Tears of a Parent – When a Child Turns Its Back on You!
Thirty years have gone by, yet the memories are still as vivid as if it happened yesterday. It was a little past midnight and the hospital hallways were quiet. I felt like screaming, but bit my lip to muffle the sound as I did not want to wake the other patients.
“One last push” they told me. I looked at those strangers in the delivery room, guardians who were encouraging me, guiding me in my delivery, and the quest to bring new life into this world. They were proud professionals, people I had never seen before, and probably would never see again, yet they were caring and I trusted them with my life.
I pushed with every fiber of my being… then prayed. I was holding my breath, ignoring the pain and discomfort. I was listening to every echo in the room, anxiously awaiting a screeching cry, a sound that would tell me that my baby was alive and breathing on its own. Suddenly, there it was, and my heart made a somersault. On the other side of the room, I heard the nurse’s remark that the newborn was healthy, that all body parts were intact, and where they were supposed to be. They cleaned him up and a few minutes later a beautiful baby boy with fair hair and blue eyes was placed on my chest. I held him gently, touched his soft, tiny fingers and cried.
From the moment I laid eyes on him I vowed to do everything in my power to make him the happiest child in the world. I would care for him the best I could, and if needed be, even do extra shifts at work so I could buy him the same luxuries and toys the other kids on the block were used to. I would home-cook all meals, play with him and read him as many bedtime stories as he liked. Nothing, but the best for my little guy!
Twenty-two years flew by in a flash and that tiny baby grew up to be a strong, sturdy independent man. It had not been easy, for neither of us, because of poverty and divorce. I thought it did not matter, because we loved each other and he never gave any indication that something was bothering him terribly. Despite the fact that we no longer lived in the same town, we were always in touch. We talked on the phone, emailed and I bought him gifts whenever I could afford it. I thought we were doing fine.
A couple more years went by. He, who had been more interested in martial arts and not dated much until then, had fallen in love. He married the girl and a year later they announced she was pregnant. They were such a beautiful couple and I was so very happy; my first grandchild should soon be mine to pamper and spoil. Unfortunately, fate had other plans. The pregnancy went fine until the day before the due date. My daughter-in-law had just returned home from a doctor’s visit when she insisted something was wrong. My son rushed her to the hospital where a check-up, to our horror, revealed the baby had died inside of her. A kink in the umbilical cord had deprived my grandson from life support and by the time this freak of nature was discovered, the baby was no longer alive.
We were all traumatized and asked ourselves why nature could be so cruel. Why take an innocent child, even before it had a chance to see the world? Our questions remained unanswered and there was no time to dwell. Preparations for the funeral, of baby boy Brian had to be made.
Devastated myself, I tried to console my son and his wife and tried calling them as much as I could. Then one rainy day in March no one picked up, at least not at first. I was worried and tried again. After my third try, my son finally answered. He listened to my short, but sincere proclamation about how I could feel their pain, and how I wanted to be there for them. I would do whatever I could to help them. He listened without interrupting. There was a brief moment of silence and I could sense something was wrong. He started talking, and gave his own brief statement. As if he was reading, and in a few words, he told me to never contact him or his wife again. Totally taken by surprise I asked him why. He did not reply, and only repeated to stop calling. My mind went numb and all I could do was ask him again why he would do that to me. Still no answer! I could not think and all I could come up with next was to tell him I loved him and that my door would always remain open for him and his family. I was so hoping this would change his mind.
It was obvious, I no longer knew my son, and did not recognize the man I had just been talking to. As he abruptly finished the call by hanging up, right after he said that he would know how to find me if he ever needed me again, I yelled from the top of my lungs, ‘I love you!’ The phone went dead and I do not know if he heard me. All I could hope for was that he did.
Terrified that if I would not abide by his request, I would push him even further away, I respected my son’s wishes and refrained from any contact. However, I did ask the rest of the family if they had an inkling why he had suddenly acted so strange, and my sister even asked him point blank why I was the only one he had shut out of his life. All he did was turn around and walk away, without saying a single word. Six years have passed and I know that in the mean time, I gained two grandsons, beautiful children who do not even know I exist. My family feels sorry for me, because they too do not understand what possessed my son and his wife to treat me in such an indifferent and cruel way. They too have to live with this bizarre situation, and in an effort to lessen my pain, once in a while, slip me a picture of my son and his family.
Not aware of which parental rule I broke is the worst part. I am trapped in a chilling darkness, a situation I cannot fix without knowing what caused it. I cannot stop grieving, or move forward and I certainly cannot let go. I really do love him and refuse to ever give up. Actually, this year I contacted him twice by sending him a cyber greeting card; one for Christmas and one for his birthday. All I wrote as text was that I loved and missed him and that the door was still open. Even without signing my name he must have recognized the email address, could have easily clicked the delete button, yet he did not. I have received confirmation messages that he did open the cards and to me this means that he did read the content, and that somewhere deep down, he still loves me too.