I don't consider myself to be a paranoid person. Generally. But there are some things that I have to do a certain way ... for luck. There was a time when I was afraid to let my husband get a v@sectomy, not because I thought there was even the remotest chance that I might want a third child - my two wee ones keep me hopping enough as it is, and I know my personal limits - but because if we made it so that we couldn't have another child, that was inviting something bad to happen to one of our current children. We could never replace a child were something horrible to happen, but the possibility of procreating somehow in my sleep-addled mind kept away the bogey man.
It's silly, isn't it?
But two nights ago I had a nightmare that woke me up at 4:30am and kept me from sleeping the rest of the night. In my dream, I had to euthanize my dad. He was sick and wasn't doing well, and my mom wasn't up to doing it herself. We were all in our "house" (which of course wasn't my actual house, not only because it was spotless) talking about how to do it and how it had to be me. My dad said good-bye to the wee ones, and the plan was for me to drive my parents back to their house for the actual euthanasia. Trying to explain to the wee ones that Grandpa was going to die. And he was going to die tonight was beyond heartbreaking.
When we got to my parents' house, my dad called the wee ones one last time to say good-bye, although I have no idea how we got through any of that. I was the one who had to load the syringe, and I was going to be the one who had to actually do the injection. I was a mess and shaking in my dream. I am grateful only that I woke up before I actually pushed the plunger - and that two days later, this is all the detail of the dream I remember, because I remembered every second of my long and intense dream when I woke up.
As soon as it was decently possible, I called my parents to ensure that my dad was ok. He was. I didn't tell them about my dream. How could I?
That nightmare got me thinking, though. I have no idea how I will someday - and I hope very far away someday - get through the loss of my parents. And more importantly, how will the wee ones? They absolutely adore my parents and they see them and spend time with them constantly. They are so much more a part of their lives than typical grandparents are. They take them to gymnastics and tae kwon do and to laser tag and have them spend the night, not because they have to but because they genuinely want to.
My dad had pneumonia last week that amazingly didn't linger forever and turn into anything worse, as it tends to do with him at least once a year now. Mister Man came home from school last week and announced to me once he'd heard that Grandpa was on the mend, "Of course he is. I prayed for him at church on Wednesday, that's why he got better so fast." That melted my heart, but I know someday all the prayers in the world won't help him get better at all, let alone "so fast" as he did this time.
I have no magic amulets. I have no secret code to keep my parents here and healthy and alive forever. I don't know how I'll survive without them, and I'm eternally grateful that I haven't had to try. My fingers are crossed that I don't have to try for many many many years.
Have you lost your parents? How have you coped with that type of grief and loss?
In the interest of full disclosure, this was part of the From Left To Write book club where we don't write traditional book reviews but instead write posts inspired by the books we read. I received a copy of "Signs of Life" by Natalie Taylor for review purposes only. I received no compensation, and all opinions remain my own.