Apologies

A mother doesn’t expect to be standing over her child’s dead body. When I was standing next to Tyler I was stunned, inconsolable. There was no sign of the gash in his head that must have been there as he hit it when thrown from his car. He looked perfect. Just like himself.

.
I didn’t want to leave him. I sat there on a chair next to him and all I could say was “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” I said it over and over. I should not have left him to move to Ohio. I should have called every week like my own mother called me. How could I have let our relationship lapse?

.
I refused to leave, with my grandchildren and daughters waiting for me beyond the curtain, checking on me from time to time. I declared that I would stay until they took him away.

.
He wasn’t there, I finally realized. At first I thought maybe he was lingering there above me and that lifeless body. I thought he could hear me. That he had stayed to see his mother. Then it hit me. He’s gone. So, I was able to leave him then.

.
I wanted to say something at the funeral. Tyler wasn’t there, his body had been cremated. I was a wreck, so I’m glad the opportunity didn’t arise for me to speak- kind of. I’m not sure I could have gotten through a speech of any kind. I had stood in the reception line with tears streaming down my cheeks.

.
I still wish I would have had the courage to talk about him when he was a child- all of the funny things he did and said. I wish I would have brought more pictures and memorabilia, but I gathered those things in a rush, anxious to get to Minnesota to see him.

.
DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy) has a module on Interpersonal Effectiveness” which includes apologizing when it is needed. How do have an interpersonal relationship when someone is no longer there?

.
Oh, I’m sure that Tyler would have been apologizing and loving me if he knew that the last time we saw each other would have been the last time. Relationships go both ways. He once wrote me a letter apologizing for his teenaged behavior.

.
So, I started writing letters to him, on a broad range of topics. When I re-read these letters I can see how much pain had control of me. But I also see how I’ve grown, how I’ve inched my way toward acceptance and self forgiveness.

.
In one letter I spoke of having a need to go to a big Catholic church and sit. I am not Catholic, but something about the beauty of a Catholic church appealed to my need to connect.  I went to an old church in a nearby town, but it was closed. A man outside happened to give me directions to the new church that was replacing this one, so I got in my car and drove to it.

.
How to explain the experience? I sat in a pew of this brand new church right at the feet of this enormous statue of Christ on the cross. I could hear workers in some other area, still putting the new church together. I didn’t want someone to approach me. I had fear that one of the workers would ask me what I was doing there. But they didn’t. This made me think of the fear I had about my coworkers anxiously hoping I would move on and “get back to my old self”. But as I sat there with no one approaching I realized my fear was unnecessary- there was no current threat to me because my coworkers were on the periphery but not currently in my life due to my being on disability. I did not have to be around them right now. I did my best to relax.

.
In my letter to Tyler, I described how sitting in that church I felt that the crucified Jesus was a conduit to heaven. I know it sounds strange, but I felt like I was open to Heaven. It was then that I knew that I didn’t need a Medium to help me communicate with Tyler. Jesus was my conduit. I asked Jesus to wash me- to detox me.

“Have faith in Him in all circumstances dear people.  Open up your heart to Him:  The true God shelters us in His arms.”  Psalm 62:8

.
It was then that some clarifying thoughts came to me. I was here at this church because God asked me to be here, so He could show me to always trust in Him and not mankind. He would get me through this.

.
I knew that I was afraid of everyone on the fringes of my life judging me- but there was no need to worry about it when I wasn’t even working now.

.
And I came to the realization that everything happens for a reason and I wasn’t meant to know Tyler in his adult years, but I was to cherish the closeness we had when he was a child. And because of our differences in philosophy of life, it wasn’t just me holding back from a relationship, but it was Tyler too, as he didn’t want to be judged by me.
Lastly, I understood that Tyler was in Heaven. That he sat at His feet just like I was doing now at the foot of this beautiful replica of Him on the cross. I have my direct conduit to Jesus and He is there with his hand in mine every moment of everyday.

“… You found renewal of your strength, and so you did not faint.”
Isaiah 57:10

My therapist tells me to keep writing those letters, that it will get easier. I guess it’s kind of like getting out of the way of own emotions toward being able to effectively accept what is and what was.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s