The more you resist, the more it persists.
After resisting it for many months, I gave in this afternoon.
I read the text messages we had exchanged, listened to the voicemail messages from him and read some of the letters from his close friends written soon after Day 0. It may seem like a step back but it wasn’t. It helped. I could hear him say ‘love you’ and ‘thank you’. I could feel the closeness between us. It felt beautiful to be called ‘Mamma’. For a few moments I felt like my old self. Complete. Happy.
Here is an excerpt from a letter from one of his friends:
“When we were in Uganda, I fell into a very dark place. Whether it was just home sickness or the side effect of malarone or a mix of the two is hard to say; but what is most clear is that had it not been for your brilliant son, I would have packed my bags and gone home in the first week. I still remember there was a night in Busia when I was so depressed that I had no appetite and just sat crying at my food. This was a particularly serious problem for me as I had not eaten in three days. He calmly stood up, walked over to me and held me in his arms, patiently waiting for me to recover and then he made me eat my entire meal forkful by forkful. I will never forget that display of care and generosity that characterised him so much.
Memories of his charm and humour on that trip keep coming back to me; the sort that made complete strangers gravitate to him; the sort that made you want to better yourself and become more empathetic and more accepting of people, like he was.”
It seems like he instinctively knew the things that I am learning now. As parents, sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that we know more than our children. That may be true in some areas but not in others. There is a lot we can learn from our children.