It has been more than seven years. Seven years into this loss-journey.
Grief is the one thing that comes back from time to time. It visits like a regular guest in my life now.
But there is also fear.
When we had our first daughter, I always knew: “Kids don‘t die that easily.“ It was like a deep inner knowledge. They may break a bone, or get a bruise.
Don‘t worry too much.
Of course, I knew that kids could die, but I always “knew” that they don‘t, too.
“It may be hard now, but we will go through this, and we’ll be fine.“
My second daughter died at 34 weeks. It was a normal, healthy pregnancy. Until she suddenly stopped moving, and the midwife told me there was no heartbeat anymore. A Thrombus in the umbilical cord.
Just like that, she was dead.
Kids do die that easily.
Unnoticed in the moment of their death.
So I said grief is the one thing – fear is the other.
I know how to deal with my grief by now. I face it, I avoid it, and sometimes I run from it. But I know it.
Fear is a monster. One moment you sit there, looking at the clock and suddenly it whispers.
‘Isn‘t the eldest on a school trip? This might be the second of her death. Maybe she is drowning right now. Maybe the ferry sank on their way back home. Maybe she is bleeding on the street after the bus crashed…”
“Isn‘t the youngest sleeping? Maybe this is the second of her death. Maybe she managed to strangle herself in her sleep with something you did not see. Maybe she is sick, and you did not realize it. Did she not cough earlier?“
“Isn‘t it time for your husband to head home? Maybe this is the second of his death. Maybe he just….“
“Maybe you will think back and forever remember this moment. Remember what you did, when you did not know she/he was dying.“
The first years were a constant battle against fear, trying not to tie down my family with my fears.
Sometimes I overdid it.
And let my kids do things others viewed as risky, just because my danger-radar was broken.
And I could not trust my gut.
Was it ok for a four-year-old to go to the shop down the street alone? Can I allow her (a good swimmer) to go swimming with her teacher at school at age 10?
Like avoiding grief does not do anything good, avoiding fear does not help either. Each fear had to be tested. Is it a rational fear or not?
Am I ignoring the danger, because I do not want to face my feeling of fear?
Am I holding them back, in my attempt to avoid risks?
Are these risks real, or is my fear the real danger to their development?
Grief, fear, doubt…
I miss the “knowledge“ that kids don‘t die that easily.