(Image Credit http://www.desicomments.com/desi/angel/)
When I was handed my first child I was scared. He was so small, so innocent and so totally dependent on me. From that moment my life changed. Forever. I can't say I felt a deep, intense love instantly. I was afraid I didn't know how to look after him. I was afraid I wasn't ready to be a parent. I was afraid I might do it wrong.
Within hours, this small person I created, became a part of me. He moved into a place in my heart and has lived there since ever since. He has brought me joy. He has caused me endless worry. He has driven me crazy. He also gave me something I never ever knew. He gave me family. My family. Love.
I had a second child nineteen months later. The only difference this time is that I wasn't afraid. I knew how to be a mother. I was no longer afraid I might do it wrong. I already knew I would. I also knew it didn't matter.
I've been a mother now for 19 years. These 19 years have gone both fast and slow - at the same time. There were times when a phase seemed endless. There were other times life went too fast and I wanted moments to last forever.
Last Wednesday everything I knew about being a mother was turned upside down. Another mother, one I've known for 14 years lost her child. Her child of 18 years was taken away from her in a tragic accident. Life as she knew it stopped. Her life stood still then plummeted a million miles an hour into a ravine so deep and dark, I'm not sure how she will climb out.
Since that day I have been holding on tight to my children. Ridiculously paranoid. I keep checking on them. Wanting them to be home, safe, under my roof, in their beds. Safe. With me.
On Wednesday I am going to the funeral. I am going to watch a mother and a father bury their child. An 18 year old boy who was the school captain in his last year of school. A boy who scored an OP1 (the highest score you can get in Grade 12). He played and wrote music. He had a huge smile. He was one of those rare human beings that everyone who ever met him made room in their life for him. The world was his oyster. He had so much potential. So much to offer. Sadly the world misses out now. One night, one bad decision. Gone.
When I signed up to be a parent, I didn't sign up to the possibility of ever having to bury my child. This never entered my mind. Now it is all I think about.
RIP Leon. Too young. Too soon.