CHRISTMAS DAY AND COLD CONCRETE WALLS

Bipolar Disorder/Mental Health/Slice Of Life
By – Sheri de Grom

My Grandmother Fromm taught me the importance of keeping a journal when I was 8. She said, "It is never simply a record of daily events."This blog is a journal entry dated Dec. 25, 1989, Washington, D.C.

My Grandmother Fromm taught me the importance of keeping a journal when I was 8. She said, “It is never simply a record of daily events.”This blog is a journal entry dated Dec. 25, 1989, Washington, D.C.

Goodwill toward men—my first thought on Christmas morning.

Asilomar Beach - Photo by Tom de Grom Our Calif Dream

…..

No, Sheri. You will not feel sorry for yourself. This is your life and welcome to it. You made the decision to move to D.C. The decision that moved you away from the central coast of California and everything plus everyone you loved.

My only companion for the day would be Farley, our beloved shih tzu, and we were going to make the best of it. It had stopped snowing sometime in the night, and I was grateful.

I wasn’t pretending that I had Christmas spirit. Not a single ornament dressed the house. I wanted Tom, not tinsel.

Christmas had always been my favorite holiday. I’d loved the excitement and anticipation, the gift wrap and adornment, the music and traditional activities. But, like Tom, Christmas had vanished.

Christmas Decorations Remained In The Attic. I'd decided to live with memories of days gone by.

Christmas Decorations Remained In The Attic. I’d decided to live with memories of days gone by.

I’d promised Farley we wouldn’t listen to Christmas music today. Not one single song. But, who am I trying to convince? The telephone startled me.

“Hello?”

“Mrs. de Grom.”

My heart dropped and I gulped, “yes.”

“This is Nurse Decker from the mental health unit. We have a situation and . . . uh . . .”

I interrupted, “what do you mean?”

“Mr. de Grom is . . . well . . . he’s . . .”

I couldn’t stand her hesitation. The charge nurse of a metropolitan mental health unit didn’t want to tell me she had no idea how to care for my husband. My mind raced to past hospitalizations.

It sounded like psychotic breaks that Tom had experienced before but I couldn’t be certain. Not over the phone. What if it was something else?

“Nurse Decker, please keep my husband safe. Do not leave him alone. I’m on my way. The drive is about an hour but traffic might be light today, with it being Christmas.”

The charge nurse, with obvious relief in her voice said, “Thank you, Mrs.
de Grom. We’ll see you soon. Drive carefully.”

Farley shivered beside me. “Come here, fellow.” Picking him up, I held him close as I went downstairs to grab a diet coke. I didn’t have time to make coffee.

Farley, a California guy, wasn’t eager to go out in the snow. He made quick work of trip. I wrapped him in a towel and continued talking while I raced upstairs.

I had no time for a shower. That would come later, Tom needed me. I glanced at my face while brushing my teeth and not only declared it a hat day but noted my face had lost a ten-round boxing match with my pillow last night.

Impossible, impossible. There were yesterday’s jeans I’d worn last. I pulled them on. Where were my shoes? I moved slowly, or so it seemed, as if on foreign ground, but this was familiar territory. I’d been here before. Racing to Tom. My shoe, there it was. Under the bed. A shirt—my sweatshirt on a chair back, I pulled it over my head. This was serious

Farley followed me as I snatched my glasses, a hat, gloves, bottled water and finally my coat. “Farley, I’ll call Cecelia for you. Merry Christmas, buddy.”

Merry Christmas. Who said? This was so not right.

Still rushing, always rushing—I threw myself behind the wheel of the car and remembered to wish Baby Jesus a happy birthday.

Crazies were on the road. Where were they going? It’s Christmas, I wanted to shout at them. Why aren’t you home with your families? I’d thought I’d make good time but with the snow, it was a mind-numbing hour’s drive.

I’d noted the absence of holiday cheer with no Santas driving trolleys at the hospital. I must stop comparing everything in my life to the way it was before I’d made the decision to move us to D.C. Not only was there no trolley, Santa or not, it was twenty dollars to park my car and ten dollars every hour thereafter. Oh, the joy of city life.

Running through the hospital, I sensed a lack of visitors in the corridors and that made the humming of the surveillance cameras more noticeable. Were those blinking red eyes tracking my every move?

