I was sitting down reading a book one day when my son comes up to me to say how something was on his mind but he wasn't really sure that he wanted to tell me about it. I assured him that whatever he had to say was ok. I would listen to him no matter what. But what he said actually surprised me; not necessarily for what he said but for his comment on why he was hesitant to say anything to me. He started by saying, "I know you think Victoria was perfect and did nothing wrong but I saw things that weren't so perfect that she did and I guess I am just wrestling with that now as I get older." It quite literally took my breath away. I wasn't shocked that Tor did things that her little brother saw that wouldn't be ok with me if I had known. She was a teenage girl that quite frankly could talk her little brother into doing just about anything she asked. (Spoiler alert: this particular incident involved having her little brother keep lookout while she and her boyfriend were kissing on the couch in our gameroom.)
I felt genuinely guilty that my now teenage son thought that if he told me things about his sister that I would be upset because this didn't mesh with the image I was painting of her. It broke my heart to think that I somehow put this extra pressure on him to live up to these lofty expectations. And through tears in my eyes, I tried to make him see that Victoria was far from perfect; she was human. None of us that walk this earth are perfect. We all make mistakes. We all end up hurting others whether on purpose or unintentionally. I have a laundry list of all the things I could name that Tor did wrong as my parents/husband could name a great deal of things I have done wrong over my lifetime. But good memories have a way of rising to the top. We remember the good times so much easier than we remember the hard ones. Was only talking about these good memories giving my son a false picture of how I saw his sister? In my mind I thought I retold stories both positive and not so positive about her. But that was clearly not how he saw it. I told the adminstration and counselors at Tor's high school who came to see us right after she died that the one thing I ask is that everyone remember her not as this angel on a pedestal or as this terrible person who would do such a terrible thing but as a fellow human with flaws like the rest of us. I just didn't realize that I needed to have that conversation at home as well.
I think there is a lesson to learn from this conversation. We are all looking at life through our own lenses. And what you think the world should see that you are projecting out may not necessarily be what others see. After all, we are all human and not perfect. Please make sure that those around you know that conversations are always ok to have even if that person thinks it will upset you. Holding things inside doesn't help any of us.
Blessings my friends,