Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Can I untie this knot in my throat?

I just finished writing a paper that I worked on all weekend, to the exclusion of all of the other homework I needed to do. I should feel relieved, but I barely do.

On Friday, a friend of my sons died. She was fifteen or sixteen. I think I might have sort of met her once, or given her a ride home, or seen her in the mall parking lot when I went to pick up Adrian. He is pretty private about his friends, especially the girls. He is pretty private about most things, actually. He holds a lot in. Or at least he tries, but nobody is really ever successful at that.

I didn't know this girl... this someone-else's-baby, but I feel broken hearted, and anxious, and full of despair. Part of it is watching my child go through this grief, and thinking about her family and friends, and the endless cumulative well of pain her death puts into the world- into the part of the world that touches my kid, and touches me. When I think about how she died, how she was pushed in the stairwell at school, and fell, and I think about how that is nothing. That kind of thing happens every day, and it's all it took to end her. One stupid kid having a little moment of aggression, or thoughtless playfulness, or a spastic need to get to class faster. A bump on the head. Just that. It feels like a fist around my throat.

And to top it off, It scares the beejeebies out of me that my kid won't let me know him. One thing that has always thrown me into a fit of depression, was when I felt that the people I was closest to didn't really know me, or want to know me, and they didn't want to let me know them. Really know them. Not in the way I know Adrian because I'm his mom, and I cried when he got his first haircut and the stupid woman messed it up, or I because I wrote his first words in his baby book. I mean the kind of knowing you get when someone voluntarily tells you how they feel, and what they want, and what they think, and it's even so much better when they want to know the same things about you.

I have spent the last couple of days perpetually distracted as I wondered what he was feeling and thinking. How well did he know her? Did he ever want to kiss her? Did he ever kiss her? Does he feel guilty for any real or perceived betrayals? Did they laugh together? What did he like about her? What made her special to him, and what will he miss? How were things between them when he last saw her? I wonder what he will take from this experience. Will he become more fearful, cynical and bitter? More closed off? Or will it open him a little bit and let him see how he is not alone. Everyone is hurting over this, even people who paid little attention to her before.

Tonight he is at a candle lighting ceremony, grieving with friends. I am glad he went, enough so that my anxiety about him getting into a car with another boy his age (one I don't even know) has taken a back-back seat. I hope it helps him. I hope it gives him what I can't.

I have tried to talk with him about it, but my throat tightens and my voice takes on the nasal, anxious quality that makes me wish I would just shut up, so I can only imagine what he is thinking. I cry. He is silent, or gives me one-word answers. He is very clear about shutting me out. He or I could die and I don't know if I could live with things being left in this state, yet there seems to be nothing more I can do about it. So, I just put my hand on top of his when I drive him to school, and tell him I love him. I just hope it sticks.

Rest in peace, Tiffani. I'm so sorry I never got to know you. I hope my son really did.