My son, who is so much like me.
Too cool for words.
Keeps his emotions close to his heart.
Never lets anyone in… afraid of being hurt, laughed at, made fun of.
My son, who is at *that age* where he is too big to climb on my lap but too little to walk away from me…
Of his own volition, started asking about pictures, about people, about Daddy.
We had a conversation about the final day, the choice Mark made to stop life support and why. I shielded them a little too much from the details… Andrew thought his Dad chose to die vs to live, when in fact he chose to die with dignity and family surrounding him rather than in an emergency and crisis and possibly alone.
Andrew doesn’t want to be alone tonight, he wants me near him. I’m ok with that. We went to the Love & Light memorial and although he was quiet, I know it affected him.
But he lets me in, a little at a time. Gives me glimpses into how much he’s hurting. I have to be open and sensitive to the tiniest clues, the subtlest hints. And be compassionate. Allow for things like falling asleep on the couch on a school night because he’s missing Daddy and want’s Mom around.
Tonight, while we were talking about Dad… he said to me…
”Mom, on Christmas Day can we take all the stuff off Daddy’s box and open it up? That way we can see all his stuff… it’s like opening Daddy’s heart…”
To the unenlightened, to the casual observer, there is a piece of furniture in my living room which is, for all intents and purposes, a very large box. It is a beautiful piece. A gorgeously hand-crafted piece of furniture. Apparently constructed by a blind man 35 years ago. It sits in front of my window, with a couple of things on it, a friendship circle tea light holder, a lamp and a plant.
If you didn’t know any better – it’s just a beautiful, if large, piece of furniture.
It is, in fact, Mark’s memorial box. Everything of his that we’re keeping, everything of his that is cherished, is in that box. Opening that box is a good way for instant tears for me. I have gotten very good at not noticing the very large, very beautiful box that takes up most of the space under my window.
So on Christmas Day, my son wants his Dad to be a part of the celebrations. He wants the pictures and the stuff and the box opened up so Daddy’s heart can be a part of our Christmas.
How could I say no? Of course we will – no matter how much it kills me, I will do this for my son.
Because he needs it – he needs for it to happen for him to help move through his grief.