Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fear Not

Pallas is on the phone with my mom.

“Well we talk about things like regret.

Like if I had to do it over, I would be nicer to my dad.” she explains what they discuss in her kids support group.

“Mom” says Langston who is in my doorway. It’s 10:47. I was asleep.

“I have a confession. Well it’s not a confession, its….”

I pause, while the mom voices chatter with worry, concern and dread.

“I wish I had spent more time with Dad the second time he was sick. It’s just I didn’t know he was going to die. I regret not taking the time.”

Regret. Their regret. My children’s regret. I hadn’t realized regret was, in my mind, an adult emotion. It feels odd to hear it coming from the mouths of a 13 and 10 year old.

“Do you know what one of my fondest sick memories of him is?” Langston continues. Memories. They all have their own distinct memories of him, his voice, his smile and his essence. Memories that are not mine to give to them, but their very own.

A few weeks early, when I have officially told them I want to date, the topic turns to marriage and step dads.

Langston says, “I will never call anyone Dad anything. I’ve already had a dad.” He says it calmly and with force, the emphasis is on anyone. I sigh. To be so sure at 13!

“Is he tall and white?” Ezra wants to know about the man I am going out with tonight.

“Why does it matter?” I ask

“Because I think it’s best that he at least be a little like Daddy, the man you loved.”

I grin.

There was a time when I worried, feared that they, my three children would drown under the weight of having no father. Instead, they have taken it in, mulled it around and have devised their own new normal.

Which reminds me of a saying.

But for the grace of God go …..they.

Fear not, they will be Okay


  1. I have encouraged my two late teenaged daughter's to talk about their dad, but they do so very little. I asked them if they would like to go to a support group, but they declined. I sometimes get some comments about how they are feeling. Like you I often wonder how they will really come to deal with their loss. Yes, they will be OK, but as someone who lost my mom at a young age, their will be priviotal moments when they will really miss him- I know this is when I want to make sure I am there for them.

  2. Your words are comforting because I have had some of the same conversations with my son recently. He too regrets not spending enough time with my late husband.
    I have four children and it is interesting seeing their own waves of grief and memories that pop up on different occasions. Then with my 4 year old, there is the lack of memories. She grieves that she does not remember Bob because she was just a baby. One would think that she would not have the same heartache because she does not remember, but she does...
    I wish so much that I could take the pain away for them but I know they have to process it in order to move forward themselves....

  3. Someone once asked me what the hardest part of Art dying was. I corrected them because it is no where near past tense. There are two for me. 1. Understanding in those long moments that he truly is not coming back. 2. Watching my kids grieve. To see someone in that much pain and to be powerless to diminish, remove or make it go away has humbled me like nothing else. In those moments, I know time will let the pain subside, but man, those seconds last light-years long when I am in it,holding them, helplessly.