While listening to a song in the car today, I realized how very worried I am about my son. I interpret the song to be about not wanting to let someone leave you. When I hear it, I think of someone taking their own life. I myself have had many suicide attempts. The first at 14 years old and the last 4 or 5 years ago. I was a sad child. It feels like I was born this way. However, not having a father in my life since the age of one may have played a role in my joylessness. I have suicidal thoughts all the time and recognize my son’s demeanor. He has become grumpy, argumentative and distant. He is only 9 years old and has lost his father. Not dead, but gone. I have an 11 year daughter as well. She is easy and pleasant compared to her brother. I always imagined this to manifest itself the opposite way. My father left when I was a year old and I pined over him for years without even knowing him. Of course my daughter misses her dad too, she asks occasionally when she’ll see him again, but her composure is, well, that of an older sibling. She is very mature for her age. Maybe her lack of a father will reveal itself later on. I will address those issues and needs when they arise. Presently, however, my concern is for my son.
As always with anyone, his mood is bound to have ups and downs. Some days my son appears emotionally stable, others not so much. It’s as though he wishes he could just hide in the corner. He will not talk to me and does not respond when I engage him. He pulls the covers over his head as if he is ashamed of his own feelings. I know this reaction as I have done it myself when expected to answer someone and I simply don’t have it in me. It’s like reaching up your sleeve for that ever flowing and colorful handkerchief like clowns do, and your sleeve is hollow. Hollow. That’s the appropriate word. There’s just nothing inside, but too much to sort through at the same time, leaving you listless and tired and feeling hollow. So I get it. I really do.
I don’t want him to hurt. I don’t know what to say to him. I can’t make it better. I need him to know that I understand what he is feeling and where he is coming from. I don’t want him to do what I did as a teenager. I don’t want to lose him. What if he gets really depressed and I can’t reach him? What if he gets caught up in a group of friends who are toxic for him? What if he grows up to hate me because his dad had to leave? I need to put every ounce of energy I have into making sure he knows he is loved and understood. I don’t want to lose a child, just as I am sure they couldn’t bear to lose me. I will never attempt suicide again because I know I am all my children have. It is so unpredictable being a parent. I have many difficult, yet beautiful, years ahead of me with these two amazing children. And to imagine one of them being so sad that they couldn’t say anything breaks my heart. My world would stop. It’s a daily journey. I will take this one problem, one bad mood, one tear, one awesome feat at a time.