A story of grief by a man and a boy
I’ve been storing this one up for some time because I just can’t phrase it right. My fingers haven’t been able to type the words because my brain has failed to formulate them. I’m not even sure if I can express what I’m trying to say right now.
I desperately try not to generalise on this blog. I write in the third person then change it back to the first to ensure that I don’t position myself as an expert or a know-it-all. But I think I’ve discovered something universal in how people discuss a toddler who has befallen tragedy.
The point I think I’m trying to make is that people who care want to make people they care about feel better when they feel bad.
My two-year-old son could probably have articulated that sentiment better than I have, but as this post is about him I’m going to park my concerns over the language I use.
“He won’t remember.”
“They are too young to understand at that age.”
“He’ll be fine.”
“Imagine how bad it would be if he were ten.”
I’ve said all of the above myself. But here’s the thing. My son has changed. He can’t let me out of his sight. He panics when I nip to the loo. He worries when I go for a shower. He has regressed back to the clingy child who I thought I missed when he learned to walk, but who now devastates me with each fretful squeeze.
And I know that he knows what’s happened.
Because he used to love the sound of sirens and now he cries and says, “I’m scared of the nee-nors, Daddy.”
Because when we wait at the bus stop and a cars passes by one mile over the speed limit he gets upset and shouts, “Slow down!”
Because he’s pensive when he shouldn’t even know how that feels.
So I’ll generalise for once and say we should give kids the credit they deserve. I’m convinced that we’re only comforting ourselves if we say that they don’t understand what’s going on.