Staring at the Grief in the Mirror

The Trips are all mourning Trip'n Daddy's loss in different ways.  As well they should, they are (as Savta so aptly put it while they were still in utero) "three individual babies."

C and I have been having an especially hard time with each other since this whole ordeal began and it has been particularly frustrating to me.

He is the kind of kid that all the mothers love, the one the teacher praises for his middot, and the one all the boys love to play with.  He has always had a smile that could melt anyone's heart and truly a Gutte Neshama (a good soul.) None of that has really changed.  The big change is in his behavior at home.

He is angry. All the time.
He is bitter.
He is combatant.
He is fresh, obnoxious, and rude.
He wines, he cries, he fights.
He tries to get out of going to school EVERYDAY.

My heart breaks everyday that I see this change in my little boy.  Honestly, I wish I could say that it makes me want to hold him, reassure him, comfort him.  Mostly, it makes me furious. It makes me scream, punish, and threaten.

Today, at a session with my Grief Counselor, I had a breakthrough.

I am having the hardest time with C's grief because it is an exact mirror to my own manifestations of grief. Watching him suffer is looking in a mirror constantly.

And I don't like it.

But now I "get" it.

We talk a lot about Fight or Flight response.

My "Flight" response has been to have "Bad Days" when I have a hard time getting out of bed to face the world.  I have no mean mommy to force me to go to school.  C also wants to "Fly" from the real world, from the pain of everyday life as the kid who has no Daddy.  But I am there to say, "No, you must go. You must face it,"  and he does. I think I need to learn from him and be my own mean motivator.

He has also been the direct recipient of my "Fight" response.  I admit that I am more short tempered with him than with anyone else.  It makes me crazy when he acts out.  I want him to realize how hard it is for me. How much I miss Daddy too. I want him to JUST BEHAVE.

And I get angry.
And I get bitter.
And I get combatant.
I speak to him with disdain, am obnoxious, sarcastic, and mean.
I cry and fight.

But today I looked in the mirror and saw the pained, tear-stained face of my little boy staring back at me.

Then I turned a corner and I came home and hugged him.

I have no grand expectations that this will make everything completely different from this point forward.  After all, our grief is not going to disappear, and I am far from perfect.

But now I know to look in the mirror more. To recognize our shared pain. To try to treat him the way I want him to treat me.


Ima2seven said...

What a beautiful and honest post. He is really lucky to have an Ima like you.

rietsadmin said...

a painful, raw honest realization. It's hard to recognize any fault and we all aim for perfection and there will always be room for disappointment. But the climb to the top of any goal is hard otherwise there would be no great sense of accomplishment. There is a great lesson to be learned here even for those of us who have not been forced into single parenthood. When our children act out we often react in the same fiery manner. To see the negatives in our lives and covert them to positives, that is a goal we can accomplish daily, slowly improving our lives and the relationships we have with our children. With good support and encouragement we can all grow a bit more sensitive to those around us. Especially our precious gems.

rutimizrachi said...

This one puddlized me. That is my new word for posts that have me crying and shaking as if the grief were my own. Can't tell you any reasons, except that your writing is so good that you take this reader vicariously inside of it (as much as that is possible). I give you brachot that you and your little man will come through his childhood as friends who understand that you came from the same country, and who speak a common language. My prediction: He will yet be your greatest comfort.

The Real Jerusalem Streets said...

Beautiful.. sometimes it is hard to be and act like the adult.

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