Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lucas Update

Lucas is adjusting to his new normal. The first week after coming home from the hospital, he slept in my bed with me. When I transitioned him back to his bed, he adjusted very well. He started going to his new preschool on Feb. 4. While he had some initial apprehension, he has adjusted well. I am so proud of him.

We have developed a weekly schedule for him that I think helps him to feel a sense of order and predictability, which likely leads to some sense of safety. He goes to Bethany Preschool in Long Beach Monday through Friday. On Monday and Thursday evenings we join Midi's parents at their house for dinner. On Wednesdays I drop him off at his grandparents' house and he sleeps over. Fridays we have dubbed "Fun Friday". So far Fun Friday has included having the Hongs sleep over and video and popcorn night. Future Fun Fridays could include going to the Aquarium of the Pacific, driving out to Corona to spend the night at my sister's house, going to the Hong's house to sleep over, and going out to a movie. On Saturday mornings he has pancakes. In the afternoon we go to Baachan's house and he gets to play with his cousins and see the extended family. Sunday we go to church. He has also been seeing a counselor once a week. Joe Gevas, a friend and sometimes teacher of his Sunday school, usually comes to play with him once a week as well. Soon, he will start Tee-Ball and will have games Saturday mornings.

Grief for Lucas looks very different than it does for me. He does not often cry. There are times when he gets upset about something unrelated and starts to cry which then leads him to say "I miss mommy." So I think sadness in general is a trigger to thinking about his loss. When he sees me grieving, he does not enter into it with me. I think feeling the sadness is scary for him so he steers clear of it. It is times when I share happy memories with him that he jumps right in. For example, if I say, "Do you remember when you and Nathan used to wrestle?" or "Do you remember when Oh-ma used to lay down next to you and scratch your back?" then he will enter into the moment eagerly and share his own recollections. We have a special memory corner where we sometimes go to look at pictures or read books that the boys used to enjoy together.

There is one major change in the way he plays. There have been times when he has played with cars and made them crash into each other, almost recreating the scene of the tragedy. He also uses the word "die" or "dead" frequently in his play. I have learned that this is normal processing for a four year old. But at the same time, I have noticed that he has a very strong defense mechanism when he is asked specifically about how he feels - avoidance. Part of it is that he doesn't have the words to describe what he is feeling. But part of it is also a defense. As his parent, I hope that I can help him learn to deal with his problems well. Avoidance is such a common unhealthy defense mechanism. For some it leads to alcohol, for others video games, for others complete isolation and withdrawal from relationships. While Lucas' use of avoidance is completely understandable and maybe in some ways necessary, I hope I can help him so that it doesn't cripple his ability to deal with adversity throughout his life.

Though I am in no way a mental health professional, I would say that he is doing very well under the circumstances. His prognosis is very good.


Anonymous said...

Mark, thank you for the blog entry. It is great to see what a great Dad you are to Lucas. As you go deep with God, and meet him in the pain, you are giving Lucas so much, even in this new normal. I am praying Psalm 103.1-5 for you guys.

And it was really fun to shoot guns with Lukie all weekend. He has a mean shot. =)


Mary said...

The peace of Christ be with you this Lenten and Easter season. --Mary

Anonymous said...

I've been checking back on your blog every few days and am always encouraged that, despite what you've gone through and continue to grapple with, you are leaning on Jesus and He is sustaining you and Lucas. It's cliche to say, I know, but reading your blog helps me to appreciate my sons and husband and "hold them closer" - literally and figuratively. You know how you can have those days when everyone is grumpy and getting on each others' nerves, no one remembers how to put on their shoes or use the potty:)? Well, I have more patience in those moments and days because you help me to remember our time together is short and it's ALL a gift.

Anyways, brother, we are praying for you and Lucas often and know you will make it through. I love the mental picture of your joyful grandmother, who made it through such similar circumstances as your own! Oh and we remember to pray often as my eldest son actually has the exact same "puppy" Nathan had. So our puppy (named Bert Fido, don't ask about how THAT came about..."Puppy" is much better:) is a great reminder to pray for you.

Keep writing, going to Jesus, depending on your good friends, grieving. You will make it.
Shannon (Boehm) Chesebro
(haha, do I win as the longest commenter yet?)

Richard said...

Mr. Mikasa,

I was greatly saddened when I heard about your loss, but I am happy to see that you have had such strength during this time. The Lord has blessed you with the ability to go on with hope, for you and for your son. It is one thing to deal with your own pain, but your concern for Lucas truly is an amazing thing. I am sure that the Lord will continue to be with you, as will my prayers.

Angela said...

When my father died, my son Jonah was 4 at the time and he had never been to a funeral or burial before. Months after the funeral, he would sporadically do and say things that would let me know he was still processing his first loss. He would be in the park digging small holes with a stick and when asked what he was doing he said he was digging graves. He also commented that when people died they lost their legs, and I realized that he was saying that because when he saw my dad in the casket, the bottom half was closed and he thought that Grandpa didn't have any legs. I used to worry about things like that, but my grief support counselor told me that it was healthy, and that kids often process grief through activities and action rather than words. All that to say, I think Lucas is doing quite well too. Blessings brother. Angela