Living in Denial: Russian Mother

I just don't get it.  How can she stare into the camera and say so unequivocally that he didn't do it?  When they have pictures of his face on TV, and blogs and tweets about his going radical?

"I know my son," she cried.

But I'm a mother, too, and I tried to think what I would do, how I would feel, if my son (nearing 12) ever did something like this.  As much as I hate this woman, yes, hate, I sort of understand.  She bore, birthed and raised this man, and much as what he did was despicable, he's still her son.

But what does it tell our children if we shield them for their mistakes?  Or deny they made them?  Fortunately I've got a pretty good kid (most of the time) but I know there will come a day when he's going to do something big, wrong.  Will I be tempted to explain it away, or rationalize it ("he was framed"), to act like he didn't do it, or it's no big deal, when really, it's huge?

Of course I've denied things in my life, things that were too painful to accept.  Relatives who behaved inappropriately with me. That the dark spot on my mammogram wasn't a tumor.  That my husband would scatter rose petals on the floor, have the lights turned down low, and a bottle of champagne chilling -- no, that's never happening.

When I've been in denial about anything -- that I could change my husband into a guy who could tell me he loved me with a straight face and not make a joke about it, that he could stay home and help clean up the house, or take Phillip somewhere, or even, get something for dinner, instead of racing off to the gym -- I began to realize it was only me I was hurting.

My husband is non-verbal and emotions make him queasy, and since day one, his needs have almost always come first -- ahead of the baby, my job, and sad to say, even my health, at times.  I know that he loves me and I need to realize that when I talk about a new man I've met, and he asks if he's good-looking, that means he's jealous, but that hasn't kept me from hoping that someday he would change from a crusty curmudgeon into someone who said, "Oh, I missed you," when I came back from a business trip.

Denial cushioned me for a long time, but when the end comes, it can be freeing.   I've accepted that he's never going to look across the table at me in candlelight and say he's so glad I married him.  It's just not going to happen. But I can love him anyway.

In the same way, I'm sure this Russian mother desperately fears the pain of the truth of this.  He's not coming back, her son.  And he did this.  He maimed and killed innocent children and adults, people who were doing nothing more than standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

All her denying isn't hurting us, even though it might make us angry.  No, in the end, she's the one suffering.  Denial only hurts one person.  The one doing it.


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