Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back Burner

As a young mother, I learned about the back burner. That simmering pot that sits there with all your worries and fears. You know it's there. You can't ignore it. People will not let you ignore it, but you learn when to turn the heat up and pay attention. Sometimes you even move that pot of fears to the front burner and check on the bubbling brew. But you can't live like that. 

Some mommies had the back burner bubbling away over things that I thought were silly, but it wasn't my pot. Pacifiers hitting the floor are still good and don't need to be sterilized. I remember all the stupid crap we would put in our mouths as kids. 

But the pot is still there bubbling. With some of the worst fears parents have. It is the reason the pot never gets emptied. 

I remember my ex telling me about a dream he had about our oldest daughter when she was about 3 years old. Our beautiful little thumb sucker who had a woobie blanket that went everywhere, I mean everywhere, with her. He said he dreamed that two men came to the door and he gave our daughter to the men and the next morning in his dream when he was going out the front door, there on the porch was one of her little shoes. And her woobie. I remember being so angry and not speaking to him the whole rest of the day and that was just a dream. 

That is how easy it is for a mom to bring that pot to a full boil and scald yourself. 

Then your little kids grow up to be teenagers who I adore but the fears now seem so magnified. The fears are so much all around you. My poor oldest daughter. Until I learned to turn the heat on the pot down, we both got burned. But no parent wants that phone call. 

And now a friend of mine got that phone call. Her oldest son was dead. She calls me and she tells me that the stupid practicalities of his death are driving her nuts, but not as nuts as the people filled with fault finding. Things my friend and her husband should have done differently. Being the mother of an addict is hard enough, but the coulda woulda shoulda people are hurting her. Do they imagine she did not have her pot on the front burner and was doing everything they knew how to fix this? 

They fought so hard for him. And I know in my heart every step they took was done because they wanted him to live. They never gave up on him. In their darkest moments, all they wanted was their son back from his hell. But they lost him. At twenty five years old.

I am hoping I can help her in some way. Anyway. If only even to be a place to boil over.


Bill Stankus said...

A hole in the heart ... can never be filled. I cry with you because there will be ghosts. Too many sleepless nights, too much pain. It doesn't cover it but life is sometimes so cruel. Best wishes to all.

Amy said...

How well put, and how tragic. I'm so sorry. It's such a shame that people pass judgement they way they do. I know we're all guilty of it at some point, but in the midst of loss it is so futile and damaging. Thank goodness for friends like you who are there to comfort and console unconditionally. Peace to you all.

@eloh said...

You can help. Just don't turn away. People don't know what to say or do when someone loses their child or children. And of course it is very painful to watch, so they just stay clear.

Don't stay clear, and don't be afraid you will say the wrong thing...just be there.

Jeanne said...

As a person well acquainted with people suffering from an addiction, I can't say enough how sorry I am for these people. My prayers are with them.


BEAUTIFULLY written. that was straight from the heart, just like i like them. as an ex-wife of an alcoholic, you can't make them well, only they can, and it is an impossible situation to watch someone you love destroy themselves. good thoughts and prayers go out to your friends.

MJ said...

Worst fears for certain. I want my children for keeps, and I never want them to experience any more pain that perhaps a scraped knee. I absolutely cannot imagine the pain that comes with losing a child. There's no word for that kind of soul-crushing pain is there?

Aunt Juicebox said...

I'm sorry about your friend's loss.