Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fives years, lessons learned

Earlier this week I went to my late brother's facebook page to see if anyone had been leaving comments in memory of the anniversary of his death. When I do this I usually scroll down and read all his last moments he posted on the world wide web. Its a bittersweet time for me. I can recall his final days and get last glimpses into what he was doing, but at the same time I can still see the day back in February that we had our huge fight for everyone to see. It was a stupid status update he posted out of anger towards me and instead of ignoring it and just moving on I took the bait and had it out with him. I have since removed my words because it was to painful to keep reading over and over. In a way though I think it was my way of trying to plague myself with survivors guilt and remind myself I am still alive and he is not.

I had mentioned this on my own facebook page and was told that it is hard to get over survivors guilt. That its something that could just stay with me forever. In ways I guess I am ok with that. It gives me the reminder that I need to never walk away angry, never say hate and above all at the end of the day say I love you! I guess you could say it was one of the toughest life lessons I have faced. It is a lesson though that has really changed how I view things and how I take on situations. Now that my children are getting older I want them to understands that words truly do have meaning no matter if you mean them or not, that actions can speak louder than words, and there are just somethings that can never be taken back.

Sean is almost 14 and about to enter high school. He has begged us for Facebook since last summer. We had a million and one reasons why we didn't want him to. However as the year dragged on more of his friends were getting it, he was showing maturity and responsibility and had his own email account I guess there was sort of the cave. Well not really a cave it just sort of happened on a fluke, which is a long story but in the end he was told that he would have to friend certain family members who don't post much and or wouldn't mind friending him. This would keep eyes on his world wide web adventures and alert us to anything that was not ok. So far a week into it I think we are doing alright.

Tonight at dinner, after a really chaotic evening, we got to discussing family. A week ago Sean had forgotten about Alex's death five years ago and was sort of still in shock by it. I thought he was joking and trying to be funny but he wasn't. He truly didn't recall that we had sat him down with his sisters a few days after his passing and told them what happened. We discussed that families love each other no matter what. He had overheard a conversations earlier and I guess he thought maybe I was done with my family. I explained we are never truly done with family until we are done on earth. They are family no matter what to us and we might not like what they do and say they are still our family and we love them.

He still wasn't getting it I guess in the teenage world if someone pissess you off they are no longer existent in your life. That can be said in our adult world also. So I used the absolute best example I could find and shared it with him. I shared it right there at our table at McDonald's and honestly at that point I didn't care who heard because it's a lesson for anyone to take home. I told him of our fight, I told him of our last time we saw each other, our last phone call. I told him how angry I was and how I said and posted things now I can NEVER take back. I told him I had no idea less than a month later he would be dead. I told him there was no going back and that even though he is family and I know had forgiven me there will never be the words spoke to me that says that. I would never want him to be in that situation. I would never want him to have to deal with that when it came to his family and even his friends. It's a horrible pain to have in your hear.

I was pretty proud that I could give that speech without a single tear. I wanted him to know I was speaking without my emotions taking control over me, I wanted him to see more of my hurt than sadness. I believe that our children read us and understand best when they hear things from us with our true words and not the heavy emotions that may be coming out. I believe that while yes he is still a young teenager that he was more than capable of handling that conversation. I want him to know how real life is getting now for him. I want to use as many real life experiences to convey this to him so he can see just how real it is. I know a time will come when all of his siblings will join the Facebook world and I want them to use it for good.

And while yes we can delete and remove things that doesn't mean in other ways they are not still there. Facebook has come a long ways since then. I know that you can go back now and see my words are gone but his are still there, I know that for anyone who saw his page that day saw what was said. Do they remember it? Who knows but it's that face that others have that ability. That is what I am now stressing to my children. This was a good lesson for me, even as an adult.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Through his eyes

I am sitting on the couch of my livingroom with the front door opened. I am doing something I normally don't do but today I let go and let someone else take charge. H is in the front yard with his three older siblings and his dog. I would never do this not with his inability to understand danger and his lack of ability to grasp our tone of voice to alert to danger or scary situations. Today though with the pleading of his two older sisters I caved. I let someone else take him outside and be responsible for him while I sat in the house. I am keeping him in a visual at all times but he is entranced at the moment. 

Suddenly he is not compelled to run down the street or bolt from anyone. He is standing there on the porch engaged in a tube of bubbles with his sister. There is something about it, something about the interaction with this siblings that is different than the interactions with me or a teacher, he was engaged truly engaged in what Ella was doing with him. He wasn't looking for a distraction to make his break, he wasn't getting upset because she was distracting him from that break he wanted to make. What I saw at that moment was a boy and his sister sharing a true bond. I saw his hands flapping wildly, wide eyed anticipating the next big blow of bubbles to come. I saw a true calm come about him that I rarely ever see. He was relaxed in a way that he couldn't do when I tried to interact with him on that level. 

I could get upset and offended at this scene unfolding in front of me. I could feel hurt that he can't do that with me like he does with her. I could lose myself in all that negativity or I could embrace a moment that I don't get to see all that often. I sit and stare and feel my smile growing. I see a calm on his face that lets me know he has made a connection and he is embracing this moment just like I am. I wanted to run and snap a photo of this curious, quizzical moment. I always take pictures its my schtick. There is always a photo to remember almost every single moment. However I let him have this moment. I let him have it intruded moment with his sister. I can close my eyes and see that face, those hands reaching out to explore and seek out the bubbles coming at him. The eye contact he engaged in with Ella. Neither one knowing just how important that was. I did though and I smiled from the sidelines and had my own moment without intruding upon theirs. 

Sometimes these children open up when we least expect it. Sometimes they open up when they don't feel they are center stage spotlight and every moment is watched with an eagle eye. Ella was able to reach him on a level I have yet to reach him at. It was a carefree let's just be us and not world about the rest of the world around us. I have lost myself in their moment, basking in their laughter, their conversation, their true connection. The moment has now long passed and they have moved on to other things. I am still sitting here with that image smiling thinking of how all this happens, through his eyes.