At the tenth floor, I hit the buzzer and the locked doors of the unit opened. The charge nurse waited.

“You must have seen me coming. How’s Tom?”

She sighed, “I’m glad you’re here. We can’t do anything with Mr. de Grom. Could you see what you can do to calm him?” We walked to Tom’s room. No longer was anyone insisting I only have contact with my husband in the common area of the hospital, as they’d done all those times before.

Tears pooled in my eyes. Tom had torn out huge chunks of his thick salt and pepper hair, his hands were bleeding and his eyes had rolled to the back of his head.

Every time he’d been hospitalized we’d experienced similar episodes but none as severe as this one. Why had it taken me so long to get here? How long had Tom been in distress before they’d called?

“Could you move my husband to a quiet room? I’m concerned for his safety if he stays here.” The staff quickly complied with my request.

The quiet room was nothing more than a padded room with the bare essentials. The charge nurse had already told me she didn’t know how to help Tom. I immediately asked her to call his psychiatrist with a combination of medications and for them to be administered intramuscularly.

Unlike on a Hollywood movie set, no one had rushed in to plunge a needle into Tom’s arm or thigh to turn him into a zombie. They’d waited for me to ask what I’d historically witnessed before they called his doctor. I was grateful for this courtesy. Other hospitals Tom had been in would have drugged him first and asked questions later.

I hated the quiet room, but at a time like this, there was no other alternative. The concrete room, painted off-white, contained only a mattress bolted to the floor. The mattress had a triple-stitched sheet attached to the bottom and an airless pillow at the top. A ceiling corner-positioned camera fed images to the nurse’s station. Steel secured by two large sliding deadbolts made up the construction of the door. The one window in the door was of the same material used in airline windows.

I kept asking myself, is this the impetus behind the saying, Patient, Heal Thyself? Tom was in a mental health facility where psychiatric nurses are, inconceivably, relying on Tom, the patient, and me, his wife and caregiver, to bring him back to reality. The nurses all looked astonished and paralyzed.

He rocked back and forth on the mattress on the floor. I held him in my arms and spoke to him as one might to a small child. I prayed as I talked that the sound of my voice and my love would reach him on some level, and his mind would escape the black hole it had sunk into once again. I wondered how many times we would be capable of falling into this sinister, dark hideaway of never-never land and still come out whole into the light. I prayed my mantra, God’s will be done.

Tom screamed in agony, “I can’t remember, I can’t remember.” Tears ran down his face as he clawed at himself. He howled repeatedly, “I want to feel, I only want to feel something, please, anything.” He sobbed and screamed incessantly.

He dug his fingernails so deeply into his palms that they bled profusely. I kept my arms wrapped tightly around him as much as possible but he continued to fight me. When he’d get his arms free, he’d continue ripping out handfuls of his hair.

I knew my part well. I held my husband close to keep him from hurting himself. My husband, my love, the one I’d shared conversations with of envisioning retirement in each other’s comfort, companions for life. But life takes twists and turns. There is good luck and bad. Our world changed, but never our love.

This business of bringing Tom back from the brink was as close to hell as I ever cared to get. I’d often wondered if I could fall into the same vat of temporary insanity; then who would rescue us. There’s no one. I must stay not only strong, but sane, for both Tom and me.

Exhausted from fighting him I still needed tohold him tight, otherwise he’d harm himself. I told the three nurses, “Go. There’s nothing more you can do here.” Why keep them with us? We were on our own.

I held and rocked Tom in my arms and whispered memories to him that were dear to both of us. I talked of nights of walking along Carmel Beach, antiquing trips, and lazy days of not getting up but just hanging out.

I sang to him, After The Loving, or at least as many of the words as I could remember. I had to bring Tom back into our world, into the present. I would do anything to make that happen. I’d talk, embrace him, and remind him that I’d always be at his side.

The injection I’d requested finally arrived. Tom resisted the shot and fought hard.

The passions for life that Tom once possessed seemed to slip further away with each hospitalization and each psychotic break. His fears were real.

I remained entangled with Tom long after his injection. I swayed him rhythmically against me and matched the contours of his body with my own. The medication began to take effect, and Tom’s body started to relax.

I dropped my sore arms to my sides. “Tom, how about lying down and covering up with the sheet?”

“I’m cold.” His eyes looked unseeing at some faraway place that I doubted he’d ever been. His teeth chattered and his bipolar body was in sensory overdrive.

