Honestly, there are many days when I resent you. Yes, you random reader, who have no idea how lucky you have it. Last year when the first graders would bring home their journals from school and your kids would have random writings about unicorns and princesses and fairies and spaceships and dogs, MY first grader was bringing home a journal that said things like this: ------------------------------------
One day, I went to the chrch and I sol my Dad. My Mom was crying. Then some people brot my Dad to the plaswher a caskit gets dug in the grawnd. Then I strted to cry to.
One day my Dad dide wan I was at my ants hous. Then when I got home I do not no what I did whin I got home.
One day my mom wos crying about my Dad. Then after my mom stopt crying we fixtouwrtramprlen. Then my mom strted to cry agen. Then I sedwat is the mater mom. ( in response tothis day )
One day I sol my Dad in a cascit. And I felt his head And it was cold. And I sol a pichr of my Dad. And I love him. And I want him bak for evre.
And he drew THIS picture.
---------------------------- I bet most of your kids don't even know what a casket is or what it looks like. Regardless, I bet your kids are drawing pictures of their dads playing catch or reading books or mowing the lawn or playing golf. No, MY first grader? MINE? He was drawing a picture of his dad in a casket.
And if you were reading last month, you already know what MY kids were doing on an after-school afternoon while yours were eating snacks and doing homework.
So, I sometimes resent you and your normal life. Sometimes I think I just want to be surrounded by others who are like me.
And you know what MY kids did this Autumn Saturday while your kids were playing football, were at the movies or were playing video games? My kids were at camp. Camp Courageous, that is. A camp put on by one of our local hospice agencies for kids who have experienced a significant loss in their lives. And I resent you and your normal Saturday activities while my kids were at a camp for which the entire premise is A CHILD'S TRAGEDY.
I can only hope that my children took comfort in realizing they are not the only children living without a parent. I can only pray that they felt good knowing that their "normal" is the same "normal" many other kids get. Cuz, me? I didn't feel any better about it. I didn't feel any better looking around the room knowing these kids have the same crap to deal with as mine. In fact, the slightly glued together pieces of my broken heart fell apart all over today as I watched two six-year-old girls hold tattered teddies in one hand and grab each others wrists with the other hand delighting that "HER DADDY IS A GUARDIAN ANGEL TOO. WE ARE SO LUCKY!" I can only pray that made Grant feel a bit better to have those girls in his group. Because it didn't make me feel one ounce better.
It made me feel worse.
Then, I went to support a friend in a SHARE WALK she organizes - an event to remember babies lost in miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death. Babies who never had a chance to live life let alone experience a loss. I was surrounded by people grieving the loss of a life that was barely, if at all, lived.
When I went to pick up the kids, I found myself sharing "end-of-life, cancer, where do we go from here" stories with a sad, slightly anxious single dad who is left to raise a 6 year old daughter.
As I was resenting you, and wishing I could surround myself with others like me, I looked around the room at 70 kids and many more adults picking them up. I realized, I WAS surrounded by others like me. Others who also don't WANT their kids to be a part of this camp. Other single moms and dads left behind in the wake of tragedy and illness. Other kids just like mine living without moms and dads or aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas who were doing the parenting anyway. On the street, I would not have recognized that I was surrounded by those like me. It was only through Camp Courageous and the Sharewalk that I saw our common bonds called grief, loss, anxiety, loneliness, despair, sorrow and fear.
I also realized that as I resent you and your "normal" life and as I wish I could surround myself with others like me, I REALLY DON'T WANT to surround myself with others like me. I WANT you to have your "normal." I don't want others to be in my club. I don't want other kids in my kids' club. That doesn't help anything.
I will stop resenting you because the last thing I want is for you to walk in these shoes.