Afraid I Won’t Be Around to Watch My Child Grow Up
Today’s post is very special for a variety of reasons. It is the first-ever guest blogger post running on Me, Myself and Baby I. Written by Jennifer Nyp, owner of Zen Girl Fitness based in Soho, NYC)
I hope you enjoy Jen’s beautiful piece below:
As a new Mother, my greatest fear is not being around to watch my daughter grow up. I think about this often because my Father died when he was twenty-three; I was only two years old. My Mother re-married when I was four and my life went on as if nothing happened- or so I thought. My Mother had two daughters with my stepfather and even though my last name was different then the rest of my family, we all looked alike so it was rarely questioned. If people asked about it I would tell them my biological Father died and if they said they were sorry I would reply, “It’s okay. I didn’t know him”. Really, that’s what I said and that’s what I thought. Spoken like a child who never had grief counseling for sure.
When I was getting married I suddenly started to realize that someone was missing and that I knew nothing about that someone. The thing is, I had a wonderful childhood. My Stepfather has always loved me like I was his own and I never felt different from my sisters. In my teens and early twenties I struggled with body and food issues, I would end friendships or break up with boyfriends without warning and I was terrible with money. At the time of my wedding I was seeing a therapist who explained all of these things were because of my abandonment issues. As a little girl my first lesson in life was that people just disappear and never come back, so as a teen I struggled to control my own life and leave people first.
About 8 years ago I was in Nebraska visiting my parents and had a dream that I was on a talk show speaking about a documentary I had done about the death of my Father. I woke up suddenly and thought it was a great idea. The next day it seemed less so. While on the plane, I pulled out my laptop and began the outline of the film I would eventually come to make. It was the best dream turned into reality I ever had. Not only did I find out who my Father was, I found out who I am. I decided to have a child even though I never wanted kids. I let all of that grief go. I feel free and open and loved.
Like I said, as the mother of a two-year-old daughter I often think about what would happen to her if I died. I don’t obsess about it, but I can’t help but cringe thinking of my Father, dying in the hospital, knowing he would never see me grow up. I can’t think of anything more painful in the world besides my daughter being sick herself.
Another thing that has completely turned my world around is my involvement in, A Caring Hand, The Billy Esposito Foundation and Bereavement Program. It is exactly the kind of thing that would have saved me decades of hurtful choices and suppressed grief.
I became a board member in 2003, just a year after it’s inception. Billy Esposito died in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and his family decided being bitter and angry was not an option, so they started helping children who had also lost a parent. The charity originally provided help for educational financial aid and eventually expanded it’s aspirations to a bereavement center. I became a trained volunteer and helped with the teen group. I couldn’t have imagined how much the kids in this group would grieve, grow and transcend their sorrow in 10 weeks. The sad fact is they’ll grieve forever, but they leave the program with a greater understanding of how to do that productively and most importantly know they are not alone. Something I never knew. I felt I was the only grieving child in the world and there is nothing more isolating. A Caring Hand, The Billy Esposito Bereavement Center is exactly the place I would want my daughter to go if something happened to my husband or my self.
Our 10th Anniversary benefit is Wednesday, May 16th at TriBeCa Rooftop. Our program has grown tremendously in the last few years and we depend entirely on this benefit, so please support us in any way you can. The benefit is a tasting style with fabulous restaurants such as, Red Farm, Brinkley’s, Union Square Café & Marble Lane. Admission includes open bar and great music.
By the way, my dream came true a few weeks ago, myself and he head of our Bereavement center did an interview for Good Day Street Talk.
Here’s a link to that interview. We are the last two segments: http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/about_us/street_talk/street-talk-march-31-2012
Tickets to our benefit can be purchased at: http://acaringhand.org/