A ‘Hell-On-Earth’ Life…Once Again, the Bee Gees Said It Best…{Pt.4 of 4}

  April 7, 2016

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Thursday

{Edited to add a video by the Bee Gees}

“Still upset?  Take a Tylenol!”

https://i2.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/f/9/1/0/13209562131760208756Black%20Swan.svg.thumb.png   Those are some very cruel words.   Said to himself, but directed at me, by someone who didn’t realize I was looking right at him as he said what he did just before he laughed–laughed.  I was hurt and crying, and he smirked, then laughed.

   https://i2.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/k/x/v/i/o/M/swimming-swan-th.png    That particular day we had gathered at a relative’s home, and I think it was in late September, or early October of 2006.  Just the family, to visit with one another.  We’d buried Bobby on the 1st of August in Arlington National Cemetery, and this was to be the first time our family had been able to gather together, to just visit with one another since the funeral.  Or, so I thought that’s what we’d do.  Unfortunately, that never happened the way I’d envisioned it.

https://i2.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/f/9/1/0/13209562131760208756Black%20Swan.svg.thumb.png   Once the family was all together, sitting and talking, I first noticed that no one had even asked us how the two of us were holding up since the funeral.  I knew neither Bobby’s dad, nor I, were doing all that well, emotionally, but I had hoped being able to be with those we loved, and cared about, would help ease some of our misery, and help lift us up a bit, out of the deep despair we both found ourselves struggling against after Bobby’s death.  I had been longing to be able just to talk about Bobby, about his life growing up, the things about him that were so endearing, so lovable, and to share pictures of him, and his brother, as they were growing up–all the things a mother longs to do, especially when she’s just lost that child to death.   Unfortunately, that is something that never happened.

https://i2.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/k/x/v/i/o/M/swimming-swan-th.png   As we sat listening to a  group of family members laughing, and joking around, and watching all the horsing around that was taking place in the kitchen directly across from where we both sat, I felt my heart sinking as I realized that, to those family members, it was just like any other day.  The laughter, the joking, and playing around–were the things people did during 4th of July parties, or birthday parties–things that, to me, seemed more than inappropriate at a time like that.  It was simply way too soon for the two of us, too close to the time when we’d lost Bobby.  I looked over at my husband while all the playing around was going on in the kitchen.   My heart sank, because he had the far-away, confused look of a stranger who, upon hearing the language of the locals spoken, had not one clue as to what is being said.  He obviously could not comprehend what was taking place, with all the giggling, and goofing around.  And, neither could I.  I was puzzled, but I had been puzzled since Bobby’s death, at the over-all behavior of those particular people.  One of them had even shown up 6 days after Bobby’s death, sporting the Gold Star pin that only certain family members were authorized to wear. And, she was not one of them.  It was also a pin we didn’t even know about until shortly before Bobby’s funeral.  So, the boisterous behavior by those in the kitchen that afternoon made no sense to me to begin with, and it just added to my puzzlement as to what sort of people they really must be underneath all the smiles.

https://i2.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/f/9/1/0/13209562131760208756Black%20Swan.svg.thumb.png  As I watched them, and listened to all the laughing they were doing, I was growing very angry at them.  I finally just couldn’t take it any longer, and I said, literally under my breath, “What are they doing?!”   But, I didn’t realize that the family member sitting next to me had heard what I’d just said to myself.  So, she immediately turned to me and let me know, in what I consider to have been a too harsh and uncalled for corrective manner, that they had ‘the right’ to be happy, that they, ‘the family’, had ‘decided’ to move on with their lives, and that I could not expect them to go on grieving over Bobby for the rest of their lives, and so on, and on, and on.  I have no idea how much longer she berated me for not understanding that ‘the family’, as she called them, had every right to put the untimely death of our son behind them, and ‘move on’, as she put it, with their own lives.  The reason I can’t remember what she said as she scolded me, is due to the tears that had welled up in my eyes, and the brick that had settled in my chest where my heart had been, that threatened to crush the life out of me.  That’s why, as she continued on with her monologue concerning the entitlements of the family members involved, I got up and quickly left the room, and went out to our car, to sit and cry by myself. 

     https://i2.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/k/x/v/i/o/M/swimming-swan-th.png    I was so confused and bewildered over the behavior of those people, whom I’d always thought of as close family members, yet who now suddenly seemed like complete jackals, all laughing inappropriately when they should have been in mourning over such a vital loss of such a beloved family member.  They didn’t even show the slightest bit of concern for either of us, as well.  And, that young woman’s scolding words to me just confirmed some of my worst fears that had grown out of a visit from two of them, a few months prior to Bobby’s death. I kept wondering why they acted as though Bobby was already dead, even though he’d only been in Afghanistan for about a month’s time. We had just talked to Bobby on the phone a day or so before we met those people for dinner.  They had invited us to dinner, and even that was odd.  If they’d heard something, though, they never told us about it.  It just left me with a very unsettled feeling, that they knew something they weren’t telling us.  As some literary giant of some long ago century might have put it–‘What manner of behavior is this?!’  Yes, indeed.  So, did it all mean that they were really nothing but cold-at-heart, modern-day Scrooges, hiding that fact behind wide smiles, and false friendliness towards us? 

