"You are a warrior. Warriors don't give up and they don't back down. Pick up your sword and shield and fight."
- Unknown Author
My eldest son had an assist at his game this weekend. I missed the assist because I was with the youngest on his own soccer field at his last game of the year. This is how life rolls for our “terrific trio.”
I have spent the last three years telling our stories, sharing our pain and our triumphs and trying to bring awareness to something that most people don’t deal with in their entire lifetimes and definitely not when they are 30.
Life itself has not gotten any easier. In many areas things have gotten more difficult. Cognitive levels of the boys have increased. The understanding that he’s not coming back is real. Growing up fatherless does really happen.
I can safely say at this point though that we have adapted to a new way of life. We have adapted to single parenting. We have adapted to half the attention a typical child receives. We have adapted to being by ourselves at times when we should be surrounded by others. We have adapted to the looks, the stares, the questions and the wonder we receive everywhere we go with just our mom. We have adapted to events specific to “fathers”, to events specific to families, and to events specific to grief. While most kids were at basketball or music camp throughout the summer months, we attended Camp Healing Hearts for those who have suffered loss.
We are warriors. We will wield our shields and swords and we fight. Together. The three of us.
Daily challenges for each of us come in different forms. We continue to deal with those that feel there is a grieving period and that all three of us should have moved on by now. We should be able to cope. We should be able to concentrate at school. We should no longer be crying they say.
We deal with the students in class that want to know where our dad is when they insist on having events centered around having a dad present. We deal with the kids that say we are lying when we tell them our dad died. We deal with the people who don’t understand us. We deal with a mom who still cries and a mom who tries to wear both hats and do it all. We deal. We fight. Why? Because as I often tell people, there is no other choice.
There continues to be a feeling of injustice. A sense of unfairness and a layer of heaviness that surrounds the three of us. It is difficult to watch the boys mature and grow without their dad. It is difficult to hear that they don’t remember him. It is difficult to hear their anger and their sadness. It is difficult to listen to their anxiety that I will not live forever. It is difficult to listen to their fears. It is difficult for me to deal with my own anxiety and fear while being in the midst of theirs.
What they have however gained is an inordinate amount of resiliency. These two boys know how to adapt to any situation. They know the horrors and reality of life and they know the permanency of death. They may be invisible but I promise they carry their swords and they hold them high.
To try to quantify my growth over the past three years is impossible. The loss of my husband made my already hardened heart both harder and softer at the same time. It assisted me in sharing how I feel and expressing my deepest thoughts with others. It expanded my beliefs and thoughts of others. It increased my empathy and opened my eyes.
It made me appreciate the gift of time; the gift of life.
The three of us are so very thankful for the support, love and encouragement you have provided. I appreciate each person who took the time to follow us on our journey, who picked us up and took time to comment and send us emails. I have decided after much back and forth that it is time to end our family blog. The time simply feels right.
I hope you smile when you see someone driving down the road with something hanging from their car door.
Offer to help the person on the beach lugging two small children on their own.
Be present. Don't be the help that disappears.
Hold on to those you love a little tighter.
Dance in your living room to loud music.
And as my husband said, "Focus on what you do everyday. Give a damn about what you're doing. Stay positive. and remember that you always think there will be more time. There rarely is."
We are so very appreciative of the support. Daniel said in one of his earliest videos that he is fighting and he will continue to fight. Our family that went from four to three, like Daniel, are fighting and we continue to fight. We are warriors. Warriors don't give up and they don't back down. We pick up our swords and shields and fight everyday. We survive. And more importantly we live.
Meet the Author (me)
Driven by a need to help others. I have known from a young age that this is what I wanted to do. This is my very real, somewhat sarcastic, look into my newfound widowhood. I hope this site will help you as much as it helps me.