It’s been a sad week here at the ranch. (FYI, it’s not really a ranch. It’s a subdivision) Both girls have been sick since last week with an absolute never-ending cruddy virus that had them both at the Dr’s office and me Googling things that parents shouldn’t be Googling if they want to sleep at night.
Then on Wednesday Mad’s dog (that lived with her father) had to be put to sleep. Mad was heartbroken. We’ve had many tear-soaked discussions about why it had to happen and how Mad knows that Daisy is in a wonderful place now, out of pain and with everyone that we love that has already passed on. We’ve talked about other pets that have passed, a couple that she was too little to remember and some that I had long before I became a mom.
We discussed how the loving never stops, and that the hurt becomes less, easier to accept and how one day, the only thing left will be the many years worth of great memories we had because we were lucky enough to have that animal in our lives. I found a really nice little ebook to download and print off for Mad that she could work on when she felt like it, and made sure that the lines of communication were open at all times. We talked about how any emotion is valid and OK to talk about. Angry, sad, lonely, all normal and OK. Even relief that a pet isn’t suffering anymore is OK.
What I wasn’t prepared for was our drive to school this morning. Even though the bus runs by our neighborhood, I drive her to school every morning. I have since pre-K at Vine Street. Mad & I don’t get much alone time, and with Hal at school and Mark at work, it’s our guaranteed time to talk, sing,
make fun of people make a plan for the day.
So out of left field Mad asked why anyone has to die at all. Ugh..you guys. I had a million different things go thru my mind at once. If I answer wrong, do I screw up my baby forever? Put her on a therapist’s couch? Make her scared of death? I went with honest and simple, thank God. I told her that everything lives and everything passes. People, animals, all of us. And then she threw this at me….”Mom, where will Hallee go when you’re gone?”. Holy Jesus on a pogo-stick, kid. It’s 8:30 in the morning, I’ve only had one cup of coffee and you ask me the ONE QUESTION that has had me pacing floors, pulling my hair out and crying over the sleeping form of my oldest daughter since she was diagnosed with autism 13 years ago.
Any parent of a special needs child who will likely live at home forever walks the floor with this one. FEAR. OVERWHELMING FEAR. Where will my child end up? Will they be kind to her? Will she be OK? Safe? Will anyone love her? Care for her? Understand her? What if something happens to me before I’m ready to go? Will her sister care for her? Is it fair to even consider it? What if she’s scared? Looks for me? Oh God, there’s not enough Xanax in the world to deal with this on a GOOD DAY.
But I know Mad has this on her mind right now and she deserves an honest answer. I told her that Mark and I would make sure that Hal was safe and cared for.
Mad: Will I take care of her?
Me: No. You have your own busy life to live. Hal will be OK. (I’m dying inside right now)
Mad: But what if I want to? What if we want to?
Me: Well then that’s your choice, but that’s a very long way off. We’ll always have a safe place for Hallee and she’ll have what she needs. She always needs you to love her, but you don’t have to take care of her.
Me: Jesus, take the wheel.
As Hal gets closer to 18, we’ve begun preparing for guardianship, talking about trusts, houses, things that Hal will need for the day that we’re not here. And it kills me. It’s almost too hard to write about, so I’ll keep it brief. Every parent hates the idea of leaving their child. Even if their child is a grown up with children of their own. The idea of leaving a child, who even as an adult will always be a child, who will never understand where you went and wants you back…Lord Jesus. You start planning. At 45, healthy, active, busy. You start planning for a future without you in it, and you guys? You’re heart will break over and over again.
So there you have it. That’s what’s happening here this week. Good times, right? Next week the kids are on vacation & the only plan I have is to make happy memories with my girls. Laugh, be goofy and just enjoy being. We deserve that.