A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
Last night I learnt why rock stars smash up hotel rooms. It’s because they can.
It works for them on so many levels.
It gets them the attention they need to remain interesting to their fans.
It releases the tension inside of them that they feel from pressures such as being in the public eye, partying too hard, unpredictable work commitments, strained relationships and sleep deprivation.
But most of all they do it because they can afford to. Whether they pick up the bill themselves, drain their own PR budget or have a very accommodating record label, they know they can get away with it.
Well my son is turning into a rock star. His complete lack of inhibition in grief due to his age is affording him the opportunity to approach bereavement the way a musician on the edge might approach a television set in a penthouse suite.
Last night he morphed from Jackson Brooks-Dutton into Keith Moon right before my eyes.
We’d gone through his evening ritual. Warm bath, hot milk, ridiculous stream of consciousness story, little prayer and a kiss for mummy. The picture he likes best is on my phone but sits alongside all sorts of video content that he finds stimulating and hilarious. I should know better, but at the end of another tough day I can rarely resist the opportunity to hear my child laugh.
Only last night it had the opposite effect. He found a brief video of him and his mum dancing to Azealia Banks. At first he seemed to be enjoying the beats of Harlem Shake but his smile quickly turned into a frown. And his frown quickly turned into rage.
I’ve given to keeping our living space pretty rock star proof. He’s at no risk in the bedroom because he can only really take his aggression out on soft furnishings and clothes. But he let rip all the same. The duvet was off the bed, followed by the pillows. Dummies were flying everywhere. Thomas’s steamy mate James got what was coming to him as he was launched from the bed into the wall. The room descended into mini rocker chaos.
I played the role of the accommodating record label executive, sitting back and letting the episode unfold.
‘It’s just grief’, I told myself. And who should stop the little fella if he isn’t doing himself any harm? Adults would pay through their noses for this kind of therapy and while he’s still young, naive and innocent enough not to feel like what he’s doing is wrong, then who am I to tell him?
Emotionally he can pick up the bill for the damage to his suite. Financially it hasn’t cost me a penny.