I am currently sitting in my apartment staring blankly out into a sunny June afternoon. I should be in the office. But I received a call a short while ago from my son’s school.
“Could you come and get him? He’s very, very upset.”
“Why’s he upset?”
“He won’t tell us. He wants you.”
So I immediately went to pick him up and he was indeed hysterically upset. He couldn’t even speak for the tears.
“What’s the matter? What’s happened?” I asked as I picked him up and wrapped my arms around him.
“I don’t want to tell you.”
I thought it best to get him out of there and see if he would talk to me alone, without the prying eyes of his teachers and a well-meaning, but very annoying, school secretary. As soon as the car door was closed he started to talk.
“I want my Mum.”
This is happening more and more frequently and, although I’m not surprised, I do hate to see him suffering so much. He couldn’t say what had triggered it today. As I gather, he was just sitting in a classroom and started thinking about her.
What happened to his Mother was terribly sad and sudden. She was diagnosed with cancer just in the summer of 2009. It was already advanced by the time it was diagnosed and had spread to her bowel. She was hospitalised and incredibly weak as a result of the treatment and died in hospital as a result of a hospital acquired infection. No fault of the hospital. Just a simple fact of life that when your body is weak and immune system is non-existent you become susceptible to such.
I’m somewhat angry that she had to die. I’ve discovered this about myself. Of course for her – she deserved to see her 30th, 40th, 50th birthday parties. She deserved to see our son turn 6, 7, 17, 37…. But I’m also angry for my son who was denied the opportunity to grow up with his Mother.
I see him now so completely tormented. I should add that my boy is brilliant… I know all parents say that, but he really is. He’s incredibly intelligent and acutely aware of so much more than I was at his age. He knows what’s making him feel glum and he knows he can’t get her back. But no matter how intelligent a child is, emotional intelligence comes with age, not brain power. So he has all these feelings and he knows why – but he cannot deal with them.
He fell asleep after a cuddle when we got home. Cried himself to sleep and continues to sob in his sleep a little too. There’s just no way to describe the frustration of not being able to give you baby the one thing that will make him all better. There’s a fix to my boy’s heartbreak, but I can’t get it. I can’t bring her back.
A year ago he was a happy 5 year old spending a good balanced amount of time with myself and with his Mother. This summer, he’s a 6 year old boy grieving his Mum.
The school tries not to put too much of an emphasis on what happened. They don’t want to make him feel like they’re looking at him or watching him etc. I appreciate that a lot. And he and I fill our time well enough that he can be more than the little boy grieving for his Mummy. I think that’s important. He’s the little boy poet, he’s the little boy genius, he’s the little boy who loves tennis with a passion and he’s the little boy with a fine sense of humour. But no matter how many things he is or does, we can’t change the fact that he’s also the little boy who lost his Mum and is trying to find a way to deal with it.
It doesn’t matter how many ways you fill the hours of the day, the pain will find a way to rear its head. Less and less as the years go on, admittedly, but it will from time to time. Today was an example of that. Because my boy’s days are so full of things (something he and I both love about life) the emotions just found their way through and burst out in the middle of everything.
I want to heal him, make it better. I know how much that little heart aches right now. I’m bitter than his first heartbreak was this. Your first heartbreak should be aged about 14 because the girl you have a crush on kisses the guy you don’t like… it shouldn’t be because you lose a parent at 5. I hate that he has to go through this. I keep saying that, I know. And no matter how many times I repeat it to myself it doesn’t go away.
Life’s incredibly cruel sometimes.
When he wakes up, we’ll go for a run with our dogs, come home and order pizza. I’m taking tomorrow off and I am not sending him to school. We need some guy time.