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

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Who’s Got My Kids?

When my husband went into the hospital, I had a team, a community who came together and took care of my kids and ran my life.

Then he died, and they all came together and took care of me until I could take care of myself again.

I left my community on the promise of a future.

It’s been 2 years, and I know it takes 3-5 years to create a community again.  Minimum.  It’s starting here, slowly.

But I felt crapy the other day… which always leaves me hypervigilent about symptoms and checking and is this serious? Do I need to go to the hospital?  Can it wait until the doctor’s office opens?

And… then I thought yesterday… what happens if I end up in the hospital?

Who takes care of my kids?

When I was living with my Metalhead Poet, I just believed he would be there for me, and take care of our life if I couldn’t.

Now… I don’t know who… who’s the first person I would call?

I’m not partnered, so that’s not an option.

My best friends live 3.5 & 9 hours away.  They’d probably both here, but… they’re far away.

My derby friends?  I don’t know that they’d step up the way my Squamish team would.  Some of them?  But I don’t know.

Either of my adult children?  I wouldn’t ask them… they both have babies of their own and live in different towns than me.

My new friend Janene has said she would…. but she has 2 kids of her own in a different age group.

My sisters would absolutely.  But they’re in diferent towns. Hard enough on my boys if I end up in the hospital, but if they have to leave all their friends?

Short answer?  I don’t know.  And it makes me feel… lost?

Lost my Love.  Lost my Metalhead Poet.  Left my friends. Lonely as fuck.

And I don’t know who I can lean on.  I think that’s the only thing I regret about being here.  I’ve lost my tribe. Tribe

It’s All Good… but…

A strange thing happens when your spouse dies.

There’s this hole in all your conversations.

Robin Williams died…and I wanted to tell Mark about it.  Mark was such a big fan.

Grandbabies… grandbabies everywhere…and I can’t talk to him about them.

Justin Trudeau getting elected… and Hunter Tootoo being the Ministry for Fisheries and Oceans.  OMG the conversation about that.

Everything the Harper government did to decimate the environment… he would have been talking about that… not just hours, not just days… but I’d never stop hearing about it. Ever.  He was so passionate about it.

And the adorable throatsingers at the swearing in ceremony.  He probably would have shown those to me before I had a chance to show him.

Things are good… but there’s a hole in my conversations.   I miss the indepth, passionate debates we’d have about various topics.

I haven’t found someone else who will talk about those things with me. Who has that same passion for conversation.

There’s just a hole where the conversations used to be…

Christmas 2011

His Life Meant Something

Working in the field I do, I don’t work with the same people forever.

Being deployed means I’ll end up working with and meeting a plethora of people from different backgrounds and different lives.

And none of them know my story.

How do I express to people that I’m not an only parent by choice?  How do I tell people I just met… “Yep, I have 4 kids, a grandbaby and a half and a dead husband” without the expressions of sympathy?

Expressions of sympathy are the best way to get me crying.  But people like to do them – a lot. “You’re so strong for talking about it.”  “I’m so sorry” “You’re too young”

Yep. Yep. and Yep.

But his life had meaning.  He loved to fish the waters we’re working to protect here.  He loved this area.  He was an amazing dad who loved his boys and dammit they deserved to have more than 11 & 12 years with him!!

But I have conversations with people and over and over I get to say “My husband died 3 years ago”  “my children have no living father”

And if the conversations get deeper… then we get to bring up how my 4 children have 2 different fathers and… THEY’RE BOTH DEAD.

FML.

But his life had meaning.   And he was (and still is) important to us.   So I NEED to honour him.  I NEED to remember him.  I need to tell stories and bring up memories and share experiences because he fucking MATTERED.

I just wish it didn’t shatter me so much every time.

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Imma Single What?!?

Oh fuck.  It just occurred to me… I’m a single parent.

For 14 years I was married.  With kids.   I was a partner, 1/2 of the whole, one of two.

And then he got sick.. .and I still was married… and then he died.

I became a widow.   A somewhat romantic figure.  A tragedy of a lost love.   It didn’t OCCUR to me that I was anything but a widow.   My children had lost their father, I had lost my husband, and that was just our life.  We’d find a way somehow.

And then… my 2nd chapter.

I was again a part of.  1/2 the whole.  One of two.

Then… my 2nd chapter ended.

I moved into the basement.  I took responsibility for my kids, he took responsibility for his.  I took responsibility for my house, he took responsibility for his.

And I sleep alone.   He sleeps alone.

There was no tragic death.  There was no sad story to tell.   It was just a matter of … we didn’t fit.  We didn’t work well together.  We had too many differences to overcome.

I became… another single mom.

Can I pull back to the “widow” status?

Can I pull back to being the person who I was?  Probably not.      But it feels weird.   I’m a single parent again.  After 15 years, I am a single parent.

I don’t know why it feels different – I’m still a widowed parent, I’m still the ONLY parent… but I’m a single parent.  And that bothers me.

But I’m going to do the best I possibly can for my boys.   They deserve the best of me that they can get.

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