There are so many days I don’t post. I don’t post because I have no energy, no reserves left. Writing seems to be a tremendous chore, a chore I do for no one but myself. I am often slack, tired and I opt to nap instead of put down on paper what happened the day, the week, the month before, but some days I feel compelled. Today is a day, this can be cathartic and sometimes I need that more than a nap!
Angst noun ˈäŋ(k)st, ˈaŋ(k)st
Definition of ANGST : a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity <teenage angst>
It’s easy to dismiss him during the day, his angst, his anger, his total defiance and rudeness, it’s easy to get angry and retort back mentally or physically. Neither is the solution but none-the-less the release makes ME feel better. What of him? At night, when he should be long sleeping, he is curled up next to me in my bed, too frightened to let me leave, tired but obviously with things on his mind. Every night for the past 7 or 8 months it has been this way. Slowly but surely the days are getting better, but the nights are longer, more emotional and more draining than I ever could have imagined.
Night after night, he lays next to me asking questions I don’t have answers too, wishing desperately I did. Invariably in the end, the sobbing begins for both of us. Not sobbing quietly or him gently seeking solace in my arms, this isn’t that at all, this is so much more physical. I could wax poetically in an effort to help someone visualize this letting-out, this pure emotion, but I don’t know that I can. Words don’t adequately paint the picture of how it really is.
I remember the noise, that sound, that feeling, very well now. It’s not the gentle sob of when something goes wrong, or when you are frustrated, or even when bad news finds you. It isn’t even the same noise as when someone you love gently reaches the end of his or her life. Its not the same sob I let out the day I heard about my Grandmothers death. Her death of course elicited pain, some guilt, even fear and anger but nothing as guttural as the noise B makes. My angst came from a sadness of knowing that she was gone, tinged with a little guilt because I wasn’t there, guilt not because I couldn’t get there but because I had made a choice not to be there. Along with those emotions, came the fear and turmoil over what might happen later, what it might feel losing other family members and not being there, not being around enough, missing them. Understandable, imaginable pain. Then, again when my grandfather passed, a deep, deep sadness, but lightened with the knowledge that his life had been long and happy. There was even joy knowing that he was finally meeting my grandmother again after the longest separation of their lives.
It’s only later, after my brother died, that I could pull from personal knowledge and understand more deeply the true nature of my son’s raw pain over his grief at the loss of his Birth Mother. Quite possibly made worse by the knowledge that she is almost certainly still alive and has moved forward with her life too.
I can attribute this event, my brother’s death, in my life and then my reactions and feelings following that to the sobbing I hear in B at night. This isn’t just sadness. This is so much more, he is more than devastated, he is more than words can even describe. He is 7 and is experiencing pain that I, as a 41 year-old could barely handle.
He makes the same gut-wrenching deep sobbing, can’t breathe, can’t make sense, noises I made when I heard my brother was gone. The pure, unadulterated pain of shock and grief, disbelief and anger. This is the sounds I hear my son making. His cries bring me to a completely new level of empathy that I ever realized I had the capacity for. “You hate me, I am stupid” he screams, crying, flailing, then a moment later, curling up with me looking for comfort, asking me “why, why didn’t she want me?” asking me questions I can only guess the answers too. Then “I love you Mummy, you are the best Mummy ever” even going as far as to tell me “you are the best of my 2 Mummies” but then something else sets in, guilt maybe? And he is off again, rolling around, stating very clearly “I hate my life, I want to die, just kill me, just throw me away, you hate me, I am stupid” screaming in my face, or whispering staring straight into my eyes, then slapping, kicking, crying, around and around we go, until he eventually for that night, he lets it go. Exhausted he will fall asleep. Most nights we go through this dance. Although some nights I just don’t go up, I stay and hide away downstairs with the façade that I must clean the kitchen, pphhhst if you saw my kitchen you would know where that fantasy ended!
What to do, what to do? As much as I wish it could be, this isn’t a fiction novel. The story here has no start, no middle nor potentially a ‘happy ever after’ end, well not yet anyway. The end of this story is such a long way off. I am confident that we are still in the first chapter, nowhere near the middle or the end. Therefore, we endure. We listen, we comfort, we allow the pain to come out. On the days I can’t take the pain, my husband and I switch, but for our son there isn’t another person to do that for him. He carries it everywhere. It is part of who he is right now and will shape the person he becomes. For us, we try to carry the load. We try to take and carry his pain for him. Sometimes I fantasize about taking it physically, rolling it up, putting it in a bucket, carrying it out the bedroom, down the stairs and into the night…
This is not a kid with autism, not ADD, not ADHD, PDD, ODD, none of those things. This is a kid who is carrying pain, who gets through each day and hopes to dump some of it, I am here, we are here, with our bucket….