Christian and I had a nice chat while we were at Taco Bell. He expressed quite a bit of emotion and processed his thoughts regarding his mother’s death. We are about three months after the event.
He looked around and said, “You know all these people have their life. They all have things to do and are laughing, eating, and playing. They don’t know my heart is broken, and my world exploded. They don’t know if they look at me that I am sad at 20 out of 10 because they don’t look in my eyes or talk to me. I could not talk to them anyways about what happened. I can not tell them why I am sad, and I watch them go on with their lives. We never really know how sad someone is when we pass by them, do we?”
He mentioned that he becomes angry and will break things because he’s so angry he doesn’t know what to do with the anger. He’s not sure he’s angry about his mom, Paul, or the world. He just doesn’t understand why he’s mad, and certain things will set him off. We discuss that the anger he has about his mother’s death may not be on the surface but deep in his heart or mind, and so when something happens, it just makes him more angry than usual.
He said he was so sad that sometimes he just has meltdowns and cannot stop crying. He usually cries at home at night in his bed so that his dad doesn’t know how sad he is. He said if his dad knew how sad he was, he would ask him why? What’s going on? And he can’t talk or answer because it’s all caught in his throat. And his dad will just keep asking, and then he’ll get mad, and they won’t be able to have a discussion.
He said he rides his bike as fast as possible and sneaks out of the house when he feels like breaking down or so sad he can’t think. If he sneaks out, he won’t be afraid his dad will see him upset, and he doesn’t have to tell or show his dad how he’s really feeling. He says he’s mad at his dad, but he’s not really mad at him. He is more scared that if his dad is not answering the phone, is not home on time, or is not where he should be, it makes him think he may be dead like his mother. If that were true, he would not have any parents. If he did not have any parents, where would he be?
He mentioned that he was mad at his mother. He’s angry at his mother because she made bad choices and got with evil people who killed her. He knows that he can hear her voice telling him not to be sad and saying, “try to be happy, son.” She also says,” Son, don’t stop playing the violin. And son, be good”.
He says it is unfair that we can sit somewhere or go someplace, and nobody knows what’s going on in his life. No one takes the time to look at us, and they just have their life going normal. And his life has exploded. He will never have a mom with him to see all the things he does. But he believes that God lets her see him from heaven, and she is mad because she’s not able to be with him, and she’s sad because she has to see him from heaven, knowing he is sad and missing her.
We talked about heaven and how she’s happy in heaven, she misses him, and she’s rooting for him to do good. I explained the Bible mentions watcher spirits and that she would be one of his people that watched and reported back to God on how things were going for him.
He said,” Nana, I am not mad at you or Duke; I am just mad and get so frustrated very quickly lately. I don’t remember everything that happened because it was so unreal. I don’t know what to do with what I feel because sometimes I’m so sad I can’t think, and I choose not to think, so I don’t have to remember, so he gets super hyper. Other times I get so angry, and I can’t stop thinking about what happened, and I just act out and break things or get aggressive and yell. After that, I don’t remember what happened; I just know I broke something or destroyed something, and you or my dad were angry with me. But sometimes, I just blank out, and I don’t hear anything or know what’s going on. I don’t realize how much time has passed.
He eats his Dorito taco and looks at the families sitting in the dining room; looking up, he says, If I could talk to Paul, I would ask, “Why??? Just why?? Why would you take my mother’s life? I can’t understand because you seemed nice and worked on our yard.”
“Am I so angry with Paul-it’s 100% furious, and I don’t know what to do with it. I can’t ask him why he did it or tell him how mad I am”.
I asked him how he knew it was Paul who killed his mother. We had not told him anything at this time because it was so horrific his father was not sure how much he could understand or what he needed to know.
He answered, “it had to be Paul because it said it happened on Shady Street, and it had to be Paul because that’s the only person he could think of who lives on Shady Street. And Paul was not at the funeral service. He found an article about finding a body on Shady Street- It names my mom!”