Repeating his name, “Tom, I’ll ask the nurse for a blanket, but first, you must promise me you won’t try to hurt yourself. Can you do that for me?” I placed my hands on his shoulders. I needed his attention.

Fifteen minutes later, an aide arrived with two soft blankets from the blanket warmer and I covered him as he lay on the mattress. Ensuring his head was on the practically non-existent pillow; I lie down beside him and felt his nightmare-filled sleep. His body jerked involuntarily and he moaned. Haunting demons filled his tortured rest.

I missed the Tom I married. But, Tom missed himself even more.

I didn’t know how to rescue my husband. He was drowning and I’d never learned how to swim. I knew I couldn’t make everything all right. Tom’s mind was broken and in the process my heart shattered. I couldn’t fix him. I couldn’t make it never have happened. I would always be there to pull us through one more crisis.

Once Tom settled into a more or less uninterrupted sleep, I pushed the call button for someone to unlock the door of the quiet room. I didn’t want to leave Tom but grief and fatigue overpowered me. My body protested with stiffness from forcing it to be in unnatural positions while holding Tom.

I’d been in the locked room 7 hours bringing my husband, the love of my life, back to reality.

I left the locked room with the monitor on at the nurses’ station, retreated to Tom’s private hospital room and curled into a ball on his bed, crying until the tears wouldn’t come anymore. I went over in my mind all the events that might have caused this break and couldn’t find a clue.

I mourned yet again the Tom I knew long ago and the life we had dreamed of. This progressive disease assaulted every aspect of our bodies and our lives. Bipolar disorder lay our lives in ruin every moment of every day.

God, I missed my husband. I missed me. I missed us. These staggering loses were too much to bear. Was this why Tom had psychotic breaks? Where did my husband go?

Two hours later I leaned against the steel door of the quiet room. The room where my husband lay, alone, on Christmas day.

 

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About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
Aside | This entry was posted in Bipolar Disorder, Caregiving, Mental Health, Psychiatric Care, Slice Of Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to CHRISTMAS DAY AND COLD CONCRETE WALLS

  1. Gypsy Bev says:

    It is so important that you share these stories with others that have similar problems in their lives. To know that Tom is fine now, will give many hope for the present happenings in their lives. Bipolar strikes more people than most realize…some not as severe as Tom, but still suffering.

    • Thank you, the doctors told me Tom would be dead before age 55 from his bipolar disorder and I was determined to learn everything I could and ensure that would not happen. Tom is seriously ill from many other diseases at the present time but the message I want others to know is that bipolar disorder does not have to be a death sentence and with unconditional love and understanding, a marriage can survive and flourish when two people work together to survive this terrible disease.
      All of my mental health blogs are for the very purpose of letting others know that they too can make a difference in the lives of those they love and mental health advocacy as well.
      Thank you for stopping in to read with me and leaving a comment. It’s sincerely appreciated.
      Hope to catch up with you at an arts and crafts festival in 2017!

  2. cindy knoke says:

    “The decision that moved you away from the central coast of California.”
    I am thinking of you, and thinking of this, went back to it.
    It is interesting isn’t it, that for both you and I, who have seen so much of the world, this particular place holds the deepest magic of anywhere.
    Of course you should probably have never left there. Of course I should have moved there.
    But, we didn’t.
    We can still go there.
    And our life histories have not yet been fully written.
    Thank God.
    If we hold onto the magic, imagine where it could take us? You and me separately. We can do anything.
    It is just a question of whether we will.
    I am just like you Sheri. I am held by the people I love.

    • Oh, yes. Magical it is in so many ways. I don’t have to close my eyes to go there in my heart. When I made the decision to move us to DC, I thought I had no other choice and perhaps I didn’t. We’ll never know. What I do know is that it’s been a long way round to find the psychiatrist we have here and Tom now only sees him whenever the need comes up. That’s about once every 4 or 5 months. However, the remainder of his medical team is critical. I’ll never give up on the central coast. I’ve been gone since 1993 but have missed it every day since I departed. It is indeed home for me although I’m a Kansas farm girl.

  3. heila says:

    Wow, this is so tough. Sending you a very strong hug, dear Sheri.

  4. rabbiadar says:

    Oh, Sheri, I am so sorry.

