I often hear about Mom's that had to "bond" with their child. I wonder how that happens but I know even in those situations, the bond is there. After we are clearly and permanently attached, then we have to become unattached so the kids can grow and mature and find their own lives.
While the leaving the nest part is gradual, there are times the process is like lighting. 7th and 8th grade is one of the big pulling away times. A time they are finding out who they are and how they fit with all of their friends. It is a time many mom's mourn the loss of their babies but it is part of the process. Little by little we let loose, they grow bolder, they develop out of family friendships. It creates a place in their lives, creates a crease in the bond that allows a clean break to be made in a painless but significant way.
The entire process is mess up if at any time they enter Cancer World. Instead of a child gently pulling away, the Mother/Child bond intensifies exponentially. All of a sudden not only are you caring for your child in an intense 24 hour a day, seven days a week way, your child is sick. You are on an adrenaline rush that lasts for several years. No breaking away, no time to think, constant, intense caregiving. It makes the bond so so much tighter. Just imagine a strand of thread as the normal bond and a 10 inch cable made out of spider web as the bond created after Diagnosis. The cable eventually becomes the size of a 1000 year old Red Wood Tree. If they get better, the bond is always strong.
So here is the situation. Child born, bond created. Child grows, child moves away in the natural course of things. Child gets Cancer child moves back, no breaks not natural cut off, bond becomes super natural in order for the child to survive.
But what happens if child dies?
Nothing is gradual. Nothing is normal. Nothing prepares anyone for the death. It is like amputation without anesthesia. And when it is done, the final most abhorant break in the bond occurs, Mom's are supposed to just go on. They are to be strong and brave and act like nothing happened.
Like many in Cancer World, we have seen the fall-out of the amputations. I still hear from Guliany's mom in Turkey. I hear from Shannon, and Kate and Kristi. I see posts from Nyla's mom and Mario's moms. I see the gut wrenching screams and pain and suffering of these Moms. Jackie and Sheri and Elizabeth or countless more. Mom's that did all they could to keep their children with them. Keep the bond going. Keep the connection.
I don't perceive there is a difference in whether or not the child died suddenly or it was a long process. They see other children with exactly the same flavor of cancer, same treatment and some kids do fine. Some make it out alive. They scream..... in pain about the unfairness of their child's death. We need to let them scream and not make them feel like they are failures for not "moving on".
There is no way to figure it out. Just don't ever assume that because the child died a year ago, two months ago or 40 years ago it is okay to ask how the mom or dad got over it. The hole might have been walled off and there might be appearance of Normal but those parents could still use a hug. A hungry listening ear and understanding.
So much potential. So much loss. So sad for everyone.