Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Other Side

I got into a silly argument.
I said you can’t protect him.
They said yes we can and they said we resent being told we cannot.
And after I read those words I dope slapped myself.

They are on the other side.
They are on the side where sure, sure random “bad” things can happen but to other people. But as parents we can navigate and shield our child from them. Their side says “We CAN keep him safe.”

They are on the side that offers power and assurance.
They are on the side that creates an illusion of strength and fortitude.
They are on the side I used be on.
The side where I could remove the mere threat of pain or at least negate it away.
That side is where I could plan for the possible assaults to their beings and plan how to keep them out of harm’s way.
That side is where I talked to professionals and stayed up talking to my husband about what we needed to “do” to improve a situation for our child.

That side is driven by action words like: DO, EXPLAIN, PROTECT.

This side I’m on now is different.
This side says gently “You cannot protect but in their tears you can show them their courage.”
This side says “You cannot make it go away, but you can teach them that the feelings won’t swallow them hole and that they won't last either.”
This side says "I am but a steward for my children. They have their own paths which I know nothing of or understand." In this case, their paths include learning to handle the loss of their father.
This side says “Have faith.”
This side finds me in a heap on my bed humbled by my inability to shield them and knowing that this inability is KEY to the amazing people they are becoming.
This side says, “Trust and love fiercely without getting in the way of the bullets.”

This side drops me to my knees when I watch my daughter loose her sanctuary (her school) because of the death of another child's father in her class. And every day afterward, when she entered her class, she faced remembering how she felt just one year ago.

This side has me awed as I watch my youngest son calmly respond to a child who is stupid enough to say something cruel about my son’s dead father. I want to slap that child, but my eight year old son responds “I’m glad you don’t understand what it means to lose a parent. I don’t like what you said and I’m not going to talk to you anymore.” His wisdom beyond anything I have ever witnessed.

Those people are on that side of pretend power, of control, of DO, EXPLAIN, PROTECT.

I am on this side that says HOLD, LOVE, CRY and RELEASE.

From here I see the inspiring strengths of my children in a way that both marvels and humbles me.

From this side, I marvel at my children’s ability to thrive in circumstances that shut the coping door for many.

If I had to choose, I would never be on this side but now that I am here...

It is such a beautiful awe inspiring view.


  1. Holy cr*p, Kim! This is AMAZING! Not just amazing writing (which it is), but amazing insight. I honestly had never connected loss--our loss, *the* loss--with the well-intentioned futility of trying to protect our children from bad things in the world. I have been focused more on how it has changed my perspective on my own life, finally helping me *get* the importance of enjoying and celebrating and focusing on the journey, since "destinations" can be so, well, easily taken away. But until now I had not thought of it in terms of how it might change my parenting. I do, actually, find I am trusting my kids to fight more of their own battles. I listen to their concerns, ask what they think they could do, and offer suggestions if asked or if I think I have a nugget of wisdom that might help, but it is easier now to let it be *their* fight, not mine.

    Leave it to the miracle of the widowed web to help connect the dots for me. Thank you. Hugs.


  2. Wonderful post. You are so right. Though I really wish I was still on the other side, the view from here is inspiring.

  3. So well said, Kim. Thank you. --Ha

  4. Your kids are amazing.
    All our kids are amazing.
    Can't wait to meet you in just 5 weeks!