This is Us

It has taken me almost a week to write about the Superbowl episode of This is Us.

It shook me, more than Grey’s Anatomy’s depiction of Derek Shepherd’s death (sorry if you’re not caught up on that – but it’s been a few years…) It shook me not because of the way he died, because Derek’s death was more like my husband’s but because of the aftermath.

The having to tell the children. The having to parent the children. The 20 years in the future and how the memories still affect Rebecca and how the children cope and how life was so drastically altered as a PARENT.

Not just the wife. The mother.

I can’t find a video of it, the moment where she goes to Miguel’s house to talk to the kids.  Where she stands in the doorway and tells him that she needs to be strong for her kids and if he can’t, he’ll need to take a walk until he can.

But in watching that…. all I could see was myself. How my kids went home in one car and I went home in another and I was lost. I was not a pillar of strength for my kids. I was not strong, I was not able, I was not the rock they needed to lean on.

All I could see in that moment was how I failed my children when their father died.

How one of my kids would tell me that she thinks of the good memories and is happy.  And I thought that was such an amazing thing. But really – she didn’t want me to be sadder.  Now, when her life is changing so much, she needs her dad and he’s not here and she’s ANGRY because she hasn’t grieved.

How one of my kids asked me after a fight with my chapter 2 if things were ok, because he didn’t want me to be sad again.

How my daughter says flat out that when I’m old, one of my other kids will be responsible for me because she took care of me when he died. She did her part.

How I failed them.

I don’t know how to fix that.

I was in so much pain. I hurt so badly. I couldn’t move past it. And I failed them.

This is Us showed another side of being a widow. It showed what happens on the other side – not just from the widow perspective, but from the children’s perspective.  Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t. The kids are a plot line, a side story that come out every once in a while to make a point.

And because of it, This is Us, the episode where Jack died, the episode after where they went to the funeral (and the odd needing to have him with her at all times) that affected me in a way I wasn’t expecting. I wasn’t expecting to be reminded of how I abandoned my kids when they needed me the most – not on purpose – just because I didn’t know how to cope with it myself.

How do I fix that? They are my heart.

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Widowed Parenting

There’s things you think about when your spouse dies.

How you’re going to explain it to your children.
Making sure they get counselling.
Making sure they get fed every day.
Figuring out how to manage their schedules when before you had two people to do the running around.
How to shop with children in tow.
Having to endure the “oh I’m so sorry” looks and voices when people ask where their father is.

Then there’s things you don’t think about.

Having to teach your teenaged boy how to shave.
Having to have the safer sex converstations.
Having to have a conversation about sex, and how to make sure she ENJOYS it.

Those are the three I hadn’t thought about… until they came up.

My son who wants to shave needed razors and I just about had a meltdown in the grocery store buying them.

Both my son’s are at the age where safer sex is a conversation that has to be had… condoms need to be available… and how to use them…

And then last night… the conversation about actual sex.

He’s had sex.  And so the conversation became…

… about consent.
… about making sure she enjoyed herself.
… about talking to her about what she likes.
… about how condoms can affect a woman

Those are conversations HE should be having with his son dammit! NOT me.

I am NOT supposed to have to teach my son how to have good sex.  That’s his FATHER’s JOB.

The fortunate part of all this… is that he’s got a mother who:

A: is very open about sex, and has no problems talking about all aspects of it and
B: is training to be a nurse so will end up having to have these conversations with clients… so he gets to be the one I practice on.

This isn’t the life I wanted. I was supposed to be raising my kids with my husband and we were supposed to be Grandparents together.

But it is what it is.   And I get to have the hard/awkward/uncomfortable conversations with my kids.

New Normal Sucks.

It's Going to be Ok Someday

On His 15th Birthday

The last birthday my son got to share with his father was his 11th.  The pictures are amazing.  I was, as usual, the picture taker, and caught an amazing picture of Andrew and Mark hugging over the shiny new bike.

There have been 4 birthdays since then. His 12th was spent in a hospital room with his dad.

His 13th, 14th and now 15th…?  As a fatherless child.

I’ve tried to make birthdays something special.

I’ve tried to live and love and parent as if Mark were still here.

I don’t know if I’ve succeeded.

I don’t know if Mark would have approved of the double bladed sword-type thing I gave Andrew for his 15th.  (Honestly I’m not sure if *I* approve LMFAO)

But I’m doing my best.

3 birthdays without his dad.  3 birthdays where he’s had to grow up, learn to be a man, figure out what adult men are supposed to be like and for the most part, aside from a year with my ex, he’s had a woman to try to teach him.

I wanted different for my boys.  I don’t know how to raise boys.  Hell – when my oldest was going through puberty (and there WAS a male figure there) I got a book on puberty to try to understand what the hell was going on with his body.

Boys are icky and weird and I’m supposed to be the mother of girls.

But I wouldn’t trade my son’s for anything.

Somehow, despite me, they are growing into amazing young men.  Not a lot of initiative (yet) but responsible when given a list.  Caring, loving, kind.

And my baby… my husband’s first (biological) born… is now 15.  And he’s turning into an incredible young man.

I wish Mark were here to see it.

Andrew 15th Birthday

(double bladed sword thingy – untwist the handle and it’s got a chain between it – bladed nunchucks?)

The Things That Are Missing

Boys need a dad.

I heard it said before that boys need a dad, but until tonight… I didn’t really think about what was missing in my boys’ life.

A male role model.

A Dad-type figure.

Their Dad.

I’m watching my brother-in-law interact with my son… the connection of an adult male imparting wisdom, knowledge and TIME with my 14 year old boy… I wish so much for my boys that their Dad was here… but in the interim… they get to spend time with Uncles…

And tonight… the things that are missing… those things are so much more apparent…

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