    • Thankfully, this was a memory. Tom has been free of psychotic breaks sense 2005

    • My voice shot my reply before I was finished. I apologize. Thankfully, this post was a memory from years gone by and Tom hasn’t had a psychotic break since 2005. Once we moved to our present home and found his new psychiatrist, his care has been remarkable. Now I only hope wish I could say the same about the care for his body.
      I thought I had lost you as I couldn’t find you in my reader and had looked and looked. Thank you for being here and now I have my link to you back and that makes me positively joyous.

  5. cindy knoke says:

    Oh Sheri, I am so very sorry. Hugs, love & prayers flying to you and Tom.

    • Cindy – These memories are from my journal. As I wrote, I felt the stabs of pain and remembrances. Because my blog has been for mental health advocacy, I thought it important to close out the year with a mental health blog. Thankfully, with Tom’s psychiatrist, he hasn’t had a mental health hospitalization or a break since 2005. We had planned to eventually move on to the West Coast but Tom’s doctor didn’t want to move; he’s just that good.
      I believe had physicians, over the years, listened to our complaints about different medical problems Tom was having, we wouldn’t be faced with serious and life-threatening issues now.
      I hope your holiday season has been filled with joy, love and light. Thank you for reading with my, my friend.

      • cindy knoke says:

        “I believe had physicians, over the years, listened to our complaints about different medical problems Tom was having, we wouldn’t be faced with serious and life-threatening issues now.”
        Well Sheri, I believe in you.
        I know that that you are the best thing that has ever happened to Tom.
        I also know there is no escape from this for you, because you will never abandon Tom.
        But somehow, strangely, I also know, you will be free, and you will become the cumulative powerhouse you are, and were always meant to be.
        Happy New Year brave one~

  6. Maxima says:

    Merry Christmas!With love Maxima.

  7. Aquileana says:

    Such a moving post dear Sheri. Sigh… I can’t but wish you the best. May Strenght, Love and hope be with you, always. 🌟💛⭐️

  8. inesephoto says:

    Oh Sheri, it is heartbreaking how much you two have been through. Wishing you a peaceful Christmas together, and much hope for 2017. My love to you both ❤

    • Inese – As your blog read, we all deserve positive power and a good and possibly a great year ahead. I’m setting my sites high! I believe this past year has been particularly difficult for many of us in one way or another. While I work at streamlining and simplifying some of my chores around the house; it feels good to toss aside some of the needless burdens and clutter. I’m prepared to let the good light and positive vibes in.

  9. paintdigi says:

    Good posts, beautiful blog.
    Congratulations.
    Welcome to see my creations:
    http://paintdigi.com

  10. Sending you love and light.

  11. Sheri I have no words. None.
    All I found myself doing was closing my eyes. Trying to imagine you and Tom. Trying to fit my feelings into the contour of you and Tom. I know I can’t. But your ability to relay your love and Tom’s suffering is so powerful, I just want to form myself around you and Tom and protect you.

    • Thank you. It’s more than enough that you took the time out of your schedule to read with me. I’ve been sitting on this memory for many years with the ache tucked so close to my heart it was on fire. It was time to set it free for a life of its own. Thank you so much for being here. Sheri

  12. Patty B says:

    Sherri my heart aches for you and Tom. You have been such a light of hope to Tom – I am sorry that he has to endure all of this, but am thankful he has you, you are so gentle and compassionate. You love for Tom shows us without a doubt the love our Father has for us. My prayers and love are with you both.

    • Patty, The true miracle is that God pushed us to move here and Tom has not had a psychotic break since 2005. His psychiatrist at the VA is the most humane doctor I’ve ever met. We rarely need an appointment with him any longer, but when we do, he’s only a phone call away. We went through 20 years of quiet room experiences before Dr. Kuo entered our lives and he knew what to do to even Tom’s medications out and allow him the peace he deserved.
      Tom has been psychiatric hospital free since 2005. I’m convinced the harsh drugs over so many years play a role in the state his physical body is in today.
      Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas season. Sheri

      • Patty B says:

        I am so glad to hear that – yes medication can indeed play a negative role in many illnesses if not administered correctly. Sending you Christmas blessings and warm winter hugs!! 🙂

  13. Sheri, you write so powerfully of your experience that it’s impossible not to feel the pain and loneliness and frustration. I hope that you and Tom are doing okay and that there will be some peace over this holiday season for you both.

