At one point in my life, I considered killing myself and taking my three children with me. This wasn't because I don't love my children, but the situation that I lived in from one day to the next was breaking my resolve. The emotional heartache was so profoundly overwhelming that I couldn't fathom living with the burden of being such a failure and burden to society any longer. When it came to my children, the basic idea of leaving them alone to face the depth of heartache that I needed to escape was more than I could emotionally bear. Even though I now know that killing myself and the children is far from being a good solution, it was the only solution that I could see at that dark point in time.
Before I go further, I do want to say that anyone on the outside of this moment has no right to ask questions like "Why didn't you ______". I don't have answers for questions like that. What I do have is a history that brought me to the place that I stand today. Maybe every moment of that journey isn't pretty, but it is true. It will be impossible for me to describe the depth of my own brokenness in that moment or explain why I was so set on dying as the only solution. It would be completely impossible for me to justify my thought process to a person with a sound thinking mind, because at this dark time in my life my own mind was many things and none of them were coming from a place of sane calm thinking.
Keeping in mind the way I felt about my children living alone with my ex-husband, you might begin to grasp a hint of the type of fear that consumed me when worrying about what would happen to my children if I was to unexpectedly die. This is something I've thought about for hours, and never dared to voice. I didn't know who to talk to about the fear, and I often thought I was crazy for even worrying about it. When a single parent friend of mine recently asked if worrying about what would happen to my kids if I died, I felt an odd sense of relief to know that I never was alone in worrying about this huge unspeakable "what if....".
While there are no easy answers for these complex questions, some ideas in how to prepare include having a will and formal way of clearly identifying legal guardians. I personally choose to write a will that left all of my finances, life insurance policies and resources with my parents. While I couldn't legally require my children to live with them, I hoped that at minimum my ex would be forced to continue contact with them in order to obtain the resources I left behind to support my children financially. When my oldest son turned 18, I changed everything to be given directly to the children in equal measure. I knew by that point in time that my children were old enough to maintain a relationship with family members who could provide some type of emotional protection for them.
I mention this fear without too many solutions, for the sole purpose of letting fellow survivors know that this is a normal thing to worry about. It is okay to think and talk about what protection can be put in place. Honestly, its best to take whatever precautions you can even if they are not 'perfect' solutions. Doing even a small something is almost always better than laying awake all night hoping the horrible thing doesn't happen.