Wednesday, October 9, 2013


To my son Tommy,

After I picked you up from school and fed you some fries, you and I played on your swing set for a couple hours.  You kept asking if your cousin Ryan can come down but she is in North Carolina with her parents for a wedding.  But your old man tried his hardest to make it fun for you.  We threw an oversized frisbee around and kicked and tossed your inflatable penguin beach ball you got from your Innisbrook sales.  I pushed you on your swings and watched you on the slides (which I likened to the economy with the current government) and we even ran around a bit and played tag.  We need to work on getting you some more friends who we can call to come over and play.  Not only to make it more fun for you, but to save your dad's old joints and bones.

We went inside, bathed, and did your homework.  You weren't satisfied with the little bit of homework you had, so you had me print out more letters to trace.  As I was sitting there watching you and helping you, an overwhelming feeling of emptiness consumed me.  Even after just a couple days of her not being home, your mom's presence is sorely missed.  She makes the house feel so full with just her presence.  Without her there, I felt empty.  Worry about your mom's condition and hospital stay started to consume me.  To keep my mind off things I started cleaning.

Cleaning was a bad idea.  I was going through the pile of papers on the table, I found a bunch of stuff that needs to be addressed.  Normally your mom would handle all this in her own way.  She has the knack for keeping things scheduled in her head and making sure everything is done at the last minute.  I prefer to do everything right away because if I put it off, for even an hour, chances are it will never be done.  It is just a difference in approaches and neither is really better if the job gets done and the person doing it keeps their sanity.  Unfortunately in my state of mind, filled with emptiness and uncertainty and sorrow and worry, I started focusing on the difference with anger.  I wasn't really angry at your mom nor angry at turning in a permission slip a day late nor figuring out which of the bills are due now.  Really I was just worried and going through the natural progression of emotions usually associated with loss or grief.  It is odd how just a couple days away from the love of my life and the whole uncertainty of things can trigger the same five stages usually reserved for the more permanent loss of a loved one.  It really put another spotlight on how your mom is such a vital part of me and my life.  Not sure why this time it is hitting me so emotionally, but it is what it is.  Of course as I realized what I was doing, I forced myself to snap out of it.

Your mom's cousin Aunt Keri brought over some food for us.  A spaghetti pie and some garlic bread and some cookies with little ghosts on them.  A welcomed and delicious help.  We had to make you some plain pasta though because I couldn't entice you enough to try it yourself.  I did get a bite of a cookie in you but you went kicking and screaming on that one.  Though after you had the bite, you said you might try those again tomorrow.  We called mommy so you could say goodnight.  We brushed your teeth and you chased me up the stairs for bedtime.  Songs and prayers and then I went downstairs. I did the dishes and silently yelled at myself for missing the recycling yesterday (again that anger but this time at myself) and I straightened more of the living room.

The lesson here is emotions are a tricky thing.  They deceive you.  They replace valid worry with anger because it is easier to be mad than to be sad.  You have to deal with these emotions all your life and the more you learn about your own emotions and the root cause of them, the easier it will be to not let these emotions overtake you.  It is okay to have these emotions but don't let them get the better of you.  People might not see that call complaining about an overdue permission slip found on the table as your way of coping.  And by people, I mean your mom.  If you ever do find yourself getting out of control, stop, take a deep breath, say a prayer, and beg forgiveness for anyone who was an innocent casualty.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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