Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Haunted by the inevitable

At some point, we are all going to die.

Not like this is ground breaking news that we all didn't realize before, but it's a fact I never really focused on until becoming a mom. Maybe it's because before starting a family, I really didn't care if I met my demise anytime soon. Maybe it's because I feel like I now have something to lose. Whatever the case, I feel like I'm constantly haunted by the inevitable.

Now that my boys are growing a little bit older, my husband and I have more freedom to go out on our own leaving them behind with a sitter. We are enjoying date nights at concerts at The Aggie and Mishawaka and have even started to do some overnight stays at hotels in Denver. The freedom to enjoy these moments with my husband is amazing. Long gone are the days of being home-bound and bored with limits and restrictions that revolve around diaper changes, nap schedules and feeding regimens. Through time, the shackles of babyhood have been broken, leaving us to run free.

On our last kid-free adventure, we drove up to The Mish with friends for a concert. Music blaring, friends laughing, the warm wind blowing through our hair as we rode the twists and turns of the road hugging the beautiful Poudre River while driving up the canyon. Our kids at home with the sitter and safely tucked in their beds, I couldn't help but think how dangerous this trip was. At a moments notice, we could be in a head-on collision, swerve off the road and into the river, or a true reality, hit a deer.

My biggest fear is not knowing what would happen to my kids if both my husband and I were to die at the same time.

Most families are fairly normal. When you have your first baby, one of the most important steps in becoming a parent is drawing up a Will, laying out a plan of care for your children if you should expire earlier than you hoped. Normal families have Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, or some trusted adults named to take over and keep your kids safe. We do not. Without going into a long list of specifics, there is nobody I trust enough with my kids if I should die.

This fact recently hit me like a ton of bricks a few weeks ago after reading the news story in The Coloradoan. The one about the parents who made some very poor decisions, speeding and driving drunk down Lemay, only to end up in a fatal and gory car accident at the insurance office building. They left behind children with no plans for their care. Friends and family rallied to raise money to take care of the mourning children and their future was uncertain.

I can't even begin to explain how disturbing this was to me. Not that my husband and I make stupid decisions like speeding while driving drunk, but life is unpredictable. Anything can happen at any time. My boys could easily be in the same situation, parent-less and bouncing from house to house, or in foster care, while people manage the mess of the aftermath.

These thoughts are often buried deep within the halls of my mind, but every so often a door is opened and I'm tormented by what has surfaced. I don't care about an afterlife, meeting a maker or simply returning to dust. I care immensely about what happens to my children after I'm gone. And until they are able to care for themselves, I will always be haunted by the inevitable.

Kristin Mastre


Kathy said...

It is inevitable that you (and Bill) are going to die. Okay. But it is NOT inevitable that it will happen while your children are still young. Right? When you make a plan to cover the possibilities you may be haunted by, quite often just being prepared will actually prevent the probability of that haunting possibility. Truly.

Marci said...

I have this same fear. I telecommute and have to fly to Kansas a few days a year. I worry about what it would be like for my little girl to grow up without a mother if something happened to me. I have these morbid visions of my husband explaining my death. and I worry that, as much as I love her, she might not remember much about me if I left her so young.
It's one of those things that keeps me awake some nights.