A “Mom Fail” Moment

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 1.) A mom fail moment.

When my son was born, our cats were already considered senior citizens in the lifespan of the domesticated feline.  My cats, Lizzie and Rosie, were nine-years-old and Grant’s cats, Scotty and Spanky (yes, my husband named them after The Little Rascals characters, even thought they are both females!) were eleven.  My goal was for Tyler to at least be able to remember our beloved kitties, which was how Grant and I met, so you could say that they were responsible for Tyler even being on this earth.

Rosie died when Tyler was only three.  It took him months to grasp that Rosie was never coming back and he broke down with grief about four months after she died.  I told him that Rosie was up in Heaven and that Grandpa Joe was taking care of her and that in Heaven she wasn’t sick any more, that she was running around playing and Grandpa Joe even had interactive kitty toys that he played with with her.  She was our “Play Kitty” once more up in Heaven.  (Giggle if you might, but I really believe this because what is Heaven without our beloved pets, and I have seen too much evidence to NOT believe that my father is…somewhere)

In July of last year, Spanky suddenly died, with no warning.  She died in the morning, I hid her from Tyler and when he went to daycare, I dealt with Spanky, as my husband was absolutely bereft from her loss.  I had to tell Tyler that Spanky was also up in Heaven with Grandpa Joe, Rosie, etc.  He did not like Spanky as much as he liked Rosie and the feeling was mutual so he did not grieve as much as he did over Rosie.

A few months later, my now four-year-old and I were reading in bed and he asked if one day Lizzie will die (Lizzie is his favorite and she feels the same way).  “Well, yes, but, hopefully not for a long time. But Lizzie IS an old kitty.  When you’re sick and old you die, right? Grandpa Joe was sick and very old and so he died.”

“Does that mean that WE will die someday?”

“Well yes, honey, it does.”

And that was my Mom Fail Moment.

What?  What?  You and me and daddy are going to die?  NO!  NO!  It’s not true, say it’s not true!  Say we will never die!”

He was hysterically crying, inconsolable.  I could have kicked myself in the ass with my hypermobile leg.  What the Hell was I thinking, believing that Tyler could handle our mortality?!

“Okay, okay, Tyler, it’s not true!  You are right, you, daddy and I will NEVER die!  Okay?  We are never going to die!

“Really?”, he sniffled.  “Yes, really.”

Yes, honey, the rest of the world, your grandparents, your animals, everyone else is going to die but the three of us will be the one trio who defies the odds.

It was not the truth, but he was not ready to hear the truth, just as he is not ready to hear that there is no Santa Claus (WHAT?).  I realize now that in time, it will just come to him and right now we have left it that only very sick and very old people and animals die.  Being a disabled mom with some very serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses, I am constantly stressing that even though I may be in a lot of pain and sometimes very sick, I am not dying.

And when that time comes, just as we did the deaths of our kitties, we will all experience the grief and shock that any death brings, and we will all deal with it in our own ways.

Freyja and cats and angels by Blommer

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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9 Responses to A “Mom Fail” Moment

  1. Oh my! That’s definitely a hard one and I don’t know how I will approach it when the time comes. Eeek!
    Vanderbilt Wife´s last blog post ..Embracing My Own Style

  2. SUPAHMAMA says:

    What a tricky conversation to have. I’m lucky my kids haven’t reached that level of understanding yet.
    SUPAHMAMA´s last blog post ..Grateful.

  3. I know all too well how hard of a concept death is for a child that young to grasp since my first husband and father of my boys died when my oldest was only four years old. There are some really good books out there on the subject. Maria Shriver wrote one called “What’s Heaven?” that’s really great.

    Oh, and I believe wholeheartedly, 100 percent, that we will meet all our beloved pets again on the other side. 🙂
    Diane@BeStillaMinute´s last blog post ..School Days…

  4. I love the thought of the three of you being the “trio that defies the odds.” That line made me laugh out loud. I think you covered your mom fail perfectly.

    My son is seven and is just now getting a grasp on the idea of mortality. They are not my favorite conversations, but he’s old enough to understand that no one is going to live forever.
    Miss Marina Star´s last blog post ..Full Circle

  5. Dave Z. says:

    I don’t think that’s a “fail”, I think it was a “catch it in time and fix it”, which is something that moms are the best at. My daughter’s first experience with death was when her great-grandmother (whom she liked very much) died when she was 5 years old. She asked what had happened to her, and we explained that great-gramma had to go someplace else (we do believe that is exactly what happened), and that while she would not return, she would be nearby, and we could still talk to her if we needed to. This seemed to satisfy at the level that she could understand at that time. Sometime later she asked if we would ever see her again, and we told her that yes, we would, but that it would be a long time. Now that my daughter is in her late 20’s, and there have been several other deaths in the family (among them, my spouse), I know that our explanation at that time was the right thing. It’s an individual thing, very much dependent on our beliefs – which included that we don’t really “die”, we just go someplace else at some point, and nobody knows when that might happen. It also is very much dependent on the ability of the child to grasp abstract concepts, which, of course varies with age and the individual child’s development. In short, there is no universal “right answer”, just as there is no manual for how to deal with any situation with children. We do the best we can, and there is, in this case, no “fail”.

  6. I don’t think there is any perfect way to deal with this topic!!

  7. Cyn & Co. says:

    This is definitely one topic I am not prepared for! I don’t think there’s an easy way about it.

    Visiting from Mama Kat’s! Great post!!!
    Cyn & Co.´s last blog post ..Writer’s Workshop – Mommy Fail Moment

  8. Lala says:

    Oh my goodness – I can so totally relate to this! My 7-year-old son has been ruminating on his mortality since he first discovered human beings, including him, are not immortal. Nearly every day he asks me questions about death, heaven and God. I try to answer him with a Christian perspective, but at this point I think I’m actually making up some new religious, blasphemous sect. I might be making things worse, despite my best intentions: Lala musings: GOD IN LALA LAND
    Lala´s last blog post ..PRESCHOOLER WITH A TEENAGE BRAIN

  9. That really made me laugh! I had a totally freak out too when I mistakenly let it slip that there was no Easter Bunny, which of course turned into, “What else did you lie about? Santa?!” and yes, Santa died when the Easter Bunny did but gawd love her, The Hare said, “Thank goodness fairies are real. I just couldn’t handle another disappointment” to which I responded, “Yes, me too.”
    Emily @ My Pajama Days´s last blog post ..Seasonal Love

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