Some days, more than others, we are reminded how fragile life can be. Today is such a day for me. A school friend of my son’s was involved in a collision in Wellington on Saturday night, and taken to intensive care. Sunday afternoon the news came he had died.
During Sunday the thought of Josh and his family surrounded me. What it would have been like for them to get the news that their 20-year-old young man was fighting for his life. On facebook messages began appearing, friends telling him to hang in there, others reaffirming the belief he would be fine, some just demanding he fight the fight.
But the fight was too great. And this beautiful young man will never open his eyes again to look out into the faces of those that love him.
Compassion is an emotion that is often mixed – with relief. That it is not me that has to walk the path. I will be honest – today – I am experiencing both compassion for Josh’s family, and relief that I am spared such grief.
When I announced to my Mother-in-law that I was pregnant with my first child, she looked at me and smiled. She then spoke some of the truest words I have ever heard.
“You are about to find out,” she said, “What the word worry really means.”
Wise woman my ex Mother-in-law.
As a parent I have worried over many things.
- Do I or do I not get them vaccinated?
- Are they getting enough milk?
- Are they making friends?
- Are they making the right friends?
- What do I do about teaching them to drink responsibly?
- When do I let them get their license?
- Will this boy/girl break their hearts?
- Why are they not home yet?
The worrying never stops. Even when they leave home there are still hours spent worrying if they have enough to eat, or the right things.
You go on with your life after they leave, that is true. But your children are never far from your thoughts. Recently a friend rang from overseas, at 2 am. That call reminded me how close to the surface the emotion WORRY always is. My heart WAS pounding as I picked up the phone. Had something happened to one of the children?
I wish everyone who is childless would think before they phone a parent of teenage/grown children in the middle of the night.
Today I have been wondering when that awful phone call came for Josh’s parents.
I could not imagine the hope and the dread they must have felt as they made their way to their son. Praying that he would make it through, terrified he would not.
Nothing frightens me more than to think of something happening to one of my kids.
And while I take pride in watching them step out into the world, and I find joy in their accomplishments, I still worry. I always will.
My son arrives home today for some time out before he goes back to sea. I will worry – especially today, that the trip will be okay.
And when he walks through my front door I will hold him that little bit tighter.
I will remember to listen to what my children have to say, to laugh with them, forget the unimportant stuff and just hang out with them, talk with them.
I will remember to tell them, until their knowledge of it is as automatic as breathing, that I love them, every piece of them. That they make me prouder than I could have imagined.
And I will be thankful that I have the time to do these things with them.