“Momma, if I had to choose which parent I wanted to die, I would have chose for you to die.”
Cool, dude. That’s freaking awesome.
Not exactly the words you want to hear come out of your 8 year old or 5 year old’s mouth. But, I’m ok with it. This is all part of the grieving process for them. They remember their dad as a Superhero & I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“He’s stronger than you mom, so he could protect us better. He always did fun stuff with us. He would never date anyone if you had died, ever again. He’s the Best cuddler. He used to have epic Nerf battles with us & you don’t like Nerf wars that much, mom. We always had fun with him. Plus, he let us sleep with him a lot more than you do, mom.”
This is exactly how I want my boys to remember their dad. There were so many situations they witnessed and words they heard him say that they could remember about him, but they choose all the happy. All the love. That makes me smile, even if it means I am the not fun one, I am the one who “always is cleaning”, the one who hates Nerf wars and never lets them sleep in my bed on school nights.
When you lose someone close to you, you grieve. You tend to remember most of the good and dismiss the bad. It helps and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. They are gone, but we are still here and if forgetting all of the heartbreak and choosing to highlight the happy helps you move on, do it.
When you watch your children lose their other parent it is a special kind of heartbreak. A kind I wish on no one ever. You know that feeling you get when something bad happens to your kid and you can’t do anything to make it better? Times that by a million and you’re still not even close to the pain you feel for your child. Helpless, alone, clueless. If this is you, I’m sorry and you are not alone.
People tell me it’s not personal when my kids say they wish it had been me that died and not their dad. I know this, of course. It’s part of their grieving process. Adults have issues with all of the what-ifs after an unexpected death and I have found children go a little more down the what-if rabbit hole than we let ourselves as adults. Still, it’s extremely difficult to hear your kid say that to you. Especially when you are having a lackaday and beating yourself up because dad would have gotten them to bed on time (apparently by letting them sleep with him) & they would listen to dad, but will not listen to you.
Grieving children on top of a bad grieving day for you is the recipe for an awful, emotional night. I choose to set aside my grief when they are sharing theirs with me. I choose to listen. I choose to listen and not react how I am feeling inside. Instead, I tell them I understand, I tell them I love them, I tuck them in and put them to bed. Then, I can take time to deal with me. I cry. I cry some more. Last night, I got mad, which is new for me.
“First he goes and dies on me leaving me to do ALL of the things for these kids alone and NOW they throw salt on the wound by telling me they wish it were me and not him?!” This isn’t fair. This is bullshit.
I cry more. I get more mad because I hate crying and it makes me mad when I cry and I cry when I get mad, so I cry more. Eventually, I reach out to someone and tell them I’m having a bad night. They let me vent. They offer advice if the conversation warrants it. If not, they are just there, listening. I am so thankful for that. It’s really trippy to sit there grieving about your dead husband as well as your children’s father (same person, 2 different grieving processes. I know, right?) wondering “Who the hell can I talk to about this? Who can I burden with this kind of problem I find myself in?” It seems impossible that anyone would be willing to deal with this, but I am lucky to have a few people I can reach out to and I did. (Thank you)
There’s no wrong way to grieve. You do you, boo.
Let the kids grieve. Be there for them. Listen to them without judgment no matter what. They need to become happy, healthy, kind humans. Children are the future.
Lastly, if you are a grieving Widow(er)/Parent, YOU’VE GOT THIS.
MAKE GOOD CHOICES.
~Love & Light, Sarah