Sunday, September 29, 2013

how can you mend a broken heart

A few weeks ago, my heart broke wide open once again.

During a short but long overdue visit with Mary and Rohn, I learned a few things that both infuriate me and break my heart at the same time.

I remember that day in October 2008, when I laid on the bed next to Rochelle, just a few hours before she passed away. She was struggling to talk, and was unable to. I held her hand and laid my head on her shoulder and told her to rest, that it was okay. I told her that I'd help make sure that her son was taken care of, that he'd never forget his mother, and that he would always feel loved.

And now I feel like I've let her down.

A ten year old boy without a mom, whose new stepmother doesn't hug him, cuddle him or love him the same as her own child. A boy who needs affection and an encouraging voice. He looks so much like his mother, and he has her infectious spirit, her playful mischievous laugh, and her sense of humor. As my birthday twin, he and I share a special bond. I love that kid more than I have words for.

So, how is it that he has come to live in a home that doesn't encourage him to remember her, that tolerates but doesn't help him deal with his grief? How can someone look at this child and not feel his loneliness and want to ease it?

In a tolerant and patient and forgiving moment, I can almost understand why it's easier for Dave to let go of Rochelle's memory than to actively help Rohn remember, and how Jeannie might feel insecure with the ghost of her new husband's first wife hanging around. But then I see Rohn and I want to kick both of their asses. To not include Dave and Rohn's whole family in their wedding? To treat Frank and Mary like they haven't been Dave's other set of parents, let alone friends for all these years? To hear Mary tell me that she feels as though she's not only lost her daughter, but now a son as well just made me want to scream.

As for me, I just get a cold shoulder and a "your best time to see Rohn is when he's with Mary" when I contact Dave. He doesn't say it out loud, but I got the message. I'm no longer welcome as a part of his and Rohn's life. That hurts. But not as much as what that message and attitude are going to do to Rohn as he grows up.

I want so much to believe that Dave picked someone who is good for him and who will be good to Rohn. After all, he picked Rochelle, and look at how good they were for each other. I'm just not seeing that in his new relationship. And that pisses me off. Rohn deserves better. Dave deserves better.

I'm not used to feeling anger like this. It's not a natural feeling for me to be pissed off. I'm the one who finds the even ground and makes her way through life as peacefully as possible. Not that I don't rock the boat, I just don't do it in the heat of the moment. When that feeling of anger and (hard to admit) even momentary hatred came bubbling up while standing in the parking lot talking to Mary, it caught me by surprise. Later, as I was retelling the story to my sponge girls, the same feeling choked me up and it's been haunting me for the last few weeks.

Anger. It's part of the grief process, I know. I just haven't experienced it like this yet, so I'm not totally sure how to deal with it. I know it's a valuable emotion and I recognize that I need to allow this part of the grief process to run its course, and that eventually I'll find a way to focus and channel the emotions in a way that is helpful.

I just keep wondering who is going to teach Rohn how to deal with his emotions and grief in a productive way. Who will mend his broken heart?

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