Sunday, November 18, 2012

Not Getting All Carried Away

Recently my father-in-law passed away. "Papa" lived just a few miles away and had an active role in my children's lives. At ages 16 and 18, this was their first experience losing someone close to them. They each have shown their grief in very different ways. My daughter in the way you'd expect: tears, sadness, wanting to be close to others that are also grieving his loss, reminiscing about him. My son, Rojo, hasn't shed a tear, and doesn't want to talk about it. He did go to the funeral and was surprisingly well-behaved. Afterwards, at the reception at our house, he also was uncharacteristically mellow.

As I watched my father-in-law age (he was nearly 87), I saw just how much in common he and my son had. Somehow, I'd missed it along the way, but the aging process brought it into focus. They were both people that didn't want much more than their family around them, and maybe a few good snacks. Neither were impressed by money, accomplishments or stature - in fact, oblivious to it. They were both happy wearing their same favorite outfits over and over and over again, choosing comfort and practicality over everything else.

One of the very last things my father-in-law said before he died was, "Now don't get all carried away!" as he swiped my husband on the arm from his hospital bed. The command seemed to come out of no where.  He simply looked up, bat at my husband and made the proclamation. We used that as our guiding force through the next few days of life-and-death decision making, then at last, burial plans.

I guess more than anything, that's the thing about Rojo. He doesn't get all carried away. He lacks the very essence of what it takes to get carried away - an ego. He doesn't strive. He doesn't aspire. He doesn't want. He just is. Likewise, I think that's why he isn't grieving in the way the rest of us are - he's in the present, he lives here and now and accepts it for what it is: all we have.

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Carrie is a parent and advocate of a child with special needs and even more special gifts. She blogs at where this is pretty much her favorite topic. 


  1. I love that you know this about him and have accepted that this is his way of processing it all. It would be so easy to 'pathologize' or assume what he might be feeling and try to pry some emotion out of him, but you are letting him be. Bless you.

  2. What a neat realization about the two of them. I love this.