Saturday, November 06, 2010

Day 6 - Something you hope you never have to do - 30 days of truth

I spent a great deal of time trying to think of something else to write about for this one. Something that doesn't send me into a panic attack just thinking about it, but I can't.

The single thing I hope I never have to do is bury one of my children. Just typing those words makes my heart race.

There are mamas whose blogs I read who have lost their babies, and I can't fathom the depth of their pain or the strength that they must have to put one foot in front of the other daily. They amaze me and terrify me all at the same time - because it could happen to any of us.

Several years ago, my youngest piano student at the time was killed in a car accident. Her father was driving. He didn't see a stop sign, ran it, and a pick up truck hit them. The little girl died at the scene.

She was six.

At the visitation, I was close to the end of the line to speak to the parents. It took about three hours to make it to them. I watched and studied how people addressed them, how the parents reacted. Could I cry with them? Should I be strong and not cry? Do I hug them? Do I say that I'm sorry?

I was terrified.

The week before, this little girl had played in her very first piano recital. She was so excited and so proud of herself. Her father plays, and both of her older sisters had played, but this was her turn. It was finally her turn to be up there and perform. She wore a navy blue dress and ankle socks. Her hair was pulled back in a headband.

She performed perfectly.

The next week she was gone.

When I approached her parents, her father collapsed onto me. I held him up while he sobbed for what seemed like hours. I didn't know them especially well, but I think that the importance of music in their family coupled with the recent recital made my presence rip the very tentative bandage off of the wound.

I just stood there and held him. I thanked them both for letting me have the chance to teach their daughter and told them that I would miss her very much. I told them about how she told me she was named for a pop singer (she was not, but they shared the name). I told them that getting to spend just 45 minutes a week with her had been a blessing, and that I was so sorry for their loss.

This was years before I had children. I didn't have any reference point to the pain they felt.

Then, last week, Christopher ran across the street without me. He didn't look; he didn't pause. He was fine. But the thought of losing him in an accident - so violent and sudden - so physically painful - I couldn't stomach it. I cried when I caught up to him. I grabbed his arms a little too hard when I pulled him to me. I held him longer than usual when we hugged our "I'm sorry's".

So that is it. I hope I never have to live a day without my children in my world. I don't know how I would cope.