When you've lost a child, you look for other people who've lost children to talk to.  This means that finally you are part of a community of people who understand.  With time, you all get to know each other and to actually love each other's children, even though they've passed.  There are children who've lived all over the world, who I've never met, who I love as much in some ways as many of the children I know quite well.  It is comforting to know that there are also people who love Max like this too - even though they never met him.

Along with knowing all of these amazing people - I have learned the many ways a child can die.  I have friends whose children have choked, drowned, fallen out of windows, died of the flu and chicken pox, cancer and malaria.  When you haven't lost a child, you believe wholeheartedly that NONE of these things could EVER happen to your child.  When your child is dead, you know that any one of these is a real possibility.

Without a conscious awareness that I am even doing it, I am always looking for the potential dangers - blind chords and washing machines, prescription drugs and poorly installed car seats, chunks of apple and uncut grapes....I know that all of these things are deadly and I point out the dangers to anyone helping me to care for my children. 

I know that my concerns are often met by eye rolls and that many people find me crazy and morbid - but I don't care. I know something that they don't really know - children die. I wish I didn't know all of the ways a child can die but sadly, many of the children I love most have gone - without my ever having met them. 

These fears are real.


Anonymous said...

I love Max. I never met him, but I love him.

Jayden's Mommy said...

I love Max too. And I can relate so much to this. Post. I know I may sound crazy to some when it comes to the safety of children, but children do die! A lot of times it's so unexpected. Thanks Abby I love your writing. So True!

Anonymous said...

I, too, love Max. I've never lost a child, but know of so many mommies who have, and those hidden dangers are a constant worry on my mind because of their stories...I think I check my babies' beds about three times each night; my three-year-old only recently was allowed to have his first apple, and only under my watchful eye (I get so nervous when I've picked him up from a playdate and find out that that's what their snack was! gah, healthy snacks should not be such a concern); and every time I load that washing machine with my kids at my feet, I think of a poor mom I heard about a few years ago whose son was playing hide and seek and found himself trapped in a running washer. Again, I've never lost a child, but my heart hurts for mommies who have, and mommies who will, and their sweet children. No eye rolls over here; your fears are sadly shared.