Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Spectacular Show Of Sympathy


Yesterday evening there was a moment I was both proud of and felt pain about with Thomas. He did something that was spectacular to me because I saw my son, who is so quiet and introverted, come out of his shell to help me.

Yesterday afternoon my mom was at her boyfriend's cleaning out his garage where she had stored things that belonged to my dad when he was alive. These things, to me, embody my dad. They were his tools, his yard work equipment and a few other things. Growing up I spent so much time with my dad helping him fix cars and work in the yard. My favorite memory, though, was of waking up on Saturday mornings when my window was open in my bedroom and hearing my dad mowing the front lawn and smelling the scent of fresh cut grass. To this day I smell fresh cut grass and he is immediately by my side in spirit.

My mom called me from that garage and asked me if I wanted anything and I chose a couple things for Dan and I asked about my dad's tool boxes that I can still see sitting on his tool bench in the garage of the house I grew up in. He had stuck racing stickers and other things all over them and to me, they meant everything. When she and I got off the phone immediately I felt the grief of losing my dad wash over me. Here we were again getting rid of pieces of my dad.

When my mom finished she said she was going to drop some things by and since I had just gotten out of the shower and couldn't go outside to open the garage I asked her to just leave them beside the garage. When I walked outside I stopped short; there were my dad's tool boxes sitting on a pile of a few other things. I couldn't even wait a second before I hurried over to them and began opening every drawer to see what surprises lay inside for me. Everything in those drawers my dad had handled and I wanted to hold them too. I found many things I loved instantly and I put the tool boxes in a special spot in the garage.

Later in the evening Dan came home and I was in a rotten mood. Somehow I had become angry with my mom for allowing her boyfriend to have anything to do with my dad's things. It just didn't seem right to me and I was hurting. I changed into comfy clothes along with Dan and I fought back tears as I told him about how the day had gone down. I begged him not to touch my dad's tool boxes in the garage because I wanted them to stay exactly where I had put them. I needed them exactly in that  spot to somehow maintain my sanity about having to face, yet again, that he is gone.

We went into the kitchen to cook dinner and I lost it completely. I broke down in tears and talked about how these things were pieces of my dad, the things that represent his life, and I hated that his amazing life had been reduced to just things in a garage. There would be no more dad to hug and tell him I love him.

Then...then I walked into the living room where Thomas was and he jumped to his feet and asked me if I was okay. I thought about trying to hide my tears from him but I knew he had just heard me crying in the kitchen. He looked at me and asked me if I needed a hug and again asked if I was okay and I went to him and looked at him with tears rolling down my face and I told him that grandma was getting rid of grandpa's things and that it was hard for me because they are pieces of grandpa and all that is left. He put his arms around me and held me while I cried. I felt horrible for burdening him with my pain but I decided in the moment that he knew I was sad and all he wanted to do was comfort me. I felt it would be unfair of me to tell him I was fine when I wasn't and refuse the hugs.

I stepped away from him and I saw such worry in his eyes and he couldn't take his eyes off of me. He, again, asked me if I was okay and I told him that I would be just as fresh tears rolled down my face. He reached for me again and I hugged him and let go and he looked at me again with those eyes. I could see such love and such concern in them and I was grateful for this beautiful young man who stood before me and who stood outside of himself for a minute and found a way to comfort his mom. For his sake I wiped away the tears, swallowed the grief and told him how much I loved him and thanked him for caring so much about me. He went and sat back down and I told him dinner was just about ready and I left the room.

When I got back in the kitchen, there were no more tears. My mind was on my boy and what I might have just done to him by weakening in the moment and showing him my vulnerability. I don't know if it was good for him to see me like that and to be able to reach out to me and help but somehow I think it might have helped him in some way. I wanted him to see that he has the power to make me feel better since so often I am in a bad mood and I can see his helplessness and pain because he can't change my mood.

I don't know what I did to him by crying in his arms but I hope, in the end, it was a good thing that taught him that his hugs, his holding me in his arms while I cried, were powerful tools of his that show him that he has the ability to change my life with just a hug, just as I always hope I can change his pain by hugging him.

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