And the consolation prize goes to …
Trust me, I’m working up to a question for you with this post …
Mom called as soon as she knew Dad passed. Being the most religious (yeah, me the freaking heathen, but alas, I am definitely the most knowledgeable of our religion, at least) Mom said to do whatever I felt was right. I did, while checking with her to make sure she was comfortable. That’s the key, making mom comfortable, right? And consoling her …
I end up consoling others as well.
Ever tell someone sad or bad news and then you end up consoling them?! What’s up with that?
Yeah, I was up most of the night, Pearlsky had a couple of hours of seizures and puking.
Oh my god, that’s horrible. I feel so bad.
You feel bad? Oh, sorry, maybe I should not have told you. Now I feel bad I made you feel bad.
A couple of people just plain burst into tears when I told them about Dad. My ex-wife. Two ex-girlfriends. And what do I do? I console them. WTF? Aren’t I supposed to be the one crying? And my friends consoling me?
I actually get it, but it is messed up, especially around things with Pearlsky. I have stopped telling people about the really bad times, especially my Mom. To share that only makes her anxious or feel bad or whatever. I get it, but don’t really like it.
Moving on, how do you console someone if you don’t know how upset they are?
How do you explain a death of a loved one to someone if you don’t know if they understand the concept of death?
And then, you don’t know if the response you think you are getting is real or meaningful or a coincidence?
If you don’t know if the consoling is working, and you keep consoling, can you over do it? And how do you know?
Or, do you not even try to convey bad news, create a bubble. Is that fair? If you give the news, you don’t know how it is interpreted, how it is absorbed, or if consoling is needed, what’s the point of giving the news other than to be mean?
And how much news? How much of an explanation?
No, I have not told Pearlsky.
Would she understand? Who knows. Did she recognize Dad every time he came over? Yes. Did she smile and actually play a game with him? Yes. Does she have a concept of death? Beats me. We watch it on TV. But then, she may think that underwater sponges can make Krabby Patties. Has she seen him recently? No, it’s been a year.
Does she know? She had a horrible night last night. Up several times, obviously upset, not a physical issue. She probably heard me speaking to Dad’s friend of 70 years and his longtime golf partner.
Mom will be here next week. Without Dad (duh). Then what do I say?
And what will Mom say when I serve Krabby Patties for Thanksgiving?
I know it sounds hokey, but I do believe my daughter understands everything and nothing. She has more seizures when I’m upset; she has more seizures when doctors talk about awful things in front of her. She has more seizures when I argue with my husband. I do believe her nervous system is exquisitely attuned to nuance, and I imagine that Pearlsky’s is as well.
I’m with you on the consoling thing — I do it all the damn time.
Total judgment call on your part, and you have to fly on total instinct only.
No one but you can really even GUESS what any of those answers might be, because no one is closer than you are.
As for the consolation part, that is a choice that you make, you know that right? You don’t HAVE to do that, you CHOOSE to. It’s a nice choice to make, usually made from strength, and you could be proud to be able to be in a position to make it…but you also could take a different approach altogether too.
I find I have a difficult time with it…I sometimes find that if I deliver bad news that is about something that is happening to me and the person then needs me to help them I react angrily…but I have anger management issues right now, did I mention that?
It must be quite something to know you in real life.
Hope you’re staying crispy.
The whole consoling thing… I get. When our daughter was born, there was a period of time where I asked that no one call us or stop by. I had one central person relay info to others, and used the blog and some email for the rest. I just had no energy to make anyone else feel good about making me feel better. It was exhausting… they would “feel bad”, try to cheer me up or cry in empathy. I know they meant well and wanted to show they felt my pain, but what I needed was normal conversation, not more pain that I had to try and fix. Or I had to try and fake it… they tried so hard to get me to feel better that I finally had to fake it just to get them to stop it and move on with the conversation. I hope I don’t sound mean, I was grateful for the intent but in practice it worked horribly and didn’t help me.
Here’s what I know about teaching little kids: they always know that something is going on or that something is off in the home. ALWAYS. When parents hide stuff, the little ones feel it at some level ( I could give you a pile of Montessori theory here at this point, for which, I am certain, you would be eternally grateful) and then fill in the blanks as to the details…and of course the poor little gaffers always end up thinking somehow, it’s all their fault. I am not saying that P. does that specifically, but, as said by Elizabeth, she likely has a whole lot of feelings for which she, right now, has no explanation. It’s “easier” to be in pain when you know where it’s coming from. But, you are her father and you DO know her best. It’s up to you. Still, I think she will surprise you…our kids always do.
Pearlsky already knows something is wrong. Her routine changed, you weren’t around as much. I think a simple explanation is in order. As for the Krabby Patty, tell her it’s the latest gourmet craze from the NY Times.