    • Andrea – Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to stop and read with me and leave a comment. Yes, those years with Tom in the hospital every Christmas were excruciating. His anniversary date of going into the hospital for his first break was Dec 7 and it wasn’t until the last 15 years that we’ve been able to break that cycle. If all goes well with his physical body, we will indeed be together at home this Christmas and as our own little family, we’ll celebrate our traditions only on a much simpler scale.
      Tom’s physical health is tenuous at best but being together is the best gift of all.
      We wish you the best the holiday season has to offer you and yours during this most beautiful of all seasons. Sheri

  14. Sheri, you and Tom are Both in my Heart, Thoughts and Prayers, as hard as the road is I know you hold onto the Truth that you are not alone, God will give you His Strength to endure and uphold you both in the Storms that life is bringing you. Sheri your Loving perseverance in the hash reality of Tom’s condition is indeed God inspired and empowered.

    I had an accident again today on my Scooter Sheri, I’m OK this time but the Scooter is badly damaged and will need repairing, which means I may not have my own Transport over Christmas and this will cause problems both for me and for others.

    Yes I know like you do Sheri that God will work all our troubles out for good but it’s hard while we are going through them, so let us both remember not to worry and instead when a worrying thought comes into our minds, let’s say to God; ” It’s in your hands dear Lord and I Trust you to work it all out for good.” We remember our Loving Father is only a Prayer away.

    Christian Love and Blessings – Anne.

    • Anne – So sorry to hear about your accident with the scooter. Is that God’s way of telling you to slow down a little. I hate it that you are going to be without transportation this Christmas holiday season, however, when I’m forced to slow down, it’s much easier for me to see God’s grace surround me with his loving arms as my support.
      The Christmas memory I wrote of in this blog, I did so as I haven’t written much about mental health this year and I wanted to close out my blogging year with a mental health blog.
      I’m thankful you weren’t hurt with this accident. Let’s face it, our bodies aren’t up for being more crashes with the earth and other environmental obstacles. When I fall, I try to remember to thank God for reminding me to slow down. Yes, I fell again yesterday but was lucky and didn’t do damage to my body!
      Our Christmas will be quite and peaceful relishing in what we have as a couple after all these years of struggling with the medical establishment and rejoicing in the fact that God has chosen us to spend yet another sacred holiday to spend with each other. There’s no greater gift I could have received. Thinking of you with prayer, love and gentle hugs. Be well my friend and wishing you a love-filled holiday season. Sheri

      • Thank you for your concern for me Sheri but no it was not God that caused my accident or your fall, as the Scriptures below confirm He does not willingly afflict us but He does give us His Strength to endure and brings good from all that Life brings to us.

        Lamentations 3: 33 For God doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the Children of Men.

        John 16:33 – “I have told you these things so that in me you may have Peace. In this World you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the World.”

        As we can see His Plans for us are very good the same as you would not plan for Tom to suffer or would I plan for Ron to have Cancer, nor does God plan Suffering and Hardship for us, we always remember He wants the very best for us Eternally, when He returns there will be no more Suffering or Hardship.

        Jeremiah 29 :11-12 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you says the LORD, thoughts of Peace and not of evil, to give you a Future and a Hope.

        Christian Love Always – Anne.

        • May your scooter be in loving hands that fix it as soon as possible. Also, may you find peace and comfort during this blessed season we are in. Love and hugs with lots of prayer for a friend in prayer. Your friend – Sheri

  15. Alexa says:

    I’ve seen personally how devastating a psychotic episode can affect the person and their loved ones. I know the pain we suffer in seeing them go through it and the reality of trying to stay sane in the midst of it all. We don’t have anymore answers than you other than to feel blessed when we get a respite. Bless you for sharing that heart wrenching memory. Hugs, Alexa

    • Alexa – I can’t wait to jump into your fantasy world. I can jump in there and forget everything else. I love the romantic and mystical ones and sometimes Tom even looks at your different compositions with me. He has such a good eye for artistic flair.
      With psychotic breaks, the thing that always broke my heart the most, was when I would hear families say: “well they’re in the hospital now and we don’t have to worry about them. Let the hospital drug them into submission.” I’ve never believed that’s the way to go. I’ve always thought it takes hundreds of hours of unconditional love but it does take an incredible amount out of the primary person always on call to provide that kind of love and support.
      My blog has been primarily about mental health and I wanted to close out the year with a mental health blog. I want others who believe they are strong enough to enter into a relationship and if they have unconditional love for that person, then yes, they too can make a marriage work. However, it’s never going to be easy and it’s a lot of give and give and give some more. But, I would never have made a different choice when I married Tom.