If so, then, God, in your mercy, please send them a  Jacob https://i0.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/9/4/1/5/1216179953733747007StefanvonHalenbach_Max_Schreck.svg.thumb.png Marley, before it’s too late  https://i1.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/F/u/C/g/S/0/vincent-van-gogh-old-man-in-sorrow-on-the-threshold-of-eternity-th.png {amen}

https://i0.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/3/2/3/a/11954369941112993246TheresaKnott_Swan_swimming.svg.thumb.png   There would be one more encounter with that same group of people about a year later, at a ceremony honoring our son at a military base up north of us, that would forever seal in my mind and heart, the knowledge of just who it was that I was really dealing with here.   And, the sadness that realization brought me seems endless right now.  {But, God in His mercy, will bring even that sadness to an end one day, and for that I will be eternally grateful.}  However, that strange behavior, they’d exhibited at that family gathering, continued.  It was during lunch, after the ceremony at the military base, when those same offending family members all sat at one end of a long table in the restaurant, together, while we, as the grieving parents, along with the grieving widow, and some grieving friends of our son’s, were placed at the far end, away from what I can only describe as ‘the festivities’ that were taking place with all of them.  So, there we, the grieving, all sat, while they, the jovial, laughing joyfully, and making merry, sat at the far end of the table.  We, who still had tears in our eyes, sat together alone, unable to find much of anything to say to each other. We could only sit and listen to their oddly boisterous nonsense. ‘Hark!  Was that the devil’s laugh I heard?!’  I’m only half joking about that, though.  My confusion over them just began to grow out of all proportion.  And, along with that confusion, grew my anger at that bunch.  How could they behave that way, when they knew our grief was so completely overwhelming?!  We had lost a son, not a pet!  The cruelty of their behavior was like the sting of vinegar poured into an open wound, to me.  How dare they?!

https://i2.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/k/x/v/i/o/M/swimming-swan-th.png    As that interminable lunch finally, and blessedly, ended, and as we all walked outside into the parking lot, my grief, that was mingled with anger at them, just overwhelmed me. I walked quickly away from the laughing bunch of jackals, and stood over beside our car, unable to cry, even though my heart was breaking into pieces.  Finally, after what seemed like years, our other son’s wife walked over to me and began happily talking to me about something.  I was a bit relieved to have her chatting away at me, because it helped take my mind off of what had just gone on in that restaurant.  Right after Bobby’s funeral, our other son, with prompting from one of his aunts on his father’s side, had decided to put his ‘differences’ with us aside, so we had reunited, and I could not have been happier about that.  But, on this particular day, as I stood beside our car, with his wife chatting at me, he walked over to me, and instead of behaving in an understanding way, he was irritated at me, and asked me bluntly what was wrong with me!  Why had I just walked away like that, leaving everyone else that way?! 

     https://i0.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/3/2/3/a/11954369941112993246TheresaKnott_Swan_swimming.svg.thumb.png   As he said that to me, and asked me that question, I tried to explain to him how their behavior had made me feel, when he suddenly and angrily brushed what I’d just said to him aside, and said words to me, that, to this day, sound as though they were spoken by someone that I never knew at all.  Because, included in the words that came out of his mouth was the very same phrase that the young woman had used previously, when I had been so very upset at the heartlessness being shown by that same group of people:  my son said, “The FAMILY has DECIDED….!” [to move on with their lives, is exactly how they both put to me!]–and, those horrible words, directed at me in anger, by him, just branded themselves into my mind, serving as a grim reminder of exactly how late the hour has really become.

https://i2.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/k/x/v/i/o/M/swimming-swan-th.png   Needless to say, the good-bye hug his wife had been about to give me was abruptly canceled, as she shrugged, smiled [in triumph?] and turned to walk away with my son, leaving me standing there crushed to the core.   The grief in my heart and soul was so overwhelming, because I realized there would be no genuine family relationship between us all ever again. It would be their choice, if that was the case, however, not mine.

However, thanks be to God and Christ, I’m hanging in there.  So, here’s a song by the famous Bee Gees, from the 1970’s, that explains what’s going on with me today:

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   https://i0.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/c/e/9/9/11971038001551449247johnny_automatic_bedtime.svg.med.png

“These things, I warmly wish for you-
Someone to love, some work to do,
A bit of o’ sun, a bit o’ cheer.
And a guardian angel always near.”  https://i0.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/7/7/b/2/133063576649538801irishgirl.svg.thumb.png

 https://i1.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/1/a/e/6/11954222741488696247johnny_automatic_children_reading.svg.med.png    https://i0.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/N/z/4/A/w/k/la-tour-eiffel-eiffel-tower-hi.png  https://i2.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/d/7/3/3/1195439394503690874johnny_automatic_walking_dog.svg.med.png

 

 

 

 

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