The Next-Worse Thing To losing your child

If you want me to cry, just give me something to read or watch about a child dying. Doesn’t matter the circumstances or the age. It’s simply not supposed to happen in that order. I lose it every time. It is my biggest fear.

But a close second is the thought of me dying while my kids are still young (young being defined as…I can’t put a number on it; they will always seem young to me, I suspect). There’s no reason to think I will, I have no diseases that I know of and don’t take unnecessary risks. But for all I know, there’s some kind of time bomb in my body, or somebody is planning on driving somewhere today and my head will meet their bumper. You just never know.

If I were to die suddenly, that would be bad enough. But Lisa Belkin’s extraordinary post over at HuffPo about parents’ advice to their spouses and kids before they died just totally destroyed me. I was crying by the third paragraph and had to stop reading several times just to sob.

It’s something that I can barely make myself think about: if I knew that I was going to die, what would I tell my kids? How do you impart all of the things you hope to teach them over decades in whatever time you have left? When simply being a good example and being there for them is no longer a possibility, what do you do?

I can’t even think about it. It’s too painful. I’m going to go to YouTube and search for videos of cute animals while you go and read the post. Because I’m starting to get dehydrated.


  1. says

    I want all my children to live long, healthy, successful lives, but I am most concerned about my youngest child who is Special Needs. She doesn’t have a diagnosis but is classified as having an intellectual disability. In other words, she will never be able to live on her own, and will always rely on a person or agency to care for her after her father and I have died.

    This is something I have worried about since she was a baby. Who is going to care for her? Who is going to make sure that she brushes her teeth properly, take her on a bike ride, do puzzles with her and even take her on an occasional vacation?

    And naturally I fear that some unscrupulous person will take advantage of her physically or sexually. Who will make sure that never happens?

    My genetics indicate that I will likely live until I am 80+, but that is getting to be pretty old to care for a 50 year person with a disability.

    Yes, she has brothers, but at age 23 and 26 they can barely take care of themselves so I WORRY. A LOT.

    I hope that we can find a place for her to live that I trust, and I know will take care of her well before we are in our 80’s, and that her brothers who do love her will be wonderful guardians, but…not knowing that she will be in good hands is the worse possible thing for me.

  2. says

    My weakness is death..It’s not that I am afraid to die, but I don’t like seeing people whose dying, especially babies and kids. My heart is being crushed and tore into pieces seeing them in an oxygen. I feel they don’t deserve to suffer like that.

    • says

      @Abby: My dad is 85 and is slowly deteriorating by inches. He is still living at home with my mother, but walks painfully and stooped over because of his sciatica and has no bladder control so must wear a bag. Naturally this has him depressed and he is saying things like I don’t think I will be around next year. I’m not sure which is worse, getting hit by a big truck or the slow inevitable march if time.

  3. says

    I just pray I live long enough to be a grandfather. That means my son will be (hopefully) an adult and (hopefully) married. I shudder to think about my spouse tryng to raise our son without me. Which is a reminder to us to keep an eye on our own health, not just our kids.
    Thanks for bringing this up AO!

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