Saturday, June 7, 2008

Pent-up Emotions Can Explode at Awkward Places

Not good.

Last night was my son's graduation. I was sitting in my seat, minding my own business and trying to focus on the endless trite cliche's being toted as advice from the pulpit from the eight valedictorians, four principles and other's who were added to the endless program. I had spent the day driving back from my mother's funeral, alone with three bored children who screamed and fought in the back seat most of the fourteen hour drive home. We had arrived just hours before but were there trying to listen.

So as I sat, somewhat frustrated with the program which was far longer than any other graduation I had ever attended and feeling exhausted from the long drive and residual grief of my mother's death and the dissolution of the estate which was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, I noticed these three small boys wrestling beside me on the grass. They were about ten or eleven years old and making a lot of noise. The ceremony was held in front of the bleachers by the football field with chairs laid in rows on the ground. The PA system was difficult to hear and the children had totally ignored my evil eye so I started looking to their parents who were totally ignoring the situation.

When one of the boys kneed another in the privates, I had it and stood, planning to encourage them to sit with their families. As I approached them, they looked back at me with defiant stares and something inside of me cracked. Maybe it was the long car ride or my mother's funeral or just the fact that this was my son's graduation and they were selfishly ruining it but I pointed my finger at them and hissed with vehemence, "You boys make me sick with your disrespect. This is my son's graduation. How dare you ruin it? Go sit with your parents now!" One of the boys tried to delay and I stepped behind him ready to scoot him towards the chair of people but he sprinted to his parents in fear and I sat down as several people stared at me in shock. The rest of the ceremony continued without any children within the area misbehaving.

I sat back with my heart racing, surprised at my feelings. Perhaps the old ways of covering our windows and wearing black during a period of mourning isn't a bad idea. It certainly would not expose you to embarassing emotional outbreaks.


Tristi Pinkston said...

Maybe I'm just heartless, but I say those boys got what they deserved. Behavior like that is totally inappropriate. I'm sorry you felt embarassed, but I think your pent-up emotions were well-spent.

Sandra said...

I second Tristi, but also send you a great big hug, because you need it.

whitneythackeray said...

Aunt Christine!
I found an email I had gotten from Anna about a year ago on my old email, and I wanted to know what you guys were up to. So, of course I tried google. When I found your website we were excited to see you had published a book! I told my dad, and he couldn't believe it either. We miss you guys so much, and I was wondering how I could get in contact with Anna? I hope she knows how much I miss her! It's really nice to read about you guys! We love you! Get back to me!

Stephanie Abney said...

Christine ~

I think the parents of those boys should have stopped them long before you did and I would probably have done the same thing even without the emotions you were feeling at the time... rudeness really gets to me. (Despite the rudeness I happened to exhibit as revealed below).

I understand somewhat though ~ we had a horrible year in 2000 ~ (this is the short - no details - version) my dad died, 6 weeks later, my husband's dad died, 5 weeks later my husband's mother died (mine had died a couple years earlier) and three weeks after that, our precious 16 year old son died. So, in 4 months we had buried 4 immediate family members. A few days later I was checking out at the grocery store, looking rather sullen I suppose, and the clerk brightly said, "Come on, cheer up, it can't be that bad." To which I responded, "Really? In the past four months I have buried my father, my father-in-law, my mother-in-law and my sixteen year old son. How much worse can it get?" The poor clerk and the stunned people nearby had no response and later I wished I hadn't done it, but at the time, I don't think I could have done anything else... so, just let it go.

And you have a big hug from me as well. Just give yourself and everyone around space to mourn and in my experience that will be different for everyone and even different for you from moment to moment... It's been 8 years and I still get feeling sad and lost just out of the blue. Thank goodness for the gospel plan... but it still hurts just as much.

Take care.
(Sorry such a LONG comment)