I can’t help but think of that woman I saw on the beach… The woman who was wearing the large sunhat that covered her perfectly bald head. (Entry Fifty Six- Acknowledgement)
I had a therapy appointment a couple of weeks ago and I mentioned that interaction to my social worker. I became just as emotional talking about it then as I had when I saw her on the beach that day.
Why did this affect me so deeply?
I initially thought the connection was because I was a cancer survivor and now I am seeing someone who is in the throes of it.
But as I thought about it more this didn’t make a lot of sense. I was a child at the time of my diagnosis. She is a woman. She has a husband and children to worry about. I didn’t have those worries when I was sick. I didn’t have to worry about what would happen to my children should something happen to me…
That was it.
It took me several weeks to figure it out, but that was the connection.
We both share the same unspoken worry… Who will talk care of our children if/when we are no longer around?
It is assumed that as a child grows, they will progressively become independent. “Leave the nest” as they say. Some parents are gone before this can happen. Some parents don’t have that privilege. This may be the case for the aforementioned woman. Some children are never ready to “leave the nest.” This may be the case for me.
So then what happens?
What happens when the parents are gone but their children aren’t independent?
There is no choice but to delegate the care of your child to someone else. And you have to trust that they will care for your child. Be kind to your child. Feed, clean and clothe your child. Love your child? Knowing that they will never do it like how you would have done it, but you hope that it is good enough.
The weight of this worry is heavy.
I never would have thought that someone diagnosed with cancer and a special needs mom would have that in common. But it is true. What greater worry does any mother (or parent) have other than the well-being of their children, especially when they are no longer around.
The truth is I am not sure if she thinks of me. But I have thought of her often since that day. She doesn’t know my struggles with Oscar. I didn’t share that with her. The timing wasn’t appropriate. She doesn’t know that we may have more in common than meets the eye.
Funny how that is.