Wednesday, March 05, 2014

How It Is In The End

Thomas' therapy was yesterday and I ended up invited in yet again. I was apprehensive about going in because I felt that it was Thomas' time to talk about his grief about his grandpa's death. His therapist ran through a litany of questions and even, though he's not my therapist, he asked how I was doing and made me rate my grief on his famous 1-10 scale. At the time I was quite numb about the loss of my daddy so I rated myself a 2, on the low end of feeling the sadness of his loss. Before that though, he asked Thomas to rate his own sadness and Thomas said he was a 2. Huh. That surprised me. A 2. A lot of things ran through my head about that number, most of them centering around wondering how much denial he was in. Then the surprise came to light. Who my boy grieves for is his grandma. I don't know why I didn't see that as his sole source of grief but it began to make sense as we talked.

Thomas' therapist is often worried about the lack of decent fatherly influence in his life. He asked Thomas if his grandpa had taken him fishing or skydiving or did fun things with him. Thomas shook his head "no" to every question. Then he said it,

"I just wasn't very close to my grandpa."

It's funny because all of these years I thought, I guess, that because I saw my daddy as my sun and moon, I somehow believed that Thomas saw him the same way. After Thomas talked a little I began to better understand his grief. Of course he hadn't been close to my daddy. They had never gone to a car show, my daddy had never offered up much grandfatherly advice and most recently he had been too sick to even attend Thomas' graduation. While the graduation thing was understandable it was evident that the key to Thomas now lack of grief was that in reality what he was saying was true. His grandpa just hadn't been there for him. This had always been a source of distress for myself and my mostly my mom because she and I both wanted so desperately for Thomas to have a steady, consistent male influence but the truth of the matter is, and this is no disrespect to my daddy after his passing, that he just hadn't been there for Thomas. That is ok. That is the way he was and that is ok. Between Thomas being abandoned by his biological dad and his step dad not stepping up in a big way, my mom and I always wished my daddy would step up in their places but sadly he didn't. For Thomas though, he had known only his grandma and I as his main source of emotional support and he had grown up knowing a great love for him from his grandma and I. He's been missing something very important in that the male influence was lacking, but what he did have was a much more complete and tender love from his grandma and I.

At the end of my daddy's life, Thomas and I went over to his grandma's and we all sat together and cried. I had never seen so much emotion flow from my boy and at the time I thought it was because he was missing his grandpa so much. His emotion that night though came for his beloved grandma who was grieving a terrible loss to her and Thomas' concern, Thomas' care, Thomas' tears were for the grandma he loved so much and his heart was broken for her.

I came home yesterday after a very difficult day and Thomas came to me for a hug and his one and only question for me was:

"How is grandma?"

Above all else, even above my own feelings about my loss of my daddy, Thomas cared most about my mom's well-being and found solace in my answer for him:

"Grandma is having a very hard time. She lost her husband of 45 years and it will take time for her to deal with that. But kiddo? She's having good times too. She is strong, she smiles and sometimes she even laughs. She will be ok and she loves you so very very much."

So how it is in the end for Thomas is that he will grieve for his grandma who he loves with all of his heart, who bakes him lemon sugar cookies, who stops by the house at random times just for a hug, who takes him out for burgers and shakes, who had showed up at every visitation time when he was in the hospital, who listens to Thomas even though at times he is delusional and listens to those delusions and with a gentleness that even I can't seem to muster, she works through his thought processes and while not always successfully, she does it with a grandma's pure love for her grandson and it is all of that that Thomas appreciates and loves and it is her broken heart that he grieves for.

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