Savage Enterprises Publishing
Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

The Last Word

Revelation — (June 2001) I reached a very important event in my life recently. In fact, it was actually a couple of days before the deadline for Comicopia 64. I had the kids with me for the weekend and I was helping James with his homework. As I was outlining some extra stuff I wanted him to read (namely, some very short and easy poems from school), he began to complain. I gave him a short lecture about the importance of reading and school. As I was going on, I realized my voice was raising. Now, I knew from earlier experiences (mainly during this year) that James tended to get very scared whenever I raised my voice. When this became known to me, I explored the reasonings behind it. All I could get out of him was that he was not scared that I would hit him, or punish him, or that anything bad would happen. He was, however, still scared. And this fear was not just with me.

Anyhow, as I saw him look at me wide-eyed, fighting back tears, I knew he wasn't listening to a word I was saying. It wasn't the first time I would stop talking, ask if he understood, and after he nodded 'yes', to ask him to repeat what I'd said. Inevitably, his reply would be; "I forgot". Yes, as you can imagine, that was and always is an infuriating answer.

However, this particular night (Wednesday April 11th, 2001 -to put it in perspective), I didn't get upset. I calmly looked at him trying to sit quietly and stoicly, and failing to hold back his tears. For all the times I couldn't understand why he was scared, some kind of illumination came to me.

I asked him for a hug and he eagerly came into my arms. Then, he started to sob. I sat him on my lap and asked him, "James, are you scared Daddy's going to leave?" It was the one question I'd never asked him. He broke down.

His little body racked by his sobs, I held him tightly as I told him over and over that I would not leave him; that I would never leave him. I sat him down in front of me (we were both on the floor) and I explained to him what happened between his mother and I. We analyzed how happy our lives currently are and how great we all feel when we're together. Not just he and I, but Melyssa and Chantale as well. He loves when we're all together, and loves how happy we all are. But, somewhere in his mind, was an overpowering fear that I would leave him. That I could possibly get so angry with him that I would go away.

I soothed his fears, and repeated to him that I would never leave him or his sister. I even told him that there would be times when he wouldn't want me around but that I would always be there because I loved him so much. I told him how happy Chantale and I are when he and Melyssa are with us. We walked over and looked at the calendar we keep which tracks the days they are with us. We counted all the times we'd be together and laughed at the plans we'd already included on the calendar (like a date for the four of us to go watch Disney's Atlantis).

We laughed and hugged and as he realized that I wasn't lying to him and that I meant every word I'd ever said, his laugh became so buoyant. When he realized and accepted the fact that I would never and could never leave him, I could swear I saw him undergo a transformation which made his face shine like the sun. I could literally swear I saw a huge burden suddenly lift off his shoulders as he became my laughing little boy again.

It was an incredible feeling. To finally get down to the root of a problem I didn't know how to solve. To finally and truly get through to my son on such a level. To regain his trust and have him place his faith in me again in the knowledge that we will always be together. It was a beautiful and very moving feeling. One I couldn't wait to share.

I put him and Melyssa in the tub so they could take a bath and then picked up the phone to call Chantale. I blubbered away on the phone, telling her all about it. I was so happy that I could not stop the immense tears of joy and relief which flooded over me. I could hear her joy coming through the phone and her relief as well. We'd finally done it. We'd gotten through to James. He was the one who'd gotten the most hurt. And now he was healed.

I've since had many other moments of setting James straight on getting his duties and homework done. He has not zoned out on me and has listened and understood what I'd said. And he is so much happier now. With that huge dark cloud finally off all our shoulders, we could now get back to dealing with the *regular* type of problems kids his age face. Winning against such a monstrous fear, Chantale and I know that a measly thing like school and homework won't be anywhere as intimidating. :)

All You Need Is Love. Not only can it move mountains and bring the stars down from the skies, it can shine bright enough to burn away all the demons lurking in the darkness.

(The Last Word (c) Mike Aragona. All rights reserved. No reproduction or retransmission of this article is granted without written permission of Mike Aragona)

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