In a Parent’s Words

It had been in the back of my mind for years, soon after I found out my son, Samuel, had this lifelong disability. What would the future hold for him when I wasn’t there anymore to be his advocate, friend and supporter? It was both a big and little worry. Big, because it gave me a hole in my gut whenever the question crept in. And little, in the sense that I tried not to think about it. I’d think: I’ll worry about that tomorrow, next week, when he’s older, when I’m older.

Of course, I’ve done things to prepare Samuel for that future he’s going to have without me, things like teaching him how to wash clothes and shop. But should I write a Will? Make an estate plan? No, for years, I dodged that one totally.

Then, when his voice started to change, it suddenly hit me that he was growing up, that he was older now. That future I was always worrying about, and refusing to worry about, was beginning to arrive. I talked with my husband and I found out he’d been worrying about Sam’s future too. So he and I went to our lawyer. I was so nervous, to bring all the questions out in the open and look at them. No wonder I’d shoved them under the bed for so long!

But you know, it’s funny. Now that we’re finished setting up our estate and only need periodically to review our plans, I feel like an enormous burden has been lifted up from me. The big, black, scary shadow is gone. Well, not totally gone, I suppose. I still worry about Samuel, what will happen to him in his life. I guess every parent does that. But now I don’t worry in the same way. I know I’ve done all I can do for that part of his future, something that was extremely important to do, and I am very relieved. Now I feel like we can deal fully with the present day and see to the other things that need to be done to prepare Samuel for life as an adult. And that’s very exciting.