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?)

Grief Waves

I don’t remember the last time I had a grief wave hit me this hard or last this long.

It’s leaving me in a fog.  In a mental state of confusion.  I’m slow, and I’m easily distracted and I’m unable to concentrate.

I had forgotten what full on grief does to me.

I had forgotten what it feels like to ride the wave of pain.

I’m pretty sure I don’t fucking like it.

But it will pass.  And life will get better.  I’m glad that I don’t have to be in school this week.

Grief Is Like the Ocean

Falling Apart

I am falling apart right now.

Big, snotty, can’t breathe, can’t see sobs.

It’s a good thing I can type without looking, without seeing because I can’t right now.   I apologize for any spelling errors.

I hurt.

My dad died, did I tell anyone here that?

He died in April 2011.

A year before my husband.

He and I weren’t particularly close.  He lived 8 hours away, and didn’t seem to know, despite his incredible intelligence, how to pick up a phone and use it.

And then when he finally did call… it was to tell me he had stage 4 lung cancer.

That was October?  November? of 2010.   We went to see him at Christmas.  My brother, my sister, me.  My sister’s husband.  My husband and kids.   And then we didn’t expect to see him again.

I managed to go for another visit in March – saw him in the hospital.

And then he died in April.  I remember – I was at work when I got the call.   My husband came to get me.

I had a cry.   I mourned.   We spread his ashes that summer at Duggan Lake.   I cried again.

And that was it.

Less than a year later, my husband went into the hospital.   159 days after – he died.

My dad and I weren’t close.   I always had a feeling of I would never *quite* measure up.   I got an A once on an English Essay and he said to let him know when I got 100% on an essay like him.

I’m in English right now – my essay marks have been 97%, 97%, and 98%.  Not quite the 100%.  And yes, each mark, I’ve thought about him when I saw that it wasn’t perfect.

So Saturday I went to see 50 Shades of Grey.

The main female character graduates from college.  Her dad shows up.   She’s super happy.  And then it hits me.

HE WON’T BE THERE.

My dad won’t be at my graduation.

He won’t be there for me at that moment.

He was at almost every other major event in my life.

But he won’t be at that one.

And so there I am… in the middle of a sexxy movie… crying.

Fuck me.

And tonight?  I can’t stop.  It’s like all the grief I didn’t know was there has just bubbled the fuck out.

And I can’t stop crying about it.

I miss my Daddy.  I miss him.  And I’m never going to be able to share my grandson with him.  He’s not going to see me graduate.  He’s not going to be a part any of that.

And I can’t stop crying about it.

So much fucking lost time.

July & Aug 2009 048

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…

January 2010 039

Children & Grief

At times I forget, in the enormousness of my own grief, that I’m not the only one who lost someone.

There are differences in grief – the difference of what type of loss it is – but that doesn’t change the fact that other people have lost someone important in their life, as well.

I was at my sister-in-law’s house on the weekend, spent some time with her, and when the boys wandered away, she asked me how they were doing.

“Fine” was my response.   They seem to be adapting well.  They seem to be accepting.

I forgot that children grieve differently.

I read somewhere that children will wait until they are sure the surviving parent is capable of handling their grief.

This morning, I found my youngest son sitting on his bed, holding his dad’s ashes, tears running down his face.

Grief hit him.  He misses his Dad.  He’s a mini-Mark.  He’s got a lot of Mark’s qualities… good and bad.   And grief hit him.

What can I do for my child other than hold him and let him cry?

It was 7.45am, I was in my bathrobe, and not ready to go.   (Yes, I get it.  I need to be ready for work before I play on the computer… *sigh*)

I know that at one point in my life, I would have been so very focused on my own life that I would have ignored my son’s distress and showered so I could get to work on time.

Instead, I sat down on his bed… and snuggled him while he cried.

I can’t take away his pain – I would if I could – but I can let him ride the wave of grief in the safety of my arms.

Knowing that my kids are getting to the point of being able to share their grief with me… I know that I am moving to a better place, a healing place, a stronger place.

I am capable of handling their grief and sadness.

January 2010 039

 

Their Pain…

I can’t take away their pain.

I raised my older two kids to be strong, independent and self-reliant.

I forget, sometimes, how very young they still are.

At 22 and almost 21, my oldest children have lost not one, but two fathers.

Their biological dad died when they were 5 & 3.      I married my husband when they were 7 & 9.  We had been together a year and a half at that point… so he had been in their lives since they were 5 &7.

My husband may not have been their biological dad – but he was *dad* in every way that counted.

Last night, I got a glimpse of my son’s naked pain.   He does a very good job of hiding it, but if you listen to his music, you can hear it.

I got to hear it in a way I don’t think he expresses very often.

And I wanted to take away the pain.  I want to heal the hurt.  I want to make it better and show him that it really can be ok.

He’s going to move through this… but it breaks my heart that he has to.

As a wife, I’ve lost my husband, my partner, my soul mate.

As a mom, I have to watch my children navigate life without their father.   The older ones were blessed with being raised to adulthood by Mark.  The younger ones?  I’m going to have to figure out their teen years without his guidance.   And it breaks my heart that they will miss out on the amazing person he was.   He had a way with the kids that I don’t.  He was their confidante.  He was the one they knew they could talk to.   He was an amazing role model.

I want to help them… but the older kids won’t let me.  They don’t want me to have to hurt more than I am.   But I hurt knowing what they’re going through.