Monday, March 14, 2005

How Do You Cope?

One of my friends recently lost his unborn baby. Initially, I thought "Man, that really sucks and I hope they get through this tough time." After a considerable amount of further thinking, I realize I cannot even begin to fathom what it must be like to lose a child, a child that hasn't even been born yet even. I've never had a kid myself or worked on making one for that matter, but I've always dreamed of the day when I'd have kids of my own. I figure I'll make a good enough father and raising kids has to be at least a little fun, right? It can't all be dirty diapers, teenage tantrums, spastic outbursts, and the living hell that some parents make it out to be, right?

As I was conversing with a co-worker, we were talking about how the death of a child is so much different than the death of anyone else that a person might know. With a child, the parents have so many hopes, dreams, and plans for their little one. The parents see their child or children as the embodiment of their future, or at least this is how I'm imagining parents would think. I should note that all of this talk about kids and whatnot is simply my attempt to put myself in the shoes of a parent because I have no freakin' clue what it must actually be like to be a parent. Anyways, with the death of say a parent or friend or someone else that you know, it's not as big of a hit as a child. Sure, losing a parent or a sibling might rival losing a child, but it's not nearly as severe.

When you lose a parent or grandparent, I think you know, subconsciously at least, that they couldn't live forever and that their time would eventually have to come. Death is something you anticipated for them and maybe started to prepare yourself for. I know I'm definitely not ready for my parents to go any time soon, if ever, but I realize that barring my untimely demise it's going to happen. I believe this makes it a little easier to cope.

Losing a sibling is hard as well, but depending upon how well you got along with that sibling, it might be really easy or really hard to get over their death. Personally, I would have a hell of a time dealing with one of my siblings dying. I'm the oldest kid in our family, so in my mind I always figure I'll be the first one to croak. You never know how it'll work out in the end, but I always feel like it'll be me. If either of my brothers did go before me, I would take it hard, but I don't think it would be an insurmountable thing to eventually cope with it.

Now with a child, however, I would have one hell of a hard time getting over. So often you hear parents say that a parent should never outlive their child and I think that is true. It's the natural order of things for parents to die before their children. It shouldn't even enter in to a parent's head that their child is going to pass on (unless, of course, there are extenuating circumstances such as disease, deformity, or other things of that nature). Parents also invest so much emotionally into their children that overcoming the loss of a child might simply be too exhausting emotionally. If the culmination of my dreams were to suddenly be taken away from me, I'd be a wreck.

I'm not trying to say that it's easier to deal with some deaths and hard to deal with others because, frankly, I have a hard time dealing with death period, but the loss of a child I think is particularly hard to recover from. I pray that I will never have to go through it because I don't know if I'd be strong enough to take it.

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