Please don’t die.

I remember how you told me, when you first came home, that your first mama died.  I don’t know if this is true and neither do you, really, but your heart tells you, or your imagination tells you.  And either way, it’s good enough.  You have lost the one thing that tethered you to this world, that gave you your place in the universe.  You were left floating, motherless, as no child should every be.  And for far far too long.

And now, you tell me, again and again, day after day: “I don’t want you to die.  I don’t want you to get old.”  And this is the way I know that you really love me, that I am your real Mama now, and that we have built trust. The lifelong journey of bonding is well and truly begun.

I answer you again and again, day after day.  “Mama is not going to die.” And your response is fervent, zealous: “but you’ll grow old someday and then you’ll die! I don’t want you to die!” And your eyes plead with me to be powerful than the rigors of time, more powerful than the very laws of the universe.

I can do nothing else but hold you tight, kiss you and remind you that I am so very very young.  Just barely old enough to adopt from China, I tell you.

And you, always ahead of me, you find that single silver hair framing my face and you pull it and you drag me to the mirror and you show me, “see, you are getting old. Don’t get old!” And I laugh hard but you are not laughing.

I pull that silver hair out, just for you, even though I kind of like it, and I hold you tight and say “mama is not ever really going to get old. Never too old to love you and kiss you and hold you and hug you.”

And then, then you let yourself fall into my arms, and you smell my neck, and nuzzle yourself into my chest and you breath deep and you let go just a little.

When you love someone you give them the power to break your heart.

How young my sweet boy is to know this.

And he knows it so well.  It haunts his thoughts, his imaginings and his dreams.

Now that he’s finally found me, he never wants to let me go.

This is an answer to all my prayers and hopes and dreams.

And it breaks my heart wide open.

This is adoption.


1 thought on “Please don’t die.

  1. You’ve probably read “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom. She records a similar scene from her childhood where she’s weeping to her father about her being afraid when he’s going to die:

    “Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. “Corrie,” he began gently, “when you and I go to Amsterdam-when do I give you your ticket?”
    I sniffed a few times, considering this.
    “Why, just before we get on the train.”
    “Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need-just in time.”

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