As Much as We Want to Live in the Present

It is impossible at times to keep perception narrowed to the now. Today is Bastille Day and my children’s father’s birthday. My kids’ father passed away in 2007 from his one and only heart attack, he was 54 years old.
My new husband is a widower with 2 daughters, they lost their one and only wife and mother in 2009.
These events are indelible in a way that no other events in life are. They are simply uncontrollable and grief will not bow to the wishes of any person. Grief comes upon you with a will of its own.
After bearing grief in life, we eventually learn that we must march on. We may not want to, we may not like it, but we have to keep living.
As we grow and prosper beyond our loved one’s death, we may feel guilty, as if without our loved one nearby, we do not deserve happiness. These can be difficult emotions and thoughts. We bear them, we feel them, and we do not know what to do with them.
My mother and my kids’ father suffered from sudden heart attacks and died very quickly, early and unexpectedly. They were the seminal moments in my family’s life and did not bode well for the health of either my family of origin, or my nuclear family.
I worked very hard and certainly relentlessly to bring my family back from the edge of darkness. I know very well that my new husband made Herculean efforts on behalf of his family’s wellness. It was one of the things that attracted me to him; dedication with limitless depth for the well being of his family.
And so, we are here and now, married for a couple of years and sharing parental responsibilities. As the result of a heart condition I was scheduled for a procedure today and for whatever reason, on Sunday, I started having chest pains and became light headed. The ambulance rushed to the house and transported me to the hospital.

I dearly wanted an answer to explain the chest pain. As my husband and I sat in the emergency room, he reminded me that I had failed to explain my health issues to the kids – at all. We stared at each other. Tears rolled down my cheeks. We are the last parents our multiple kids have. We are fiercely committed to surviving. It is our wish to see our grandchildren at their weddings. At the bottom of it all is the hope that our kids will not have to endure anymore tragedies that will cause grief and despair in their lives.

I have surreptitiously listened to the kids talk, they are proud that they have loving and caring parents, it’s important to them.

I want to survive this encounter with the hospital and because of my pending procedures I am scared.
I do not want to talk to our kids, each of them has endured so much, to be the source of pain and fear is a bitter reality for me. We must speak to the kids, each of them. We know that in some cases it is terrifying. Nevertheless, we must say the words: cardiac, emergency room, hospital stay…

To be clear, our youngest is a 28 year old man. To be clear, I lost my mother when I was 37, at the time, she was the center of my world. Our kids are strong, smart, handsome people who work hard and accomplish much. I do not speak of babies or idiots. I speak of right-thinking adults that I trust and treasure!

Still, there is something important about the surviving parent.. There is something important about the sharing of family history. There is something important about knowing that no matter what, there is someone in the world who loves you no matter what. Parents love beyond reasonableness and always will. That is a treasure beyond measure.
This is what we wish to be for the next 27.5 years: the source for our kids unconditional love and the source of their abiding strength.

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