Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Terrified of death

I'm assuming it's normal that since I've lost a child I am terrified of losing another one. I know the pain firsthand. But how do you shake that constant nagging fear in the back of your head? How do you not read a story of a baby or child dying and immediately feel that all consuming fear of the exact same thing happening to your child? I realize it's irrational. I realize the chances of Lexi or Jackson dying is minimal. I know more kids live than die. But I've been there. I've been that rare statistic.

A few months ago I got an email about an almost-three year old boy in England that was abducted by two 10 year old boys and then tortured and murdered. The story sickened me and affected me so much that every time I think about it I cry. I just imagine that little boy being Jackson and him being so excited that these older boys want to play with him that he'd go with them. Then to have all of that horror happen to him? Just leaves me with such a heavy feeling around my heart. That poor boy and that poor family. Even though I know that cases like that are incredibly rare it still makes me so fearful that something like that could happen to Jackson. Not to the point of wanting to put him in a bubble or never leave the house, but just fearful enough that my heart skips a beat whenever I hear of children dying.

Then today a friend of mine posted that a friend of hers lost her one year old daughter. She choked on a piece of an apple she found while crawling on the kitchen floor. Something so random and her beautiful daughter is now gone. Just breaks my heart. And of course my mind soon went to the fact that soon Lexi will be crawling and getting all the random stuff on the floor (crumbs, cat food, small toys, coins, etc). I know that we will child proof the house and there won't be stuff that she can choke on just lying around, but with a 3 year old you never know what you will find at any time. I'm sure my friend's friend also child proofed their house. You just can't always be on top of everything. And look what can happen.

How do you deal with this? How do you block out all the fears? How do you read stories of babies and children dying and not immediately internalize it? I know one solution is just not to read the stories, but I cannot do that. A big part of me wants to read them because I feel that the more people that read them then the more people that this too-short life has touched. If I can be a little more cautious with Jackson, or be more mindful of stuff on the floor with Lexi then it makes the other losses a teeny tiny bit less tragic (okay, not really, but you know what I'm saying). But every story makes me bawl and then stirs up all those fears. Is this normal?

1 comment:

  1. HI Rae,

    I don't know what is "normal." I am sure I am far from "normal." I am so anxious about all of these things it is crazy. I already have panic attacks about Lily being at elementary school, outside on her own. I envision myself hiding in the bushes watching her every day. Normal? No. Will I calm down? Who knows?

    I go through phases where I watch the news and then a story about a child being harmed or killed comes on, and my only way of coping is by not watching the news for a while.

    I am so sorry to hear about that boy in England (how truly horrifying) and as well about your friend with the 1 year old. No loss ever "makes sense" and that is probably part of what makes us feel so helpless.