I thought putting Hailey down for her nap was one of the safest places she could ever be...but when it was her time to go, ultimately there was nothing I could have done about it. I have a REALLY difficult time letting Lexi or Ava go off with other people, even family on some of my rough days. Every time they are out of my sight I'm worrying that something is going to happen to them. (Not because I don't trust the people they're with, but just because they're not with me. Which is so ironic because it's not like being with me would change anything. Hailey did die when she was with me...ouch.) But still, every time Lexi leaves with a friend, family member, or even her own father, who absolutely adores her, I am terrified it will be the last time I'll see her smile, hear her laugh, or have her tell me she loves me. (Hailey had just started saying, "I love you Mommy.") Whenever Ava is in bed, nap or night, I have a monitor on and am constantly listening for her stirring around. If it goes too long that I don't hear her, I'm up there in her room making sure she's still breathing. Even more terrifying for me is when Sean has both the girls in the car somewhere. All I can think about until they're home safely is that if there were an accident I could lose my entire family in one shot.
This fear isn't just about my kids though, it trickles down to all my loved ones, both family and friends. Whenever I don't hear Sean snoring away in his sleep (Sorry Babe!) I'm terrified that he's had a random heart attack and died. Or when he's on a mountain bike ride I wonder if there are any mountain lions in the area that day. I fear my mother getting into a car accident in her little 2 door mid-life crisis of a car. (Love you Mom!) I'm afraid every time my sister travels that she won't return or every time my father goes out for a bike ride he'll get hit by a car (Seriously Dad, wear your helmet.).
I'm so sorry for the vivid details, especially to those I named, but I'm just trying to be honest about how serious this fear really is...and how complete and detailed my thoughts and fears are. It is my reality.
I just can't stand the thought of "losing" another person I love so dearly. I put that in quotations because I know they're not actually lost...but it sure feels that way sometimes. Anyways, I know I used to always say that if I ever lost a child I wouldn't be able to survive and go on. Yet, here I am, doing just that! So that gives me the hope, but then again, two people I love...way too much to bear. I also know the odds of something else tragic happening are quite slim, but it's definitely not unheard of or impossible.
Unfortunately for me, I also now know all too well, actually EXACTLY, what death looks like...and feels like, physically and emotionally. I constantly see Hailey over and over again in my head the way she looked when I walked into her room that horrible day. Trust me, I don't think about it willingly or dwell on it. I mean why the heck would I ever want to torture myself like that? But it just pops into my head randomly and often unexpectedly. Now, every time I see on the the news or hear of a child who has died, I can see what they look like, I can feel how their precious body feels, and I am flooded with pain for their family. I can't even count how many times I've seen Lexi and Ava like that in my mind. It's so horrible.
Now, not to sound conceited or anything, but I also worry a lot about something happening to myself. Not because I think I'm so great and the world couldn't go on without me. I mean, maybe that's true, but more realistically, it's because of my children and family. I can't even stand the thought of what that would do to Lexi. She is such a Mommy's girl, always has been, and I'm not sure that she would end up okay if I had to leave her. Thinking that Ava wouldn't even remember me or know who I was is beyond words. Plus, the thought of not being able to physically watch my girls grow up and encourage them and dry their tears and get excited with them and laugh with them, etc., literally makes me nauseous. Also, as wonderful as my husband is, I'm not sure he could handle my job. The house would be a disaster!!!
I know sometimes it probably seems I talk a lot more about Lexi than Ava. Of course, it doesn't mean I love one more than the other, I just relate more to Lexi right now because of her age. She has also been the most instrumental person in pulling me through everything having to do with Hailey...from her birth and health issues all the way to her death. She is the reason I've stayed strong and positive and faithful. Not because of her support, but because of her need. Sean needs me too, but he's a strong guy and could probably take care of himself if he absolutely HAD to and Ava is so young that I'm not sure she'd notice that much if I was gone! She is, I guess, just starting to need me more emotionally and become more attached to me, which I love. But it terrifies me as well. I have had to make a tremendous effort not to "punish" her for what happened with Hailey. Not because I blame her in any way, of course, but because I have this enormous wall up around my heart in order to protect it from getting ripped to shreds again. Getting close to Ava puts me at such a high risk for that. She is so awesome though and we have so much fun together. Her personality is hilarious! I plan on taking some "Mommy and Me" classes with her once Lexi starts school to keep me busy and also give us some much needed quality and bonding time!
Anyways, in closing, as I mentioned before, I am well aware that the control of life and death is essentially out of my hands. I'm not sure if it's more comforting or terrifying to know that I don't have control over when my loved ones are going to leave this Earth and me for a while. I know the Lord loves me, and them, and has an individual plan for each of us. However, I just wish he'd consult me first on all his decisions! I'm also grateful for the knowledge I have of the after life and the fact that my loved ones who have passed on are still very much alive and I will be with them again one day.
For now, all I can do is keep my family as safe as possible, let them know how much I love them every opportunity I get, and fully enjoy them!! I hate to waste any precious time we have together worrying or hiding behind a wall around my heart. So I'm working on it...I'm pretty good at the safety thing and expressing my love, it's the enjoyment part that I struggle with. Although, this past few months I have really let down my guard and "uptightness" and I have to say, I've had a blast with my girls...and Sean too!!!
Thank you to all of you who took the time to read this. I know it wasn't one of my most uplifting posts, but it is my reality. One of the goals of my blog is to openly and honestly share my journey through grief. Unfortunately, this is one of the realities of that journey. So I am grateful for your support, during the good times and the bad!