Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

Haunted by the images

FRIDAY, May 21 – I have a feeling this could be one of our last visits to the psychologist.  It was a meaningless session during which we didn’t really discuss anything, and the boys were full of playful banter. A couple more times, maybe, and then we can make it on our own.

But how wrong I was – I failed to pick up on the signals.

The evening before Sander had indicated that he was still haunted by images of the accident. This time it was worse than ever. He said he was able to put himself in the shoes of both his mother and the police officer. He relived the accident as victim and as perpetrator. What he called a ‘bad moment’ was something that came and went. At least, that’s what I’d thought.

Today he didn’t want to talk about it with the psychologist, so we dropped the subject until this evening:  twice we get into a furious argument and twice we make up. Then the truth finally comes out. Today he was sent out of the classroom.  There’d been anger and frustration leading to miscommunication with his Dutch teacher.

‘I’m tired of explaining to her that it’s because of the accident,’ he said. So, he didn’t tell her why he was acting up and as a result, his conduct was misinterpreted – by me as well.

I’m so thankful that I’m able to talk to both my boys; although not necessarily immediately or on request. At some point the topic comes up, often spontaneously, and that’s the real advantage. This is one of the results of the weekly sessions with the psychologist that I had gotten going the week after the cremation. Every Friday afternoon from two to three we’ve been there, all three of us. Laying the foundation for the real therapeutic work, if that proved necessary in the future.

Now that future is knocking on the door. Sander himself came up with the diagnosis ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’.  He must have picked it up somewhere and then realized what was actually going on inside him. I emailed the psychologist and she can squeeze us in on Monday afternoon. Little by little we’re going to sweep away all the shit from the past. With professional help, not by lovingly brushing it aside with paternal hugs – which he gets anyway.

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