He mentioned he would never have a mother, she would not grow old, and he would always be the kid who does not have a mother. So no more mother-son dance or mother’s day events. He stops, looks up with tears, and says, “I will always ALWAYS have her mom in my heart, never forget her and always love her forever and always.”
He also says he’s not sure why he’s so tired, but he’s very, very tired all the time. We discuss part of the grieving process can be fatigue, anger, and denial.
He reported running away from home because he’s found a way to sneak out when his father is not watching. He continued, “because dad doesn’t pay attention when I am in my room. If I am riding my bike, I find that I can get my anger out; I get it out mostly if I ride as fast as I can and jump on the trails. When I am really sad, I also know I need to go away from the house to get all this sadness out. I sneak back in before my dad realizes I am gone. (this is not true as his father called me panicked that he was missing and could not find him, we now have life 360 on his phone) He continued, “when he (my dad) goes to bed, I can cry until I fall asleep, but I have bad dreams, so I am tired and sleepy.”
We discussed how dangerous it is to sneak out, and it would be better just to talk to his dad, but he said again that everything gets caught in his throat, and he can’t get the words out because all he can do is cry or block everything out.
He says he knows that I, his Nana, love him and loved his mom; he knows I also miss her. So he can talk to me about it.
“Nana, It is still hard to go places we had our visits; I can’t go to places where she would go because it hurts too much and makes them too sad, and it’s hard hurts.” I feel safe staying home and away from everyone. I don’t want to go back to in-person school.”
He gets up from our table, walks to the desk, asks for more cinnamon twists, and comes back thoughtfully looking at me. “Where is the quilt mom made for me?” I answer, “Remember, you wanted me to put it in the closet because it was too hard to look at it or smell her perfume on it.” “Nana, he says, “I think my mom knew something was going to happen because she told me the secret about the quilt- the hearts on the inside I never knew were there until she showed me. I think I am almost ready to get it out, but I want to be sure you have not gotten rid of it”. I assured him it was in the closet, safe and waiting until he was ready to use it or put it on his wall. Shaking his head, he goes back to chewing on his Cinnaminson twists.
Looking up again tells me, “I can tell the future. Did you know that? He stops, “I can because God gave me a dream I have not told you about yet. But, you need to write it down. God showed him that we would eat at Taco Bell in this dream, and he said I was going to tell my Nana everything in my heart.”
I listened as he explained the dream and asked if he was mad at God. He reported he is not angry at God because God didn’t take his mom; Paul took his mom.
“Nana, How did Paul kill her? NO, I don’t want to know.” As he vacillates, he comes back around and asks again, making it a game. Was it by…?
I say no, it was not a gun, and it was not drugs, it was not a fall, it was not an accident, it was not…
He starts crying, “I am so happy it was not a gun. I thought they did not have the body (coffin) at the service because her head was shot and exploded off- Bang- splash. He looks up and says, “so it was a knife” I nod it was.
He begins sobbing, “that is worse than I thought! It is the worst way to go. She would be catching her breath, saying, “OH, my baby boy! I am so sorry. I will miss your life.” At this point, I am crying with him.
After a short time, he says, ” when I look around or down the street, I sometimes see her and remind myself she is dead. I think I see my mom, and then I shake my head and say no, she’s dead. He finishes his tacos, gets up, and walks to the car. He asks if we can go to the store so we can put flags on her gravesite.
He struggles to keep the tears from flowing. We buy the flags from the store and drive in silence. We finally get to his mother’s gravesite.
Taking a deep breath and brushing the tears from his eyes, he gets out of the car and walks to her gravesite. The headstone has finally arrived.
He smiles as he sees the angels and cries when he reads her name. “Nana, why is that part empty?” I explained It was for a picture of her in the circle once it was completed. He reports that he likes the angels and is happy she has a ‘place’ he can come to, not just an unmarked piece of dirt. He puts flags out for the 4th of July; that was one of their holidays. He sat on the heart for a long time while I sat in the car. He said, “Nana! All the fireflies came out and made him feel like God was saying his mom was still watching him and cheering for him…”