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Monday, February 27, 2012

When 'Jack Reacher' became my hero. A reflection on writing to heal (1)

Due to its length, this post will be published in three parts. Look for Part 2 on Wednesday, and Part 3 on Friday. 

Part 1

“Ms. Denniston, do you have any children?” I asked as I was interviewing my new resident.  Regardless of that information being a component of my social services assessment, I always feel the genuine interest in getting to know my nursing home residents.  So, I was eagerly waiting for her answer.
“I have two children, my daughter Cheryl, and my son Robert,” Ms. Denniston replied, with a gentle voice.  I extended my pause, as I noticed she gestured like if she wanted to continue talking. “I have a deceased son.”
I remained quiet.  Sometimes it saddens me when a resident tells me about the loss of a child.  Parents are not supposed to outlive their children, always comes to my mind.  But what I had no idea was of what Ms. Denniston was about to announce. 
“He was murdered at age 22.” 
I felt as though her words had sent shivers down my spine.  I have learned of residents losing their children due to an accident or an illness, or even in one case, the son had committed suicide, but this was the first time I learned of a resident’s child being murdered.
Ms. Denniston glanced at me with her deep blue eyes, patiently waiting for my next question.  She was in her eighties, and expected to be in the nursing home for rehab only, no more than two or three weeks.  She seemed confident and calm enough that I decided not to go further into her unfortunate life event—not at this time anyway.

I was grateful I’d have the time to digest the information, and second, to build rapport with my resident, before exploring the impact of her tragedy and grief. 

After I left work, I immersed in my own thoughts about the subject—murders.  I went back to a reflection I had sometime in recent months.  
All started one day when I was avidly reading a mystery novel authored by Lee Child.  I found myself indulging in the undaunted adventures of Jack Reacher, the main character.
Suddenly, I felt like if Jack Reacher started becoming my hero.
I wondered if I was losing my mind since murder mysteries haven’t been priority in my reading preferences.  At that point, I knew I needed to ponder over the subject a little deeper. 


Retired Knitter said...

... yes the death of a child is the hardest loss to overcome in my mind.

Anne Gallagher said...

Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. Oh, this is heartbreaking. Poor Mrs. Denniston.

Bica said...

Fortunately, for most of us, murder is something we only read about - in the newspaper, or in a book. I'm sure that when you decide to explore this with Mrs. Denniston, you'll be prepared and comfortable, in what you say, and what you have to offer.


My brother lost a child aged ten many years ago but that was through illness.Murder is another thing altogether, it must be awful.
This made compulsive reading and will await your next post.

Thanks for the visits whilst I was on vacation, I went to LA, Las Vegas and San Fransisco.
arrived home saturday and feeling jet lagged.


Big Mark 243 said...

Wow... to have your child taken like that... as unimaginable as it is to outlive your child... to have one murdered... it is just beyond the pale for me...

Judy said...

I can't even imagine the heart wrenching pain of a loved one's loss, let alone through such a violent, deliberate act.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

I'm looking forward to the next two installments. (I'll be waiting...)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Doris,
No doubt you were not prepared for such information.
Sad enough for any parent, having to loose any child but this fate will be hard to accept...
Love to you,

Cloudia said...

foreshadowing....I know you are taking us somewhere important. . .

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

>< } } ( ° >

Arkansas Patti said...

I will definitely be back for part 2. That poor woman. It is obviously still fresh in her mind even at 80.
I had a friend whose daughter was murdered. Along with the horrific grief, boiling anger still eats at the her. It is just so hard to comprehend.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of anything more difficult than losing a child. I know a few friends who have lost a child and they are never the same. They are stronger yet weaker if that is possible.

Rita said...

This made me think of all the inner city kids who grow up losing relatives and even watching friends die in the streets. And of the children snatched away...their faces on posters and milk cartons. How sad. I'll be waiting the hear the rest of her story.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Doris .. I can imagine your loss of words at the point she mentioned it - and now I can read your 2nd instalment .. interesting thought processes here .. cheers Hilary