Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Resurgent Zack!

This evening Zack and I had one of the most amazing conversations that we have ever had! It started on our way home from the hospital and our visit with Nancy. During our short visit in the hospital, I had given Zack a pretty hard time as he was totally self absorbed and just wanted to play his video game. I scolded him because his grandmother was laying there in the hospital bed wanting to talk to him and he essentially ignored her. I told him that he was being selfish and he needed to get outside of himself. Though this was harsh criticism, I think this caused him to start to think outside of himself.
After we left the hospital we had a number of errands to run and since it was late I decided we were going to eat out. Shortly after we got in the car, Zack surprised me by saying something that I am sure has been in his head for years but he has never verbalized. He said... "Dad, when Mom was sick, I sometimes imagined the worst case scenario happening. (i.e. Patty dying) I am worried that my thoughts caused Mom to have bad mojo". Wow! Something like that had never come out of his mouth before. He had always sought to drive away his thoughts of Patty's sickness and death. This was the first time he had acknowledged his processing of these thoughts.
I figured it was time to really try and crack open the thoughts in Zack's head and really get this subject out in the open once and for all. I proceeded to tell Zack of many of the thoughts that had passed through my head during Patty's illness and subsequent death. I told him of my anger. I told him of my sorrow. I told him of the blame I had placed on Patty for not trying hard enough. I told him as much of what I could remember.
This became a great opening to talk to him about what else he had felt. Had he been angry at Patty? Had he been full of sorrow? While we ran our errands and then went to dinner at Claim Jumper, we talked. A lot of it was me talking and then asking him questions. But he answered for once and didn't melt down into his own anxiety and fear. In the end as we sat in our booth at Claim Jumper, the tears fell from both of our eyes.

(Yes - you can tell Zack is being raised by me! He's two fisting his meal! Drink in one hand and slab of pizza in the other!)

Right before our food came I suggested we head to the restroom to wash our hands. Zack because he has been suffering from a really bad cold for the last several days went into the restroom and blew his nose over and over again. When we got back to the table Zack said to me. "Wow Dad we sure got a lot out of me". He then burst into laughter as he had was referring to two things at once. He had gotten a lot of snot out of his nose in the bathroom and he had gotten a lot of emotion out on the table about Patty's death. After we both finished laughing about what he had meant, he said in a very serious voice "I really feel better Dad". I was totally overwhelmed by this as it was really the first time Zack has been able to verbalize so much about Patty's death. I can only hope this is the beginning of him finally coming to grips with what has happened and forever leaving his fear and anxiety behind him. As I lay here in my bed tonight typing this, I am so very proud of my son!

For those of you who want to know how Nancy is doing, here's a quick update. She should be getting out of the hospital tomorrow. She was going to come home tonight, but then she started experiencing a severe headache. Given she has just been placed on a blood thinning medication, her doctor wanted to have an MRI of her brain performed to ensure that she wasn't experiencing any bleeding in her head. Given that I didn't hear anything from either Nancy or the hospital, I would assume the test came up negative. I will assume she will be getting out of the hospital tomorrow - which will make for an interesting day as I need to be in Boulder for work for the entire day. Thanks and peace to all! ~J.


Angie said...

Jerry, I just want to commend you on taking care of your mother-in-law, even after the passing of Patty. I think that it takes a very strong person to let their in-laws live with them even when the spouse is there, but to continue to do so is wonderful! Kudos to you for being a great son-in-law and a fabulous Dad.

Tina Sommers said...

Way to go Zack. Jerry that is so awesome. I could imagine how proud you are of him. Glad to hear Nancy is going to be able to come home.

Nadine said...

Jerry, this is my first visit to your blog, the first post that I've read. I am also a single parent whose spouse has passed away. We have 2 children, DS-11 & DD-3. It's been over two years since my husband passed away from cancer after a 9 month struggle. Yet, my son has not communicated his feelings about the event to me, so I understand what a huge breakthrough this must feel like for you. I wait for the day when he is ready. I will be following your blog with interest.