The Tough Days

This is a repost from last week’s Widow’s Voice post…..

 
Birthday Candles
Birthday Candles (Photo credit: Chealion)
 
 

Tomorrow is Miss K’s birthday.
She will turn 10 years old.
I can’t believe she is already in double digits as I swear I only gave birth to her two years ago.

Except I didn’t.

Two years ago was when I became both mother and father to Miss K and her younger brother.

Of all the wounds of widowhood, grieving for my father-less children has been the hardest.

Miss K was 7 and a half when Greg died.  Mr H was 5 and a half. 
Too young to have lost their father.

For the most part, they cope OK – much better than I could have dreamt of two years ago.

But that may be due to them being oblivious to the loss which is blindingly obvious to me: they simply don’t know any different whereas I know what Should Have Been.

Recently, H asked me: “Did my Daddy like riding his bike as much as I do?” 
“Of course he did – don’t you remember him riding along beside you on the bike track?”
“Not really Mum.  I don’t remember him that well.”

That kills me.
KILLS me.
This beautiful baby boy of mine does not remember the tower of love that was his father.

His memories come from photographs and half-remembered dream-like moments from his first 5.5 years of life.

This is despite me talking about Greg All The Time.
Making and reading memory books All The Time.
Telling them stories about their Dad All The Time (you get the picture).

But nothing replaces having a Dad who is right there with you.

Miss K remembers more about her Dad, but then, she was older when he died. 
Certain things are etched in her memory.
Most of them are good, but some of them are for the times she was “naughty”….. she was cranky that last morning and she has that memory burnt into her brain. 

….and I feel sad for all the things that he is missing.
Does he know that our beautiful nearly-10-year-old girl is growing up? 
Does he know how clever she is? 
How beautiful?

Does he see that our boy has his engineering brain? 
Does he know how proud his son is of his perfect hero of a father? (in H’s mind, his father is the greatest superhero ever).
Does he hear him tell anyone who will listen that he will grow up “Just Like My Dad”?

I’m guessing that he does….. after all, what  is heaven if not to be able to see your loved ones …. at least that’s my idea of heaven.

But this coming week of birthdays (H’s is the following Monday) is tough …. for me more than them I think… they are young enough to only dream of presents and cake and not dwell on Who Is Missing. 
But me – I’ve lost the person who can remember the moments after they were born and who loved them as much as I do.
The memories are now only mine.
There is no eye I can catch and know that we are sharing the same memory of birthdays past, or the perfect pinkness of their newborn faces.  Nobody to remember the exact tone of their one-year-old voices stringing sentences together.  Nobody to marvel with at just how amazing they are….

….and it hurts.

But I smile and wrap presents and make preparations to make this a happy birthday for each of them. 
….and I hope that when I tell them that their Daddy is here too, looking over their shoulders and giving them big birthday hugs that they can feel the certainty in my words and know he is really there.

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Sharing both pain and joy…

 

This is a repost from this week’s post at Widow’s Voice.…..

 

A friend posted this picture on facebook today.

I agree with the premise of it – I do think we need to  share the everyday joys in our lives.

The things we are grateful for.

The people we love.

 

I tend to do this in pictures: photography is my therapy, and my camera lens my rose-coloured glasses.

I post photos of the things and the people I am grateful for – my children, my surroundings, a flower, sunlight and warmth.

 

But.

 

I do think it is also important to share our pain.

Our dark days.

Our black moments.

Our little niggles and our enormous problems.

 

Sometimes, having a good whinge is therapeutic in its own right.

 

Posting facebook statuses commanding people to “stop being so negative” gags those who want …. or rather need… to reach out to someone else and say “Life is not good right now.  I need support”.

 

It gags the sad and it gags the desperate.

…and it gags the suicidal.

 

Sometimes it takes real courage to say “I’m having a really hard time right now.  Please send me some love”.

 

 

 

I don’t know about you, but those early days of grief spent reading the ups and downs of widows and widowers like Michele, Matt, Dan, Kim, Janine, Taryn, Jackie, Michelle and others like Megan and Supa helped me see that what I was experiencing was REAL.

 

Not sugar-coated.

 

Not all happy-happy-joy-joy that other people want to see….. the “happy” that friends and family want so badly for us because they are kind and can’t fathom the depth of grief we are experiencing.

 

But in sharing the ups and downs of their grief, these bloggers showed me that life goes on.

Not all good, but by the same token, not all bad, but life in all its multi-coloured glory.

 

I hope I am able to do the same.

 

Each week I strive to “blog my now”.

….  the sinking pain and the intense joy.

….  the furious, fierce love.

 

 

So while I commend anyone who takes the time to look for the joy in life, wherever it can be found, I stress the equal need to voice those fears and troubles that can become unbearable if borne alone.

 

To paraphrase a woman who is amongst the strongest I know, a woman who voices her ups and downs in equal measure: “by sharing the sad days in life with friends, there’s one less miserable person in the world because they’ve found support and love to get them through it.”

 

Amen to that sister!