your sentiments esp coming from a mother. I too pray and thank when we all meet under the roof each night and ask for guidance when we all leave out in different directions when dawn embarks…

    Lovely sentiments there, Kristi and I join in to say Amen to the above
    xoxoApril 22, 2016 – 3:08 amReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Aw, Kristi I think this is totally up there as far as my fears go and most definitely want to live a long and healthy life to be here to see my girls grow up and than some. Hugs and trust me you truly aren’t alone.April 22, 2016 – 3:57 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Golden Spoons - Wow! That was powerful, Kristi! I think that is one of the biggest fears of most parents – leaving our children too soon. (And one of our children dying too soon – Can’t even imagine!). There are days when I get overwhelmed and think I don’t want this “mom life” anymore – no suicidal, just wishing for something different. Then, I go away for a couple days, and feel so awful for all the little things I missed. I don’t want to miss any of it. Or all of it. Ever.April 22, 2016 – 8:56 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Lisa. I feel like I should stop writing about it but I guess it’s been on my mind a lot recently and omg one of our children?? I don’t think for real that I could even (not going to finish this sentence). I know what you mean about wanting something different and then missing the little things so so much. xooApril 22, 2016 – 8:18 pmReplyCancel

  • Debi - This is so touching, Kristin. I’m glad your deal with the universe that night fell through.April 22, 2016 – 9:12 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - I have this fear too. We don’t live close to family and even if we did, Christopher is the “only” everywhere. His first cousins are a decade older, and second cousins a decade younger. My wish is for him to marry into a big family who all lives in the same town and they have lots of kids so he will never be lonely. Before and after my first miscarriage I told God never mind. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be for me after all. I am so glad he didn’t listen to me. It’s going to workout. That’s all we can hope for.April 22, 2016 – 9:29 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - We don’t live close to family either 🙁 and OMG just all of the thoughts. Anyway, I’m so glad that God didn’t listen to either one of us.April 22, 2016 – 10:35 pmReplyCancel

  • A.J. Goode - I had my last baby later in life, too, and I worry about not being here for him, so I understand exactly what you mean. I was 42 when he was born, and it scares the heck out of me to realize that I’ll be 60 when he graduates from high school! I just hope I’m still here to embarrass him by being the oldest mommy there . . .April 22, 2016 – 9:42 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL AJ. And yeah, my husband is five years older than I am and we both worry so much about being here for our little boy, and even if we are, how old we’ll be! YIKES!April 22, 2016 – 10:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Lewis - Fortunately God rarely takes up on that kind of bargain. But it makes total sense that you thought it, and total sense that now it’s the furthest thing from your mind. I’m glad you came through it all, that you picked up insight and wisdom along the way, that you’re happy to share the aforementioned, and that you’re who and how you are RightNow.

    (and I’m glad the faces in the bathroom had no cause to comment)


    April 22, 2016 – 10:37 pmReplyCancel

  • Scott Hansen - I’m glad everything worked out for you, even if it all happened a bit later than you intended.April 23, 2016 – 12:20 amReplyCancel

  • Frances - WOW! This has been the most profound piece I’ve read in a long while. I’m glad you shared this with us. It definitely gives me the inspiration to take more risks with my writing.

    FrancesApril 23, 2016 – 10:12 amReplyCancel

  • Yvonne - You name a fear I’m sure many mothers have. I was about to say especially those of us who had kids late. (I’m one too.) But I my sister was still in her 20s when she had her first daughter and she had the same fear. And then, yes the fear JT Walters expresses is one I’ve had often too, particularly when my second daughter was young and so fragile.

    Also, I really like the literary feel to this – I love your imagery of the moon.April 23, 2016 – 2:36 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Maybe it’s a universal parent fear although I suspect that it’s worse for mothers than for fathers. My husband has a more “well what can I do anyway?” attitude about it whereas I actually lie awake worrying about it, which of course doesn’t help. Thank you for your sweet words and I’m glad you liked the moon imagery. You’re the only one to have commented about that part and I really liked it too.April 23, 2016 – 7:49 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - Even the title is crushing, Kristi – such a huge fear that it rarely is spoken aloud. And I get it about the control – how can something so big be out of our control? So many things are. As always, a piece so many of us can relate to, even if our personal circumstances are different.

