For the past few months Brom’s needed me. For everything. Ryan has increasingly not been good enough. HIs need for me has increasingly meant he needs to touch my skin all day long. He touches my scars, he caresses me, grabs me, pinches me. If he can’t he cries and becomes increasingly agitated.
Some days are better than others, it’s been weeks now since he also asked to nurse. But in other ways things have been getting worse and worse.
Yesterday I wanted to have a bath, Ryan took Brom to help him fall asleep. I trusted Ryan to provide Brom with the love he needed, but Brom needed more than love. His screams became more and more frantic. He needed me and the more Ryan tried to calm him down, the angrier Brom became. The more agitated he became. The more frantic he became.
Finally I climbed out of the tub and went outside to find Brom trying to fling himself away from Ryan and Ryan becoming more and more upset.
He’s a kind and gentle man. He does the best he cane to understand and listen to his children. But for some reason neither one of us has stopped and actually understood what Brom’s been going through. Last night Ryan tried to calm Brom down. He tried to distract Brom from wanting me. He tried to make Brom stay with him instead of go to me.
As I type this, it sounds pretty obvious, but in the moment it isn’t as easy to see. In the moment it looks like a daddy calmly comforting his son, and his son screaming louder and louder.
What Ryan forgot last night, and what I’ve been forgetting as well, is that when a person is sad, they do not want someone else to say, “I know you’re sad about X, but look at Y, isn’t it great!?!?” A person wants you to say, “I know you’re sad about X, I’m here for you.” It’s a huge difference, and even more important when the person is two years old and can’t even label his feelings, let alone tell us when we’re missing the point.
Brom’s been trying, we just haven’t understood his needs without words. Until last night it dawned on me.
Just as Cordelia’s recently been expressing her fears about my health, he was likely just as worried. In his very short life, he’s spent so many days where I left his sight, but when I returned, I couldn’t hold him because of chemo, or surgery.
So many times in his life I’ve left his sight only to return with a new scar. So many times I’ve left his sight and his life’s been turned upside down.
I wanted a bath, but he was terrified I wasn’t going to be able to hold him again. I wanted a bath, 30 minutes by myself, and he was terrified I was going for surgery again. I wanted a bath and he cried for me. While he cried neither of us heard what he was telling us.
When I picked Brom up, and began talking to him about his feelings, asking questions, letting him respond with what words he had, but mostly with his body language, he was able to confirm his need was based on fear. As we talked, his body visibly relaxed and he was able to finally cry healing tears as he clung to me. I removed my shirt, he looked at my scars, touched them, caressed them. And loved me. By the end of our talk he was able to go to Ryan and hold him, love him, and be loved by him.
For the first time in weeks Brom was able to relax.
Chemo is done. Surgery is over. My scars are fading. But the wounds run much deeper than that.
Together our family heals and finds #unforgettable in our lives.