Friday, May 19, 2017

A Moment of Pause

Sometimes you just need to write.
Slow the train down.
Even when you're a teacher with less than 20 days left in the school year and a million things on your plate left to do.

I don't know if it was because I went to our monthly HUGS meeting tonight.
(Healing and Understanding Grief Support)

I don't know if it's because I learned of another sweet baby who has gone to heaven (unrelated to HUGS).

I don't know if it's because I shared Andrew's story and in doing that~ and talking~ things just pour out and your mind starts to wander and you just feel like you want to share him.

So I did there.
And now I'm doing it here.

A couple weeks ago I was angry with Andrew again. There have been two boys that were picking on his brother. Jonasen of course shrugged it off but I know him. His sensitive heart. His quiet. He wanted to shrug it off but I couldn't. I wanted someone to do something. Andrew should have been there. But he wasn't and it made me angry.

After this had been going on for some time, I finally told someone at the school what was going on. I got Joe's permission of course and we came up with some solutions... maybe moving seats- working on a schedule without them in his classes for next year. Though I asked that person not to talk to the boys, they did because they said they couldn't just let it go (they have a fondness for our quiet Joe too~ as have most who have gotten to know him).  I wanted someone to talk to the boys but I also worried about the repercussions.  I know how cruel 13 year olds can be~ and Joe is an easy target. He's comfortable blending~ being invisible~ he still walks with his shoulders bent and eyes down. Being an artist, musician and runner also make him somewhat of a target with the rowdy, athletic, middle school boy.

When this person spoke to the boys, one of them was in tears. When I heard this I was (not) secretly happy. When Joe was asked if he wanted to know which person was in tears, he told the school person (and later he told me) that he didn't. "Well, I want them to stop but I don't want them to feel bad. I don't want to know that someone else is feeling bad about this. I just wish it would stop."

And in that moment I learned that my 13 year old is much more kind and full of grace than his dear old mom ever has been or ever will be.


I thought to myself~ who is like that?? And as I was telling this story at our meeting I felt like my question was answered. That light bulb went on and I knew.


My Grandpa Jonasen~ whose only son was killed in a car accident at age 27. Who was an incredible musician~ A quiet and sensitive soul~ Who (though an incredibly talented jazz musician) told me once he stopped playing in the bars because he worried that someone would come to see him play and perhaps have too much to drink and he didn't want to be the reason for someone else's pain.

I remember telling THAT story for years and thinking, "Who thinks like that?"
No one.
But my Grandpa Jonasen.
And now my son, Jonasen.

And as I spoke and uncovered what I was feeling and what I was thinking I had to give the back-story to the group and I'll do that again now here (for anyone who may be curious...).

When I was pregnant, we had to come up with 8 names~ firsts and middles for 2 boys or 2 girls. Truth be told the boy names were easy to us. Our first born would always be Jonasen. To carry on the name of my Papa and one of my best friends. It was a last name but I didn't care- we could call him Jonah or Jonas or Joey. My husband had chosen the name Andrew. He LOVED the name Andrew and imagined them talking about "Drew" over the speaker at sporting games. It sounded so good with our last name.

And so when our boys were born~ we had a problem...

Our firstborn was supposed to be Jonasen.
Our firstborn was dead.
Jonasen was supposed to carry on the name.

And so I remember saying to my husband... What do we do? Jonasen is dead. He looked at me, tears streaking his face and said pointing to our second son, "That's Jonasen." Pointing to our first son he said, "That's Andrew." I was heartbroken~ the name he wanted. I pleaded with him... we could name him something else!!!! But even though I said it, I knew his name. "That's Andrew."
Those were the last words my husband spoke for a long, long time- Too suffocated with grief- unable to speak anything beyond his boys' names.

My sweet sensitive soul. My precious, musical Jonasen had a rough go lately and all I kept thinking was~ if ONLY he had someone to stand up to those little punks! If only HE would stand up to those little punks! But that's not how a musical, artistic, old-soul works. That's not how a Jonasen works. They reflect. They ponder. They wait...

I was angry. Andrew could have stood up for his brother. He WOULD have.

And that's when I got to thinking... perhaps we never chose their name at all. Perhaps their names chose them. My sweet sensitive soul is meant to be in this world making it a kinder and nicer place. Andrew (who would have kicked those kids' asses... perhaps) was meant to cheer on his brother from another place. Perhaps he moved the pieces in his own way... played the game.

Perhaps he was the play maker who got to heaven and said, "God. My little brother- he needs to stay. I'm going to take this one for the team. Get him out!" Maybe that's the reason God "put me in her head" that day she called me to be induced just hours after he went to heaven (though none of us were aware at the time). Perhaps he knew (like the doctors did when they were delivered) that HAD we waited that extra week as planned, Jonasen wouldn't have made it either.

Perhaps he was the play maker who told the person at school. You need to stand up for my brother because I can't do it from here but you can. Make them know. Have his back. Do what needs to be done. And he did.

Those boys have been quiet.
They've left Jonasen alone without so much as a sideways glance.

I don't know if any of this is actual truth.
But it's my truth.

Bullies suck.
But having a twin brother whose got your back (no matter where they are) is a pretty kick-ass thing.

I'm not mad anymore, Drew. I love you! Your brother is one pretty amazing 13 year old!
And so are you!

~ Mom