Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Worse than death?

Like most people, I don't like it when people make comparisons to my loss unless they, too, have experienced childloss. I have had a miscarriage (more than one) and while those were sad and painful, they were nothing like losing the child that I had given birth to and whose personality I had gotten to know and love. I'm not saying that one is worse than the other (although more than one person who's had a miscarriage or stillbirth has told me that their loss was worse since "at least [I] got to meet [my] child") but they ARE different.

There are times, however, that I think about Toby's death and other things that could happen and I have come to the conclusion that there IS something that I think would be worse for me. And that is child abduction. Having my child abducted is my worst fear, even before death.

When I am in a good place with my grief and I think about Toby dying and child abduction, I do reach some sort of solace in thinking that at least I know where he is. (Okay, I don't really know where he is, but I know where he's not.) I know that he is not in pain and that he's not being abused or treated poorly. Living with the knowledge that my child is out there somewhere and possibly cold, hurt, sad, in pain, and scared and that I can do absolutely nothing to help him is unfathomable.

I live with the fact that for at least a few minutes, Toby was dying and needed me and I wasn't there. Those few minutes are enough to make me insane. I get some solace in the fact that SIDS can't be prevented and that even if I had been there I couldn't have done anything.

On the other hand, having to live the rest of my life knowing that my child was hurting every.single.minute and that I couldn't be there for him is beyond my imagination. It's hard enough living with those two or three minutes that Toby needed me.

Last summer, Sam and I woke up and he went downstairs before me. I took my time getting dressed and straightening up the bedroom. Pete was already up and downstairs. (I knew he was home because I could see the car.)

About half an hour later, Pete sauntered up and we hung out for a few minutes. Finally, he asked, "Where's Sam?" When I told him I thought Sam was with him and I saw the blank look on his face my blood ran cold.

We immediately started searching the house.

At the time, we lived in an old Victorian mansion downtown in a large city. It was in a nice neighborhood and the neighbors were friendly enough, but it was still downtown on a busy street. Sam knew not to go outside alone and we kept the doors locked.

We could not find him.

Pete said that he had been mowing the yard so he'd been out back. It was possible that Sam had wandered out, Pete hadn't seen him, and he'd gone through the gate alone.

It was just as possible that he had done that and a passing car had stopped and thrown him inside and sped off.

I jumped in the car and circled the block. I drove down to the Farmer's Market where we sometimes walked and looked for him. No Sam. I tried calling my mom but her cell phone was in our house. Pete hadn't seen her.

I knew in my heart that someone had taken him. The terror that ran through me was paralyzing. My son is a beautiful friendly boy. He gets described as being an "angel" and a "cherub" and even at 5 years old people still stop and take second looks at him as they pass him.

I was getting ready to call the police when I thought about Mom's phone again. I looked at it and the last number dialed had been about an hour earlier and was a neighbor's number. I called the neighbor and, sure enough, Mom was there. Sam was with her. (If you're wondering why I didn't check the neighbor's house first, we did. Nobody had answered the door. Apparently, they'd been in the back and didn't hear me.)

Mom said that as she took Sam Pete had been mowing and that Sam had waved to him. She assumed Pete had seen him. He hadn't, obviously.

I'm sure, like losing a child to death, you learn different ways of coping and grieving. I can't say that it would kill me or that I am not strong enough to handle it. (I can, however, say with authority that if you try to abduct my child in my presence you'd better damn well hope you kill me because if you don't then you will live to regret the things that I will eventually do to you.)

What I can say, though, is that it is a thought that I can't comprehend. I don't know how Toby died (we still haven't seen the death certificate) and that is enough to haunt me. Not knowing where my child is, is incomprehensible.

Clearly, I need to stop watching CRIMINAL MINDS episodes that involve abductions. They lead to entries such as this one. 


Jayden's Mommy said...

I also often think of that. We live in a nice neighborhood but twice our 3 year old has open the door and walk around the gardner. I tell you my heart almost stop: she took off the child safety lock. So now we have a lock at the very top. Everything that went thru my mind. I do also watch criminal minds but I think the hard part is that it happens everyday. Like SIDS happens everyday we just dont know about it. We know a family her son was taken 4 years ago and his mom still hopes she will see him again and I cant imagine the angonizing pain. Im truly paranoid; I do not even go out with the girls alone for a long time.

Rebecca said...

I think once you've lost a child (or had anything really, really bad happen in your life) it takes away your innocence. Suddenly, the things that didn't seem possible or the things that seemed statistically in your favor NOT to happen become a very real possibility. You learn that bad things not only CAN happen, but do. It's hard to go back to being innocent again. I know that some people are able to be positive and rely on faith but I am not one of those. It's funny because I am very, very loose on a lot of things. But death and kidnapping-totally paranoid.