I didn’t like my son much before he was born. I didn’t want to be a mom. I was angry at him for coming. I shook my fist at my tummy wanting him to go away. He defied me and grew bigger.
Then when I saw his face for the first time and held him to me I knew the fiercest love I’d ever known. I told him I was sorry I didn’t like him much before. It was like the corniest moment in the feel-good-movie-of-the-year. But it was true. And I finally got the cliché “Love makes the world go around.” It did after that.
In being an only child and adopted I felt like I never fit in. I didn’t belong. I wasn’t “blood”. I had no blood of my own. Now I do. And I do belong, and so does my son. We belong together, and it is just as it should be. I pass on my love to him in the hopes he’ll keep the world turning with it too.
I started a journal for him before he was born. It traces our moments together, his milestones and historical times in the world. Tsunami in Indonesia. Katrina. Housing boom. National economic despair. Japan earthquake. I plan to pass it on to him when he is married and with a child of his own, if that comes to be.
And this brings me to why I am telling you this. Recently, a local father in financial despair bludgeoned his 7 year old son to death, then his wife. Called the police to say what he did and left them a note on whom to call upon finding his family. Then he drove himself to the train tracks, put his head on them and waited for the 12:56 AM train.
Gone. A family of three. Just like that.
I can’t stop thinking about this horrific story. And all the times I didn’t like my son much AFTER he was born (if you have kids you know what I mean). You love them always but don’t always want to be around them. And I realize how significant those times are of battle of wills, harsh words and punishments. Significant because they are signs that I am trying to teach my son to live his life a certain way each day.
And we have this amazing power within us every day. The power to choose to live or choose to die by our own hand. And we have the power to take our children’s lives away too. And that scares me.
Some may ask, “But why did that father have to take his wife and child with him?” I can only answer this. Because I believe he was taking them to a better place. Because he felt he couldn’t protect them and care for them anymore here on Earth. I say this, as my cousin also took her young son’s life and then her own. With a shotgun. And that was how I got through my family’s sad tragedy.
My son plays with the wooden train tracks of the cousin he will never know. My son is nearly 9. His cousin who died was 9. The train tracks were marked with crosses to tell them apart from his friend’s tracks when they played together. Blood red crosses. I look at them, remembering him. They are significant to me.
And so I hug my son closer, I tell him I love him more, I let the little battles go. And I write in my journal to him as I have done for the past nine years. Of his accomplishments. Of his hurts and of mine. Of our good times as a family and sad times when we have lost someone we love. Of great events in our nation’s history – and the world’s.
I recently found out my natural father killed himself and did not die by car accident as I had been told. The “car accident” included plugging up the tail pipe to suffocate by carbon monoxide parked outside a church. A church with a blood red cross inside.
This scares me too. I fought depression most of my life and understand the suicide temptation. Is there such a thing as a suicide gene? Did that father who killed his wife and son have it? Will my son have it?
I don’t know.
But I do know I will keep writing to my son. I will pour out all my emotion for him in person and on pages over time. I will show him that love does make the world go around. And I will hope that if he is in a dark place someday, he will reach to me to remind him of that again – if not in person at least on the pages I leave him.