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Archive for August, 2011

The sad refrain started about three weeks ago. One night, as we were talking about Hadley’s day while she started to fall asleep, she started to cry. “Why are you crying?” I asked.  “I want my daddy…” she sobbed back at me.  I did the only thing I could think of.  I started saying all of the things I thought would be comforting for a 3 year old who doesn’t understand the concept of death but only knows that others in her class have dads who come pick them up.  How he stayed as long as he could, how happy he was when she was born, how much he loved her, and that he’s always in our hearts.  I struggle with how to deal with the whole afterlife thing.  I’m not exactly devout right now.  I fell off the track in April of 2008.  So I left it at, he’s all around us and watching over us.  She eventually fell asleep. I was left wondering if I’d handled it correctly.

We have repeated this scenario multiple times since then.  I don’t think Hadley’s doing this to manipulate me, but how do I know?  I think this started at about the time we were asked to bring in a family picture to school.  I’m guessing that she noticed that her picture is not the same as everyone else’s.  She’s bright, that one.

One night during our exchange, I said something to the effect that Dad wouldn’t want us to be sad. “I can’t help it…” and she started crying as she said it.  There are so many little things she’s said when we’re talking, I’m not sure what’s really getting to her.  Tonight she said there are only two of us that live here, and our pets, but no one else is here. I have no idea how to help her work through this.  I don’t know if my words are helping her.  I don’t know if my love for her is helping her.  There is plenty of love around her, but I suppose no amount of anything will ever make up for the fact that a person is missing.  Oh dear heart, how I wish I could change things for you.  I’m so sorry that I can’t.

 

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Miscalculation

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Today is the 19th anniversary of our first date. What better day than today to donate a lot of the clothes I still hadn’t moved since April of 2008? So on Sunday, I spent some time going through the dresser and closet, explaining to Hadley what I was doing and why when she asked me. It seemed almost flippant to say we were giving them away because he doesn’t need them anymore. But how else do you answer that question? He really doesn’t need them, and he would want someone to get some use out of them.

So I packed the clothes in the car to take to Hadley’s school. They have a charity program and I had asked long ago if they could use clothes. When we walked in this morning, we again went through how we were giving these to other people who might need them. She cheerfully said, “Yes, because Daddy doesn’t need them because he’s not here.” I’m really glad that it doesn’t make her sad to talk about him like that. I hope it never does.

I didn’t think it would bother me. It’s just stuff. My memories don’t cease because the things are gone. It doesn’t make it easier or more difficult to have them gone. It just seemed like it was time. But it did bother me. I didn’t realize it until I walked out of Hadley’s classroom and started to cry. Perhaps it was partly because I remember August 8, 1992 and was grieving, yet again, for another special day that passed without him. Or perhaps it was simply yet another marker of moving forward, alone, when my heart isn’t so sure that’s the thing it wants to do.

I thought that maybe, the fact I haven’t felt that I needed to write for awhile meant maybe it was getting easier. Now I realize that being quiet doesn’t mean nothing is wrong.

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