“I’ll eat ant poison so I can go be with Daddy.”
“Oh no, you can’t do that, because then you won’t be with me or your sister or any of your other family or friends”
“I would still be able to see you and get in the van. I just wouldn’t be able to buckle my car seat, but you could put up a picture of me.”
“Let’s please not do that, Mommy wants you here as long as possible.”
“Ok, I’ll wait til I’m really old to eat the ant poison”
This is a conversation with my five year old son who lost his father to a drug overdose 14 short months ago. I would like to say this was the first and last conversation of this type, but it’s not and it won’t be. Last time it was benedryl, and god only knows what it will be next time.
By the way did you catch the pet where I said that was my five year old? I can’t begin to imagine how complicated his fathers death is to process for him. Everyday it feels like he stabs me with a fresh cut of grief and sadness.
Why did Daddy want to die?
Why did Daddy take those drugs?
Where is Daddy?
I miss my Daddy.
I’m sad, and my feelings are hurt because my daddy is dead.
I just want my daddy to take me to the Mcwane Center (our local hands on kids museum).
I love my Daddy
EVERY SINGLE DAY!
Everyday I panic and pray I am comforting him in the way he needs me to. I pray I’m giving him the answers he needs. I beg that I am setting him up for a life of happiness and healing. I try to dress each new wound, knowing yesterday’s still hasn’t healed. It feels like every time I can take one bandaid off I have to add another one, and I’m left with all the scars of the old ones.
I also have my own thoughts and questions EVERY SINGLE DAY!
Why do my children have to experience such heavy adult feelings?
Will they be ok?
Am I doing this right?
Am I helping them like I should?
What am I messing up?
Why can’t I just make everything better?
Why did you do this to me?
Why did you leave me alone?
How will I make it?
I’m so overwhelmed I feel like I’m drowning.
What does their future hold?
This all falls on my shoulders.
I love you, and miss you, and need you.
This isn’t my story, this can’t be my story!
THIS IS NOT FAIR!
Yes, I did say children. We have two. My five year old son with the daily stabbings and reminders of our reality, and my now nine year old daughter who would rather hide in her bedroom and play with her toys than talk about her feelings. She’s fine to share a happy memory or tell a funny story, but just like her father she totally shuts down if any uncomfortable feelings or emotions are brought up. I’m living in constant fear she’s going to grow up with the same demons as her father. That she is going to try to self medicate. How do I keep her safe? How do I make sure she makes good choices? How do I shield her from the evils in this world that can provide such comfort to those searching for something to make them feel good? I know I’ll do everything in my power to help her avoid that messy dirty road, and I know it won’t be easy.
I know how easy it is to find comfort in the things that bring us temporary relief from the pain. Sex, alcohol, social media, food, partying, under eating, over eating, over exercising, being sedentary, and any other way to escape the pain, heartbreak, and grief and feel good even if it’s only temporary and just a quick fix.
How I wish I could have saved him! How I tried to save him! If I had just tried something else would my story be different? What I have come to believe is that I did the best I could, and I can’t save anyone. What I can do though is save myself. Do everything I need to in order to care for myself, and that will help all of us. As long as I do everything I can to save myself that will mean I am doing everything I can to save my children.
I know I won’t be able to save them, I wasn’t able to save my husband, but I will do everything in my power to save myself. This will hopefully be the best example I can give my children. They are what he left me, and I am forever grateful for both of them. I will do everything in my power to give them my best so they can grow up to be their best.