Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Squeeze

"That was so much fun mom.  It was like we were a family again."

These words came out of A's mouth as we pulled away from the golf course on Monday night.  M was at soccer camp with her team (5 days of a M break was nice) and E was at the beach for the day with the swim team. 

I came up with the idea coming out of a pretty good therapy session.  A family golf night at our local par 3 followed by dinner at Friendly's.  I haven't touched a golf club in 14 years (since before pregnant with A), but the boys play with their dad regularly.  We figured the four of us would play, and L could walk the course and putt for me.

We had an amazing time.  The weather was gorgeous.  The boys were relaxed and shocked that their mom could actually play golf.  We laughed and simply enjoyed being together.

Once the words came out of his mouth, I could tell A felt guilty.  He tried to cover it up by saying he meant it felt like old times and that he knew we were still a family.  L jumped in with, "We used to be a family of 5, but now we have 7.  We are still a family A!  We just now have girls."  I didn't want him to feel guilty (I have enough of that by myself), so I jumped in and said, "I know what you mean buddy.  That was lots of fun.  We should do it again."  A is such a quiet, even keel kind of guy, that his words hit me like a ton of bricks.  I felt that the best I could do was acknowledge his feelings.

I thought about that night a lot this week.

Living with grieving children is really hard.  Not only do they miss their parents, but their family was broken apart.  I know this isn't our fault.  At times, however, the girls treat the five of us like it is.  Their profound grief squeezes the rest of our grief out of the way like we don't have the right to grieve or miss our old life.

I lost my sister and brother-in-law.

A, D and L lost their aunt and uncle who they loved very much.

K lost his sister and brother-in-law.

The 5 of us lost of a part of our family identity.

Family relationships have been severed, re-built, and strained.

The five of us try to hide these losses.  The girls' behavior makes us feel like we're in some sort of grief competition and they win by default, and with no mercy rule.

When they aren't around, we all feel our losses as a nuclear family.  We notice how much less tension and stress there is between us and around us. I don't mean to blame the girls in any way (can you say more guilt).  This is our reality, though, and it feels good to say it even if it's only on my blog.

I know we did the right thing taking the girls.  I just wish the boys didn't have to feel the effects as much.


  1. It sounds like they are dealing with a very difficult situation with grace and honesty. I hope any guilt is outweighed by pride and I hope you have more peaceful occasions than stressful ones ahead.

  2. Oh, Peg, I know what he meant, too. Just like in families that haven't experienced the grief you guys are dealing with, sometimes it feels good to have some one on one or a different dynamic going on. The guilt has to be stifling and I wish you didn't have it. The grief competition has to be hard. Though not intentional, I am sure not being able to fully grieve is hard. Always thinking of you and keeping you guys in my prayers.

  3. I've never thought you were blaming the girls in anything you've written, and please, please, don't feel guilty about spending time with just your boys. Everyone notices a difference in their family dynamic when one child or another is missing.

    I hope you are able to find the occasion to do this again.

  4. It sounds like the golf outing was a much-needed change of pace for the five of you. I'm sorry that the guilt had to come along. Your boys are handling this all so well, you should be so proud of them, and of yourself.