Day 3 After Nathan's Death
I woke up thinking about Lisa and feeling super mad at Nathan for the pain he’s causing all of us. It’s easier to be mad at him than to feel the heaviness of his loss. It's easier to be mad at him than to look at my own vulnerability that his death has exposed.
I became vulnerable the moment I gave birth to my first child.
And I have been trying to ignore that feeling ever since. The older my kids get, the more I try to bury my vulnerability. The less control I have over their lives, the less willing I am to think about them dying before me.
Pedophiles, poisons under the sink, and car seats are all behind us now. I long for that simpler life when protecting them was about putting a baby gate up.
Vulnerability is terrifying.
Yes, it makes you kinder. It makes you happier. Recognizing your vulnerability allows you to engage in life with grace and to recover more quickly when life punches you hard.
Despite all that, it makes my skin itchy wild with fear and powerlessness.
“I need you to promise me something,”
I said to my daughter the day Nathan died. She looked at me, scared. I had never asked her to promise me anything.
“Please let me die first. Please.” I begged. The 'please' got stuck in a sob.
Trying to recover, I added, “And tell your brothers too. Let me die first. I want to die first. I could not handle it if I had to bury one of you.”
I know this is a lie. I would have to handle it. I just couldn’t and can't imagine how.
I waited for her to say the words. She said, gently, softly, knowing she may not be able to keep the promise but aware of how badly I needed to hear it.
“I promise, Mom.”
I know it’s a promise to comfort a fool. I know the older she and her brothers get and the older I get the more lulled I become, believing that that promise will be kept.
And then I think of my in-laws. Their oldest son, my husband, wasn’t able to keep his promise.
And now I’m crying for them.
Finally, I stop. She has promised me. I pick up my day where I left off, in the kitchen making dinner.