June 08, 2008

Daddy You Died

I enjoy listening to my children interact with each other. It is great fun to watch them play and to listen to them talk. Their conversations fascinate me. I can't help but smile as I watch Little Jack expound upon the meaning of life to his little sister. Right now he is her biggest hero. She watches his every move and tries hard to be just like him.

About 3.5 years ago the big boy asked me not to die. As a relatively new father it was a powerful moment for me. Not that I am so much more experienced now, but I feel like I have a decent handle on things.

Over the weekend I woke up to the sound of my daughter shrieking in fear. I raced over to her bed and found her sobbing. She threw her arms around me and told me that she had dreamt that I had died. I picked her up and carried her into my living room. There in the dark I reassured her that I had not died and did my best to calm her down.

The power of dad worked and in a relatively short time she was peacefully sleeping in my arms. I waited a few moments and carried her back to bed. Moments later I crawled into my bed and tried to fall asleep. Can't say how long it took, I just know that it took a few minutes.

My dreams were troubled and that made my sleep less than peaceful. I woke up because I heard myself yell. I don't always remember my dreams, but I remember large parts of what had woken me.

I had contracted a terminal illness and was going to die. Can't tell you what it was and I don't think that it matters. I haven't wasted time on trying to figure out why I had that dream. It could be because I know so many peers who have died an early death. Or it could be because I have a 20 something year old cousin with a brain tumor and a dear friend with a rare form of cancer.

Chances are that they are going to die. Chances are that they are going to die far too young and it bothers me.

Sometimes I find myself thinking about what I would do if I were in that position. Sometimes I find myself taking a really hard look at my life and asking if I am really doing the things that make me happy. Am I fulfilled and if not, what do I need to do to make that happen.

Where do you draw the lines. How do you take care of your family and still take care of yourself. What are you entitled to. How selfish are you allowed to be.

Life is about balance. We do our best to take care of our families. We do our best to give our children every advantage, but at some point we have to remember to do for ourselves as well.

There are some really hard decisions. There are some really painful moments that school just doesn't prepare you for. At the end of the day we shrug our shoulders and hope that we have done our best.

One day I will find out that death is closer than ever. All I am trying to do is see that I have lived a life that was a little bit more.


Diane Mandy said...

Great post, Jack! I am 40 years old and still have nightmares that my father has died and I wake up crying over it. Fortunately, my father now 71 is still doing well, but the dreams help me remember that we should live every day with our loved ones to the fullest.

B2 said...

Way to bring the room down, Jack.

Miriam L said...

Great post.

During the course of my father's illness, I've been trying to come to grips with the fact that one day he will not be around. At first, that thought was too scary to face.

cruisin-mom said...

wonderful post Jack. All tough stuff.
It's amazing how our dreams can often reflect our deepest fears and concerns. It's especially hard to see our children have to have those kind of fears at such a young age.

Jack said...

Hi Diane,

That is important.


I try. ;)


It is not easy to face your parents mortality.


It really is hard to see the children get so upset.

V-Grrrl said...

My sister died when I was 20, I lost both parents when I was 30. The mortality thing has always been on my radar.

benning said...

I think you examine your own life more than most people. And I think that helps you along your path.

When it's over you will have influenced for the good, and raised a fine family.

You will have made a difference in a positive way. That's what I think.


Jack said...


I can see why.


Thanks. I hope that you are right.