Warning: the following post may be sporadic in thoughts, but is needed to be let out.
It is a surreal moment to walk into the ICU of my local hospital with my 17-year-old son hesitating behind me. He walks slowly and I can feel the tension seething from him. I notice that I too have tension and uncertainty. The most surreal moment comes when my eyes set on the man I was once married to. The man who fathered my kids. The man I once loved.
A range of emotions continue on into today; sadness, anger, pity, grief, disbelief, shock. It is my hope that I can allow myself, and my kids, to have whatever feelings that bubble to the surface. To allow them all to flow and release in a way that will be healthy for us all.
Having been distanced from this man for so many years, I have not experienced many recent emotions about him, other than the rare moment of anger when I am reminded how much he has disappointed my kids. The kids too have moments, but for the most part they keep their feelings of abandonment and loss underneath the surface.
Keeping feelings at bay is not an easy task when he is on life support. Nor is it easy when the cause of his demise if self-inflicted and to a degree within the scope of choice. Years of smoking into lungs that are compromised. Years of ingesting toxic foods. Years of drinking. Years of having an attitude of hatred and of being a victim. This is not the first time he has been in critical care, and it is not the first time I have watched my boys prepare for the death of their father. Somehow he manages to get better–at least for a brief moment in time when someone else is controlling his ability to make choices—and somehow, when he gets control back of the choices, he chooses this.
My job is to not hold judgement against his choices–not an easy thing for me to do, especially when it is I who picks up the pieces of my children’s broken hearts, time and time again. I try to transfer the feelings of judgement to feelings of hope that my kids can see the impact of choices and what they see first hand. As Maya Angelou says and I often remind my kids, “when you know better, you do better.”
Mostly I have learned that it is my work to love him without pity. Instead of pity, I strive to love solely with compassion.