Parenting, Relationships, What's On Our Mind

I’m terrified of dying while my kids are young

Melissa Imbesi by Melissa Imbesi
March 27th, 2016

I’d say my biggest fear in life, second to losing a child, would be dying while my kids are young.

When I was in about grade five, a boy I went to school with lost his mum. He was away for a couple of weeks and when he came back, none of us little kids were sure how to deal with it. We made him a ‘Welcome Back’ banner and spent his first day back doing his favourite activities, but it was clear that it made him uncomfortable. He just wanted to be ‘normal’ and come back to school and continue with his life. But the fact is, his life was never going to be the same again, in the most heartbreaking way possible. He was still James, but he was now James whose mum died.

I often have nightmares about dying, about my kids calling out to me in the night and not being able to understand WHY I can’t be there to console them. I worry about not being there for them in those times when they need me most, when they need the comforting arms and honest advice that mums do so well.

Ever since I lost my dad, who I was incredibly close to, this thought of dying young plagues my mind. He was only 54 years old when he passed away. I was 23 and although I’d had the absolute blessing of having him there through my formative years, he still missed out on so much – my wedding day, my first home, and most of all, my children. I know he would have adored them.

I can honestly say that even though life goes on, I’ve never felt true and complete happiness since my dad’s been gone, because for every amazing moment, there’s the immediate thought, “I wish Dad was here.” That’s what scares me the most, the idea that dying while my children are little will forever leave a hole in their heart the same way my dad’s passing left one in mine.

Journalist Sam Lane spoke to Monty On the Couch about the heartbreak of losing her mum at a young age…