Some days I wish I could see, all of this, this whole total life change we’ve had, through the eyes of my son. So I would know best how to ease his pain, what i can say that will be of the most comfort.
Other days, I’m so glad I’m spared that pain. Just imagining the pain of my little one is enough to break m. To be immersed it…. the pain would drown, unable to breath through the crushing viciousness of it on my chest.
I watch my son grieve as I do, back and forth, toward and away from the memory of his dad. Unable to watch TV shows or movies we used to enjoy with him, because to become trapped in a memory like that hurts, not while you’re in it- but once you remember that a memory is all it is.
Then, I watch him sleep on the floor, curled up around a pillow the way he used to with his dad. And I see him, mourning as I do. Pulling the memory close for comfort, as much as it cuts ans chaffs at your soul.
My son, he is more like his father every day. Nature, nurture, and the memories that fill in the gap.
In Tony’s eulogy, they mentioned our little boy, and the way he stands just like his father- one arm stretched out to lean against something for support, one foot crossed over the other. He still does that, stands like that… a habit. But he no longer tells me he’s being a man, just like Daddy.
And just recently, my son has developed a strong gag reflex to smell. Just like father had.
Nature, nurture, habit.
In a way, I feel grateful that he is old enough to have absorbed that core of masculinity his father had. I think that’s become intrinsic, his measure of masculinity. The Bump, she will miss her father (I wonder, how old she will be, when she starts asking questions, and realises a father is a generally accepted part of a family?), but, and it’s my own feminine and masculine stigma showing here- it seems less of a blow for a little girl to lose her father, than it is for a little boy.
I remind myself, that while I have a framework to fit his in, my son does not. Suddenly, his best friend, his idol… the centre of his world… was gone. With no explanation, except what I give him, which always seems futile, and never enough.
It seems important to remember the last time my children saw their father. But my memory tricks me, and the details aren’t solid.
I can’t remember if the Bump was awake when Tony came home that day, or if our arguing woke her up. I can’t remember, exactly, if Tony picked her up and gave her a cuddle.
My memory, a vague, shadowy one, it tells me he did. And I like to think of that as the last time she saw her father…. I hope, if she remembers anything at all, it’s that, and not the Other.
My little boy… I just don’t know. Tony put him to bed the night Before This, I remember that. It was Tony’s birthday, and I tried not to get cranky as he stirred up our incorrigible three year old right on sleep time.
I know it was a habit of Tony’s to say good morning to our son, our Chop, as he left for work in the mornings. Chop was usually awake, playing in his bedroom, safely behind a baby gate that served a double protection for our long flight of stairs. Tony would go in, say good morning, and bring the Chop a glass of milk to start the day, giving the Bump and I an extra half hour in bed.
Chop was, thankfully, sleeping when This Happened.I don’t know if Tony did his usual thing, on the 6th of January, if he crept in and had an early conversation with his son, a final goodbye with his best mate. I’ll never know.
But I like to think he did.