Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Who Takes Care of You?

Monday, June 16, 2014
Posted By: 
Diana Gumushian
I recently had a friend over with her 4 and 8 year old children. They enjoyed playing with my boys, and roaming around exploring my home. They know that my boys “don’t have a dad because he died.” The 4 year old seems particularly interested in figuring out how it works, and the dynamic of it all.  She likes to ask the tough questions...the ones I can’t answer.
When she roamed into my bedroom, she asked “Who sleeps here?” I answered “I do.”  She asked “Who else sleeps here?” I said “No one. Just me.”  She questioned “All alone?”  I said “Yes, all alone.”  She seemed perplexed by this. She next asked “Who are you married to?”  I said “No one.” She asked “Why not?” I said “I used to be married, but my husband died. So I’m not married anymore.”  She furrowed her brow and asked “Don’t you want to be married? Why don’t you find someone to be married to?”  I said “Yes, I would like to be married, but I haven’t found someone to marry.” She asked “Don’t you like anyone?” I said “Sure, but sometimes even if grown ups like each other, that doesn’t mean they can get married.” She thought about that for a while, then asked “Who takes care of you?” I said “Well, I take care of myself.”  She said “but who ELSE takes care of you? Who’s the daddy that takes care of everything?” I said “I have family that helps and look out for me.” She said “But who LIVES here with you to take care of you?” I said “The boys take care of me.” She seemed annoyed and said “But they are BOYS! I mean, who is the grown up that takes care of you???”
It’s hard to believe nearly six years later, the barrage of questions from an innocent, curious child trying to make sense of it all brought me to my knees. I held it together in front of her. She isn’t asking with malice. She genuinely didn’t understand the situation, or my answers. She wasn’t satisfied with my explanations. I know how she feels. I haven’t been either.
Living outside society’s traditional nuclear family isn’t easy for adults or their children. I used to belong to the “norm” of mom, dad and children, but now fall outside that. It is more normal than it used to be, but I still feel ripped away from what once used to be my norm. Six years later, I have adjusted, learned to live with, tried to move forward from, tried to succeed at what I used to be, who I was. I have tried, on and off, to date and find a new “someone”to be with. I have put my heart and soul into my kids. I have survived, and attempted to thrive, outside of my widowed status. I had a 2 year relationship with someone whose job relocated him to Dallas. I learned to accept and embrace being a widowed woman, a solo parent, and a whole person outside a relationship. But when I think about “Who takes care of you?” my answer is, hauntingly, me. I have family who love and care of me. They help more than I could ever expect. But when I think about the day to day, there in all times of need and trouble and want, the answer is: ME. 
It’s a lonely, sometimes exhausting, place to be. But, I will never let myself down, I can always rely on me, and I have no one to point the finger or share the blame when I mess up. I am in control of all decisions, I get to do what I want without considering someone else’s feelings, wants or input, and I argue with myself about how to handle an issue or problem. I recognize that “Who takes care of you?”could be answered by a person with a partner in the same way I answer. Because having someone doesn’t guarantee that you “have someone” to take care of you. So when I think about “Who takes care of you?” I try to answer proudly “I do.” Yes, I DO. It isn’t a bad thing. For all of us, taking care of ourselves, we should be proud. 



So,so incredibly true. Thank you for sharing.

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