  16. So horrifying and sad, Sheri. As heartbreaking as it is, thank you for sharing this.

    • Jack – Hello and thank you for stopping in to read and taking the time to leave a comment. I felt I had to do one more mental health blog before the close of the year as I’ve been writing about physical medicine for so long. Did your brother take so many medications that they took a toll on his body the way they have with Tom? I know the disease processes are completely different but I’ve been wondering.
      The incompetence of many of his doctors in years gone by and their refusal to actually look at what was happening to his body has literally killed him. That’s the part I’m so angry about. The parts of his body that are destroyed are destroyed as a result of the medications he took for well over 20 years! I could see the good in it if the 20 years gave him a high quality of life on a consistent basis, but they didn’t. That’s the shame of it all.

  17. Elyse says:

    Sheri, once again you brought me into that room with you. I remain in awe of your love and your strength. May this Christmas find you both in your home, together. In peace.

    • Elyse, Thank you so much for the kind words. If all continues as planned, we will indeed be in our own home celebrating Christmas in our own customary style this year. It will be just the two of us, and Bailey of course, but that’s all we need. It’s been so long, I must admit, I’m giddy with excitement. To the credit of Tom’s current psychiatrist, he has not had a mental health hospitalization since 2005 and that onto itself is something to celebrate.

  18. Oh my goodness, Sheri. This post is so real…so sad…so heart wrenching. I had no idea this is how it was for you and for Tom. My love goes out to you both.

    • Patti – I so hope you and your family have a wonderful and joyous holiday season. Until we found Tom’s current psychiatrist, it seemed we couldn’t get past the holidays without him ending up in the hospital and it almost always covered 60 days or more. It always took so much out of both of us. However, since Dr. Kuo, Tom hasn’t had a psychiatric hospitalization since 2005. However, as you know, I firmly believe many of the medications Tom was on for 20 years or more, have done irreparable damage to his body. When we met Dr. Kuo, he took Tom off of 27 different psychiatric medications. Now, we are dealing with the life-threatening after-effects of those deadly medications. I spent more Christmas’ Days in quiet rooms than I ever care to remember and I pray you never have to comfort anyone in one of them.

  19. ksbeth says:

    this is absolutely heartbreaking, sheri and you are a beautiful writer. i don’t know how many people could express this so deeply.

    • Beth – Thank you. This is one of those memories I so wanted others to understand. I wanted others to know that should they ever have a loved one in a like situation, they have the right to be with that person. Additionally, there loved one doesn’t have to be pumped full of toxic drugs but with calming agents only. The main thing, I want others to know unconditional love can survive anything with the understanding the words, ‘giving up’ is not an option.
      Always, Beth, thank you for reading with me and for always leaving a comment. May you and yours have a joyous holiday season.

  20. How heart-breaking. I so get ‘the man I loved’ was evolving. You bring to mind an experience I had–not nearly as difficult as this, but requiring love and patience as I struggled raising my high-spirited son, with his temper tantrums and wild crazy ideas. The day care centers I joined usually didn’t appreciate his energy, but I remember one in particular was different and taught me just the solution you used. As my son wound into his temper tantrum, getting redder and more out of control, their solution was to hold him, wrap him in their arms until he calmed.

    I will always remember that kindness and understanding.

    • Jacqui, You are so right. It’s amazing what placing your arms around another person and then holding tight will do. You’ll get amazing results each time. [ok, around is not the right preposition, or so my computer tells me so, but what does it know about loving someone so much that you’ll do anything within your power to bring them peace and comfort]?
      Holding and comforting another person has such amazing power and I believe it’s the fastest way to de-escalate whatever emotion is going on. Sure, at some times, a comforting hug will do, but there’s nothing the same as holding on to that person and letting them know through the power of your own body that you have them and you are there to stay as long as they need you.
      May your Christmas Season be joyous and all you want it to be. I hope your children are able to make it home to join you and your husband.

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