She could not imagine anything more monumental than this: being dead, and your child being alive and you not there.
Where. Anywhere but here. Forever.
Nothing, nothing could be more painful than the mere contemplation of this. There was a time, before becoming a parent, when this was not: some other variable situation, any other, would be the most painful. It was dependent upon you, and whoever you were. Situations were contingent. Situations followed one upon another.
Some situations were absolute. Such as becoming a parent. You weren't, and then you were. There was a certain simplicity amidst the muddle of the relationship narrative you found your life to be. The incredibly complex narrative of shifting parameters of every finished or concurrent or simultaneous relationship in time.
And then you find yourself a parent and know: this will never change.
Unless the child dies.
Of which there would be an unfathomable, monumental pain.
Not as monumental as leaving your dependent child alone. As receiving a sentence from an unimpeachable authority: You will die. Soon. Before your child can outgrow dependency. (A corollary: do not hate your parents ever for being alive still. Worse that they would have been dead when you were dependent. No matter how rotten they were.)
The stab in your viscera. The sheer breathlessness. The electric shock that sears your nerve endings.
Since the birth of the child, she could not imagine anything more monumental than her own necessity. The overwhelming, sheer necessity.
And when, the needer being denied that necessity, the solution.
There was only one.