Sunday, May 8, 2011
A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. But...there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that's how awful the loss is - Neugeboren 1976
Today is Mother's Day and I find my thoughts turning toward a mother that I do not know but whose pain and grief are the stuff of my nightmares. If you have children you know what I mean. Those late at night moments when you lie awake in a cold sweat worrying about real and imagined horrors that might befall your children and against which you are powerless to protect them.
Lucas' dad is brother to Jonathan #126. I took this picture of Lucas last year. It's just an ordinary image that does little to convey his cherub, gentle, spirit. Just a boy tired from a day playing in the sun, drinking his juice with his sister (not in the shot) but nearby. I wanted to take a few more photos but we didn't know each other well enough for him to open up to me. Still he was sweet and polite and looked directly at me. Not wanting to force a moment by asking him to pose, I moved off to photograph other kids who were playing nearby, thinking that I would undoubtedly get my shot of him another time.
This past January hanging out with friends I took pictures of some of their children. Once again Lucas was unavailable to me because he spent most of the day with the other boys splashing about in the pool. Boys and water are not a good combination for camera lenses so once again I told myself that I would take his picture another time.
There would not be another time. Lucas died in a car accident on Carnival Tuesday.
Lucas has forced me to face an unpleasant truth. You see, I am a worrier. I'm the helicopter mom who hovers about her child trying to sniff out every possible danger at every possible situation before allowing my kids to participate. Honestly I am ridiculous. The swim club Aunties have even banned me from accompanying my child to the pool. He goes with his dad. This tragedy has made me look at my fears differently. I understand that I don't control the universe. Would that I could but despite a parent's best efforts, random and senseless things just happen.
Should something happen to my own children tomorrow would I prefer my memories to be of them sitting on the side lines of life crippled by my fears? Or, will I prefer to have memories of a life they fully lived.
I looked at all the pictures of Lucas on Facebook. He is there with his sister, his uncle, his mom, his grand-dad Vladimir #127 . He is splashing in the small pool at Rampanalagas, visiting a horse farm, having a time in Tobago, sticking a bright orange tongue out to the camera. All testament to the fact that his life though short was full. Full of laughter and love. Ironically it is this love that makes his premature departure so difficult to accept.
To his parents, I'm thinking of you both today. My prayer is not that you find the strength to get over this, you won't; you can't. However I pray God gives you the strength to survive and go on and maybe one day even enjoy some sense of normalcy.