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January 20, 2017

{He's Grieving Too}

Sometimes I think I forget that as much as I am grieving the loss of my grandpa, Gaige is grieving too. I think for the longest time I've been so deep in my own grief and so focused on making it through as best I can, that I've forgotten that there is a kid here in this house that was just as close to my grandpa as me and my three siblings were.

Gaige grew up with my grandpa. I often told people that he was never even meant to be mine. That sure I was chosen to be his mom, but my grandpa was who he was really supposed to be with. And for almost thirteen years, these two were inseparable. Where my grandpa went, Gaige went.

Him and my grandma would drive over to our house every single weekend to pick him up, if he had a day off school he was at their house. Not only that, but from the time he was born until he was about two, we lived with them. These two had such a bond that had I said Gaige can live with you, my grandpa would have been there in a heart beat to come pick him up.

Gaige could really do no wrong in his eyes I don't think. And he had a way of talking to Gaige that made him stop and listen. He could honestly get that kid to behave when no one else could. Not that Gaige was ever really a problem kid. He was a good baby and pretty easy to handle. Even as he got older he was pretty good, he was a little boy so he had his moments but I've seen much worse.

Since my grandpa's passing though, Gaige has been a totally different kid. He's defiant beyond anything I've ever seen at school. He's rude and he has a quick temper. He wants to be alone a lot. He has one or two friends he hangs out with, but for the most part he just wants to be by himself. Sure he'll watch TV with us in the living room and all that jazz, but if he has something he'd rather be doing on his own, he does that. He has always been self entertained. He never needed someone to play with him.

I thought maybe it was his age. I mean, I didn't want to spend a ton of time with my family either when I was fourteen. In fact, I was happiest hanging out in my room with a book and a bag of potato chips. So I didn't think too much of the fact that he does the same thing (minus the book, he'd rather fish).

But today while I was sitting at a table with Gaiges teachers and D, listening to them tell me that he is just so defiant and willful and needs to be in control of all things at all times. His math teacher even told us that at one point he had a full on melt down because a girl had innocently pulled a fuzz off his hair. He ran out of the math room, straight to the office where he proceeded to tell her that he didn't like people touching him. Which is news to me. He has never had a problem with people touching before. I hug him and all that stuff all the time, he has never said anything about not wanting to be touched or not liking people in his personal bubble.

When the topic of my grandpa was brought up (after I caught my breath because to be honest hearing anyone mention that he's gone knocks the wind right out of me), it finally clicked in my head. Like a light switch had been flipped and I could finally see what was going on.

Gaige isn't being defiant on purpose. Well, I mean he is, but I don't think he's doing it consciously.

He wants control because so much for the last two years, everything has been out of his control completely. Well, longer than that actually. My grandpa got sick a few years before he actually left us. Gaige had a very hard time with this. He never wanted to be out of my grandpa's sight. He couldn't control when he would have another heart attack, he couldn't control when he would need to be hospitalized again. And the night he passed, he couldn't control that either. And then there have been a number of things that are out of his control the last two years. Between everything of my grandpas being sold off one thing after the other, my grandma deciding to leave the house not only the four of us had grown up in, but the one Gaige had spent most of his life in as well, to move into a much smaller house next door.

So many things have been out of his control and I think he's making up for it by feeling like he needs to control anything that he possibly can. And his behavior at school is one of the only things he can control.

Realizing this right now, has me feeling awful. How could I have overlooked his pain like that? I wish I could do something to help him. He won't talk to anyone about how he feels, he has never been that kind of kid. He bottles things up and refuses to talk about anything that might upset him. I don't know how to help him, hell I don't even know how to help myself. But now that I have some kind of idea of what's going through his head, maybe we can figure out how to give him the control he needs to make him comfortable with life.

I hate that I'm just realizing this now. I have to be the worst mother ever.