Ever since I was little, I always worried that somebody close to me would die. I was terrified I’d grow up without one of my siblings or parents (I was okay with grandparents since they were kind of supposed to go first, although I wasn’t excited about the idea). It’s always seemed almost miraculous to make it to adulthood without experiencing that kind of grief.
I don’t know why it never dawned on me that getting married and having children would be opening myself up to that vulnerability all over again. From the moment I realized I was in love with M, I started worrying about him. If he’d be a little late getting home from work, I’d be terrified he got in an accident. I’m afraid he’ll get seriously sick or something and leave me all alone. I’ve been alone before, so I could handle that part, but I’d miss him every second of every day. I feel a touch of grief even considering the possibility.
But even that can’t begin to compare to the worry I feel for my kids. I was forced to consider the loss of one of my children early, both with the early bleeds I had with PJ and then his premature birth. I realized early on that I loved that child so much, regardless of the pain that he caused with his conception and the pregnancy, that I would be grief-stricken for the rest of my life if I lost him.
And now I have two children to worry about. I’ve found it incredibly hard lately to watch TV shows that include death, especially if the death is a child. I don’t want to read books where anyone dies, and I find it difficult to even read blogs where someone has recently suffered a loss, as much as I wish I could be there to support these women. I’m so afraid that these stories, fictional or real, will hit too close to home one of these days. If only it worked that way–that by avoiding the stories, I can somehow protect myself from having them happen in my own life. In reality, I suppose I’m only trying to protect myself from feeling the grief if it doesn’t directly affect me.
I know I need to get over this. There is nothing supernatural about tragedy; I can’t wear some sort of talisman to keep it from happening to my family. Nor does escaping such tragedy in my early life mean I’m doomed to experience it in my adult life. I can’t let all the happy times with my family be overshadowed by my worry that something bad could happen (not that I usually do).
So why write about this now? Well, those three dreaded letters have been mentioned twice in the last day: RSV. M’s boss’s daughter was hospitalized because of it (she’s fine now, by the way), and the boys’ cousin also has it and only narrowly avoided hospitalization. Their cousin is in the line of infection that made all of us sick. It’s entirely possible our cold is really RSV. Most of the time only those with weak immune systems are at any real risk from it, especially preemie babies. It was a real worry over the last two winters when PJ was young enough to be seriously affected from it. But I never expected to worry about it with BabyN because he was a healthy term baby.
The other two babies we know who were affected were also healthy term babies, though. Apparently healthy babies aren’t exempt from having problems either. Suddenly I’m paranoid about every cough or sneeze from BabyN. That rattle in his breath, is that a sign of breathing problems? I don’t want to nag the doctor and keep hearing the same things–mainly, not to worry–but I don’t want to overlook something serious either. I don’t think I can handle another child hospitalized. Instead I just keep worrying, postponing calling the doctor and worrying I’m doing the wrong thing. This motherhood business is tough.