    Your writing has a way of uniting all of us, my friend.April 23, 2016 – 4:33 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw Dana, yes, such a huge fear…Hate the lack of control and thank you again.April 23, 2016 – 9:50 pmReplyCancel

  • Josie Two Shoes - Our children are indeed our reason for living and for wanting to live. There was a time in my life that the only think keeping me alive was that knowledge that I wanted to be there for my children, to raise them, and to make sure they were able to navigate through life on their own, God willing. I couldn’t just leave them to a man that I knew wasn’t up to the task. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be here now, and I am ever so glad that I am. God willing, you will also remain in your son’s life for as long as he needs you, until his is ready and able for a chapter of his own. Another honest and inspiring post, I loved it!
    Josie
    from Josie’s JournalApril 23, 2016 – 11:46 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks Josie! I so very hope that I’ll be here for a long long time for him! And that each of us are!April 24, 2016 – 12:06 pmReplyCancel

  • Michelle Grewe - I am so ready for death in many ways that I often feel like I’m just waiting for it, but at the same time, I don’t want to leave my children too early. Where would they go? And worse. Everyone who would take my children at my death are authoritative parents and won’t be too forgiving of the special needs in this family. It’s so weird because I want my children to listen to me and be quiet sometimes, and do as I say, but the idea that they don’t, that they are determined to get what they want, that they don’t take no for an answer, that gives me peace in the case they have someone else raising them. But I find myself praying to God, “I know you can feel my heart is ready to join you, but don’t listen to it. I need more time here.” I wish I could say something to make this fear easier to cope with as it does consume us sometimes in our quest for perfect parenting, but I don’t know what to say to it. I lost my father when I was 20, and I was too young for it then. I wasn’t ready. All I can do with my kids is think of all the things I needed to hear my father say to me, and say those things as much as possible. “I’m so proud of you,” that’s a big one. So reading what you said about the scooter, I can vouch you are doing it so right.April 24, 2016 – 7:35 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thanks, Michelle, for your comment about the scooter. I know none of us always get it right but saying “I’m so proud of you” is huge and will hopefully be what they remember. I know what you mean about wanting your children to listen to you but also being proud of them when they don’t because of the reassurance they’re their own people making decisions. Here’s to us having more time here.April 24, 2016 – 12:09 pmReplyCancel

  • Astrid - I cannot relate to having a specal needs child, but I can relate to sometimes wishing my life away and at other times fearing death. Please remember that despair does strange things to our minds, sch as letting it think death is the better option.April 24, 2016 – 2:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Rabia @TheLiebers - So poignant, Kristi. My kids are typically developing and I worry about the same things. I’ve told them over and over again that they have to take care of each other someday. When my husband and I are gone, they’ll hopefully still have each other. I hope that day is a long way away!April 25, 2016 – 12:34 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks Rabia! Maybe all of us worry about it – I actually wish my son had a sibling for the reason you mention. I’m close with my brothers but don’t see them often as we’re all in different states.April 25, 2016 – 5:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Nichol Wilson - Beautiful!April 25, 2016 – 8:49 pmReplyCancel

  • A Morning Grouch - Oh man. THIS. For so many reasons this fear comes to my mind. <3 So well written.April 29, 2016 – 1:15 amReplyCancel

  • Kerry - Beautiful Kristi. I love the moon and I don’t quite know why. I’ve never seen the stars, but the moon I’ve been able to see, and I guess I consider myself lucky. I guess I am in awe how it’s the same moon looking Down on all of us and the lives we’re living separately but as one.April 29, 2016 – 9:52 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks Kerry! I’m glad that you’ve been able to see the moon. It really is something to think about how the same one looks down on us all – I like how you put that we’re living separately but as one.April 30, 2016 – 4:53 pmReplyCancel

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