Is life some kind of contest?
SATURDAY, August 28 – I give in. I can’t go through it all again: grab hold of him, kiss his forehead, and try to talk him into it. Convince him that the pleasure that baseball once gave him will come back, that he’s a good player and that his team needs him. I’m trying to make him realize that he well… what actually?
I give in. He looked at me with that wounded look. I saw the pain in his eyes. I saw his contorted body. I felt the tension in his head, the throbbing of his heart. I heard the desperation in his voice when he asked: ‘Papa, do we really have to go to baseball practice?’
I give in. Why should I keep trying to persuade him? Why force him? Why bring back those memories that cause him so much pain? He told me himself. ‘When I go to baseball practice, I go through it all over again.’ Why pretend to him and to myself that continuing to play baseball, the sport that he and his mother loved, can become part of a healing process?
I give in. ‘Okay, Eamonn. We’re not going to baseball practice. Maybe we ought to sit down and talk about the rest of the season.’ He visibly relaxes. Is this a victory or a defeat? I don’t know; but if today I happen to bump into the convicted motorcycle cop, he can expect an enormous punch in the nose. Maybe two.
I’ve finally given in, I say to C, in search of understanding or at least a bit of support. She looks up, ‘How do you mean, given in? Is life some kind of contest?’ Good point, I admit.
I’ve given in too. My youngest gave up her drama group shortly after her Dad died (she was 7 at the time). She loved it so much but just couldn’t bear it anymore – he brought her there every week and, along with me, watched her perform on stage (local little shows but hugely important to her of course). Too painful. She struggle don for a while but cried each week before going in. I left her give it up.
My eldest son whose guitar was like an extra limb since he was 8 years old finds it painful to play guitar since his Dad died, though he was on a path to a career in music. His father was a musician and there is a direct co-relation between my son’s grief and his guitar-playing. It pains me to see him stray from music when it was his ultimate passion but it will return.
In a sense too I think your son might be testing you – not in a manipulative sense, it’s most likely subconsciously. He’s adjusting to this new family unit and you saying ‘yes’ to his request to leave baseball is, in a way, your way of saying “I hear you, I understand your pain, I validate your feelings. You are safe.”.