No parent is prepared to lose their child. You are blessed with the supreme gift of parenting, to guide, to love and to raise a child. It is unfathomable to love a being so much and have their life taken before it begins to blossom. Your heart grows fully at their birth to encompass the future of another precious life It is filled with the miracle of the unique being in your arms, full of promise and dreams. A part of your soul shrivels and dies...it shrinks to a hard bitter foul pit impossible to swallow when your child is taken from your arms. There is only faith in the word of your Higher Being that can save you from the bowels of overwhelming despair, it is impossible to defeat the fog of sadness without the hope and promise of a reunion of spirit and heart in another plane.
Just today, I questioned my own reasons for parenthood...why would I project my own unmet dreams on my child? For Olivia to do and be better than I ever accomplished, how unrealistic and unfair are my projected expectations for her life, it can result in an unhealthy unhappy relationship. Why should my success be based on how I raised my girl; to be the very thing that I could not be? One should never expect their child to be what the parent failed to be. Parenting is a responsibility that is daunting and is often fraught with a history of familial pain that can color the joy of THIS precious child in your life. I wasted years without a purpose in my own life. Really, a wasted life until our Tyler was born. Our Tyler was a lesson from God that was life-changing. A gift to share and not be forgotten.
Dearest Olivia, no matter how much I say I don't want you to "be me" I can't prevent you from making the same mistakes that i made. At some point, I have to let my expectations go and know that your life is what you choose and not what I expected it to be. You can't make someone be successful or accomplished as a substitute for your own inadequacies, your child must have that drive on their own. Parenting, empathy, compassion, classes, summper camps can be shown as an example of a full life, but that does not mean that your child will echo your values or exceed your failures. My own life disappointments should not be a pattern for another life based on the expectations of others. My mother felt this pain all her youth and she could not keep the insecurities in her life keep me from repeating them. Momma and I went to couples therapy at one point in our life because our relationship was so fractured and dysfunctional . I'll never forget the counselor asking me "Did I want to repeat the anguish and pain of generations of women before me? Did I have the guts to break free from this cycle of poor self esteem and being a doormat to life's curveballs?" And I fear that my insecurities from my young adulthood have created the same lack of self-esteem in you, my precious Olivia. Parenthood is not easy.
Our children are not a vessel to fulfill our own unmet expectations. They are God's gift to be their own unique beings with His plan for their life. The Greatest Love of All.....
My childhood friend has lost her daughter...my adult friend lost her adult son....we lost our son. Parents are not meant to see their children die before them. It is Hell on earth. There are no words to ease the pain. I was questioning the value of parenting today and then I get a big FACE slap reminder that there is no greater love than a parent to a child. And sometimes that is all there is, the love of child, pure and simple. It makes you human and connects you to life in its fullest. We are linked by our love of family. The love of your child is an unconditional love that encompasses all hurts and disappointments. You love with all your being, you forgive the unforgivable, you hope to instill your values, your dreams and hopes. Then,.at times, you realize most harshly that life with children is not what you planned but a lesson in how you deal with the challenges. This hyper-impatient perfectionist waited 9 1/2 years to hear an "I love you" from a boy with a heart of pure gold. I had to learn to cherish this child that was not whole. How unfair of me to apply a greater standard of perfection to his sister and expect her to be all that I was not, or to compensate for what was lost when Tyler passed away.
Our Children are our future let them lead the way.
I was most unhappy with myself for not funding the Camp Redbird Reunion Picnic this year, held in honor of Tyler. Fred's heart attack was the priority and it consumed my days and funds. It doesn't mean that we have forgotten to memorialize the life we lost. Ty's connection to Camp Redbird was his summer salvation. Once he gained a comrade in his nurse, Gordon, he loved the autonomy of a day without therapy and school. Supporting his causes has always been a comfort in spite of our loss.
I urge those parents to find and support the causes that meant something to their lost child. Lemonade for Cancer, Therapeutic Recreation for the Handicapped, Zap for Cerebral Palsy