Yes, I knew it. Today makes 4 months. Lately I have been hearing his voice in my head a lot-not new words to guide me like I'd like to have, but just memories.
And my daughter has a constant question all of a sudden: "Is daddy really going to be gone forever?"
Despite our faith and spiritual beliefs (that the dead will rise when Jesus returns) all I can tell her is yes. Even though I hate to tell her that, I can't tell her when Jesus is returning, so that is all she has the capability to understand. I told her we will always love him and remember him and keep our memories of him in our hearts.
I'm trying to keep it in perspective. He suffered immensely and so did I. He suffered far more than any person should have to and fought every step of the way. But on Father's day when we visited the grave site for the first time since putting him there, my daughter said, "I didn't get to say good-bye". Yeah, me either.
I told her daddy didn't want to say good-bye (which I figure is accurate since we were all in the house for 3 straight days and he died on the 4th day when we were out of the house). I think saying good-bye might have made him too sad. He would just want you to remember that he loved you.
She's a hard one to figure out. She's a beautiful brilliant loving child who like most 7 year-olds just wants her way most days. She cries for her daddy one day and is trying to set me up with a guy on TV the next. The latest...the man in the Bowflex commercial. Why do we need another man you ask? Here it is...she wants a baby sister. I think even more than that, she feels we are not a real family now-and she isn't alone. Me? No. But that is a popular attitude among people. To me, we are just a different kind of family. I can't function under the notion we are not a real family. I won't.
We both have our most difficult times at night…when the world settles and gets quiet and there's nothing to do but think. It's been at night when she has those crying spells and it's been at night when the image of him sitting there the day I found him creeps into my head and won't leave. It's been at night when I walk by his now silent TV room where the chair he died in still sits facing the door that I am reminded kind of like a kick in the head that the little stinker really isn't coming back.
I think it's time to get rid of the furniture. I've been advised that Salvation army will come and remove it. I guess donating it is what Thomas would have wanted. Only a complete stranger would want that chair considering. I think removing the furniture will allow me to get all of his clothes and shoes in one room to make it easier for the men I've asked to come and get them.
I stopped by a local dry cleaners one day to see if he'd left anything there. I told the lady, "my husband died and I want to make sure he didn't leave anything here." Without a change in her face or voice she asked his name. When I said, "Thomas Dawson" her whole face changed. He eyes widened and her voice cracked…"Oh, no! The mailman?" I answered yes. "Oh God, when?" "March," I said. "Goodness, I’m so sorry." Now he didn't deliver their mail, he only had his clothes and uniforms cleaned there and half the time I dropped them off. It was amazing to me in a city as large as the one we live in that the dry cleaning lady would react that way.
He was a very nice man. I miss him. I don't wish him back-not how he was. I just wish so much that he had not been so sick. I desparately wanted the man from healthier times and he only grew sicker as time went on. I think I mourned that healthier man every day and every night for a long time before March 9th and I'm still mourning that man. No matter how many times I think I hear the key in the door, no matter how many times I see him in my mind's eye, walking in the door, no matter how many times I hear him talking in my mind's ear he really isn't coming back.
So here I am 1/3 of the way through the first year. Progress has been made in some areas and in others I feel I've gone backwards. Paperwork continues to mount while I deal with his affairs as well as mine. We did that long awaited vacation and I'm ready for another one already. We'll have to get away for a weekend or something before the fall break I'm planning. I haven't blogged about each day yet like I planned, but I won't forget it. I won't forget the pride I felt when I turned into our hotel's parking lot after the 3.5 hour drive. I won't forget the bittersweet moments.
I loved being on vacation alone with my children. It was a lot of work not having another adult along, but I preferred it that way. And having the necessary equipment made those bittersweet moments way more sweet than bitter. I remember glancing at the two parent families carrying their things while I made multiple trips back and forth from the hotel room to the van and back, loading our luggage cart with Elijah attached to me in his Snugli (front carrier). I actually had to climb into the back of the van on all fours on the last two trips and as he dangled just a little more secure than a cub being carried in the mother's teeth, he grabbed a handful of my shirt and gave me a real "I hope you know what you're doing," look. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I laughed. I remember being at the science museum and all the times during the day I heard a young boy yell, "daddy look at this!" At a certain point, I realized I'd never hear my son say that. But I did hear my daughter say at the end of the day, "That place was awesome, mom…you da bom!" I'll take that.
My son…my darling son. I cannot forget. He is 6 months old today. Oh how I adore him. Every month on this day I have told him that I'm sorry, that this wasn't my plan, but I know God still has one for us and that I love him and his sister more than life. He takes my arm in both his tiny hands as if he actually understands. He is starting to show love in return and it has been amazing to watch him grow and change…the sly smile he has when a woman plays with him, how he will ramble in a soft voice as he plays, how he will grab my face and touch his nose to mine, how he smiles at the very mention of his sister's name or the sight of her face, how he splashes as I bathe him in the kitchen sink. Do I think ahead to the day when he wants to know where HIS daddy is? Yes, I can't help but think about it on occasion, but I choose to put my energy into making sure he feels his mother's love for him everyday. Right now, he's the only one not asking me any questions. The only things he demands of me are food in his stomach, a dry diaper on his butt and some time on my hip. and I figure I better enjoy it while I can.