This is one of those posts where I confess a parenting fail or simply share my personal feelings about something.
I’m going to confess something that I just realized and Lizze pointed it to me as well. This isn’t easy for me to admit and I don’t know for sure why this is happening, but it is.
It occurred to me last night that I’m distancing myself from Gavin. I hadn’t said anything to Lizze but she’s noticed and pointed it out to me this morning. The truth is, this has probably been going on for a little while.
I always try to go out of my way to be positive with Gavin because I’ve already lost him once and I live with regrets, each and every day of my life.
A little background goes a long way
For those wondering what I’m mean by already lost him once, let me explain.
Gavin and I were inseparable from the day I first met him. He was about 13 months old and essentially had no male influence in his life and I immediately filled the role. Gavin was so happy and engaged. He loved hanging out, playing at the park and going fishing. I used to even take him to the Fire Station and let him climb around the fire trucks.
One day, after coming off of a 72 hour shift, I took Gavin to the park and we went fishing.
After a few hours, I wanted to pack us up and go home. I had been working the ambulance for 3 days straight and I had to go to bed. Gavin begged me to let him play on the playground but I was too tired and didn’t feel up to it.
If I had it to do over again, I would have let him play forever.
Shortly after that, it was like we put him to bed Gavin and he woke up someone else. Everything about him was different and nothing of who he was remained.
It was literally like we lost him…. All that remained was a shell of the person we had known and loved for 3 or 4 years.
I’ve never stopped grieving and every day I’m filled with guilt for not letting him play on the playground. From that point on, both his mental and physical health began to decline until we have what we have today.
What kind of father distances himself from his son?
As Gavin’s health continues to decline and he cognitively regresses further, I think that I’m subconsciously trying to protect myself from the pain of losing him again.
This isn’t something that I’m willfully doing. I’m not getting up every morning and saying to myself, let’s see how I can distance myself from Gavin today.
I think that I know that I’m terrified of what’s happening to Gavin. As I’m writing this, I have tears in my eyes and I feel sick to my stomach. I try so hard not to even let the thought of what I fear most, creep into my heart. I guess a side effect of that is me creating distance between Gavin and I, without even realizing it.
What I know for sure and can tell you with absolute certainty, is that I don’t think I could survive the pain of losing him again.
A large part of me honestly feels like that’s the direction we’re heading in.
I think that I probably need to better embrace these feelings of fear because not dealing with it may inadvertently lead to me missing out on whatever time we do have left with Gavin.
If there was an ironic silver lining, it would be that due to Gavin’s condition, he’s likely not noticed any of this. That means that I don’t necessarily have to address anything with him, which would bring this to his attention. What I need to do is focus on being more self-aware. I need to make sure that I don’t allow my fear and pain to impact my relationship with Gavin now.
This isn’t easy for me to admit to myself, let alone the rest of the world.
That being said, it’s important that people understand some of what parents with very special children can go through. This is something that I may need to get some help with.
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