Thursday, 5 May 2011

Mummy, what will happen to Cameron?

We were driving along today singing songs and spotting lambs and calves in paddocks when My Little Angel suddenly asked 'Mummy, when you and Daddy die, what will happen to Cameron?

Clearly we have reached the stage where she is able to think about the future and contemplate more than just her own. I don't know why she suddenly asked the question but I've been sitting here with a friend discussing how she has experienced quite a bit of death in her life and we have just had another family member pass away a few days ago.

She observed her Great Grandmothers health decline and the care that she needed in her last few years and she watches the care Cameron requires on a daily basis. Clearly this has all made an impression upon her.

When My Little Angel was born some people were very pleased that she was a girl because she would be able to care for Cameron when we were gone. Some other people were disappointed that she was not a boy because she wouldn't be able to look after him when we were gone because she couldn't take care of his male personal needs. I found these opinions baffling because that wasn't why we had a second child.

I don't want My Little Angel to grow up knowing that she must care for her brother when they are older. What if she falls madly in love with someone who lives overseas and moves to Timbuktu to live her life. What if she becomes fascinated in French architecture and moves to France to pursue her passion. What if she grows up to become an Australian Olympic Champion and travels the world competing and training. None of it is likely but all of it, and more, is possible.

We didn't have a second child to look after our first. We had our second child because our family felt incomplete and we wanted to experience parenthood again. Our plan was always to have two children. To be honest, we stopped dreaming about a family of four after Cameron got sick. We didn't see how we could manage or what kind of life it would be for the second child and trust me, these are valid concerns. We also knew it would be difficult to conceive another baby, as it was with Cameron so we settled happily with the little family of three that we were until My Marvellous Man had a dream.

He had a vivid dream and in it he saw our family - Himself, Me, Cameron and a little girl. He told me about his dream and that prompted us to start discussing the implications of trying for a second child seriously. 2 years later after counselling, medical assistance and lots of talking with other people, we had the little girl he had dreamt about. She thinks it is very special that she was conceived because Daddy had a dream.

However it is not her job to look after Cameron. She needs to live her life and we are hoping that she will love her brother enough that she will look out for him and ensure that he is safe and cared for when we are gone but not be the one doing the caring. Currently her love for him is enormous and I have every confidence that no matter where in the world she is or what she is doing she will look out for him, protect him and love him.

What will happen to Cameron when we die?  Í don't know. It seems so odd to be discussing it when he is only 15yrs old. We aren't that old ourselves but we have been discussing this, on and off, for many years. If something happened tomorrow we have people we have identified in our lives who we feel would be the best to care for our children and it would be a collaborative effort. However Cameron is a lot more to take on than the average child so we have to be at peace in the knowledge that he may end up in a care situation because he may be too much for another family to cope with.

Long term, when we are old and even greyer than we are now, he will probably have to go into a care home. Unless a miracle happens and they can fix broken brains, Cameron will never be able to live independently or even live partly independently, he will need 24 hour supervision and care 7 days a week for the rest of his life.

So, what did I answer when I was asked, What will happen to Cameron when you die? I was honest and said - I don't know. Then I asked - what do you think should happen to him? She didn't have an answer but instead informed me that she was going to die last because - of course, Daddy will die first, you second, Cameron third and me last because I'm the youngest. End of discussion.

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