Saturday, September 1, 2012

Did I love my child enough???

How many times have those of us who have lost a child asked ourselves this question?  But I believe if our children could speak to us, their answer would be: "yes mom you did and even though I'm not there with you physically,  you are still loving me"  This is what I want to believe and this question that we've all asked ourselves from time to time is so poignantly addressed in the following... 

~ by Dana Rogers ~TCF Galveston, TX ~ In memory of my son, Rick Rogers

I hope I did.  It’s sad that now I ‘m only able to look back and hope I did.  There are no do-overs.  There are no, “I’m sorrys”.  There are no thoughts of  “I’ll do better next time” or “I’ll spend more time with him today.” 

The lesson I learned is so valuable but it’s a lesson you only learn when you lose a child.  Oh, I wish I could tell him that it was OK that he lined his shoes against the entire wall of his bedroom when I sent him in there to clean his closet.  In fact I should have said it was ingenious or adorable or maybe commented on how long it must have taken him to do this.  Any of these things would have been better than the way it actually played out.  I can’t remember the exact words but I can remember the disappointment in his eyes. Oh, how I wish I could do this over.  This is one of the guilts I can never undo. 

I can only whisper “I’m sorry, Rick” and hope he hears. When he had a fever and came and sat next to me to chase away the fever-induced villains, did I hug him or reassure him that I would always be there to care for and protect him.  Or did I continue to watch my soap opera knowing that this episode would never be shown again but they would continue with the next chapter of the story tomorrow?  I wish I had realized then that life is the same.  The words I spoke or the indifference I showed would be forever held in that slot of history. 

We are human and we tend to have a selfish side.  A side of us that also wants what we want.  However, when we have children that side is usually put up on a shelf to be taken out and dusted off and appreciated in the days after our children leave to begin their own lives.  When it is brought down earlier we might use those times as learning experiences—teaching our child to share or to realize that as parents we have wants and needs also but then we put this selfish side back on the shelf to be enjoyed later.  When the child leaves a parent has time to reflect and distinguish between our good memories and our bad.  “Others” who haven’t lost their children for good, the ones whose children are just away at college or starting a family of their own have a priceless opportunity to correct any wrongs that haunt them.
The wrongs are slight in the eyes of many and would be in my eyes if my son were alive.  But what could have been learning experiences are now my nightmares.  I could say that those episodes were part of life.  I might could even pride myself on my accomplishments as a parent, given myself credit for his wonderful outcome.

What do I credit myself for now?  That he didn’t live?  That it didn’t turn out the way I had planned when he was born?  Do I give myself credit for any of the good things I did?  No, I can’t remember many.  What stands out in my mind are regrets, the things I wish I could do-over.  If only I would have known that each day was a blessing.  Each minute was priceless.  Each smile was a gift from heaven.  Each tooth lost was a step toward adulthood and ever closer to the orthodontist’s office.

I can only hope that he hears me and believes me when I say, “I’m sorry, Rick” and I can only hope that he knew how much I loved him because there are no do-overs in my life regarding my son.  I asked myself daily,

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