Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Forever Young .....

.... while I grow older and older.

Saturday was Jim's birthday.
Only, he didn't get a year older.

He died only a few weeks before his birthday.
Six months later .... I became older than he did.

And so it continues.

At first I was angry about that.
Two and a half years later when I hit a rather big birthday ..... I was beyond angry.  I was downright pissed.
Yet one more thing that wasn't fair.

Not only will he be forever young ..... in everyone's mind, especially my children's ..... but he'll also be pretty close to perfect .... in their minds.
I'm the parent who's left.
I'm the one who enforces the rules.
Or rather, the one who tries to enforce the rules.

I'm the one they get angry with when I treat them the same way we both treated them.
I'm the one who sometimes gets treated a whole lot nicer if I give them what they want.
I'm the one who's been accused of abandoning my parenting role while I grieved .... and grieved hard.
I'm the one who's been angrily told that they lost both parents the day Jim died.
Funny ..... but I've been admitting to that for 4 years now.

I'm the one who has wished .... on many an occasion .... that Jim was the parent who was left behind.
I have no doubt that he would've done a much better job.

I wouldn't be the one left to watch our children grow ..... alone.
I wouldn't be the one left to watch them graduate high school, college, grad school, marry (hopefully), have children (hopefully) .... and do all of the other things that two parents normally share .... and celebrate.

And while my days are so much better than they once were, the waves are fewer and farther between, and I am mostly happy ......

There are times, once in a while ..... and probably always will be ..... when I wish that I were remembered as almost perfect ......
And forever young.


  1. Oh I have thought of this too Janine.
    I am older by one year now. I have wondered about the day -should it happen - 3 years from now, when i reach the birthday he was when he died.
    He will always be handsome, younger - vibrant in my mind.
    Once he looked at me - reading the paper with my glasses on and he said "you will always be beautiful to me".
    I never thought of it that way, he will never see me become old. Really old. (If I get there).

    I too think of that with my children, though they are grown, two married, with children. Will I be the parent that will hold all of things for both of us - can I carry that torch into the future. Their childhood memories, their fathers laugh, the way we were together? Will I become older, difficult, sick? I always counted on him being there. Now I am alone.
    I saw how they helped to take care of their father, with so much love. A small part of my mind says "could they also do that for me?"
    I hope so.

    I don't want to be forever young. I just didn't want to get old without him.

    But now, I will.

  2. Great post Janine! I do believe that my husband would be doing the parenting job so much better than I have in the last 22 months. My children absolutely do think in terms of their "perfect" father. And I do wish on certain days that I was the one taken and he was the one still here.

    I very much like what Anon#1 said... "I just didn't want to get old without him". How true!

    Thank you Janine!

  3. thougth i was crying too much to write at all. but i relate to all you wrote janine, and both posters. many days i am sure that he would of been a much better parent than i am-he is forever young and i just keep getting older and meaner as a parent. they call me an old lady that just does not understand. well i understand alright enough- when i say NO there is no dad to back me up or for them to go to behing my back to get the Yes from. less days wishing i was the one gone. Just really would like for him to be here.

  4. Once I said to a good friend "I wish I had been the one to die" - and she said something interesting - "I wouldn't want my husband to be the one left with this pain." I do find some small comfort in that thought.

  5. Amen sister!
    Dave was 3 months older than me, so when he died it hit me quickly when I became older than him. (I always loved to tease him that he was so much older than me!)

    "Not only will he be forever young ..... in everyone's mind, especially my children's ..... but he'll also be pretty close to perfect .... in their minds.
    I'm the parent who's left.
    I'm the one who enforces the rules."
    I know this only too well! Our twenty something son has developed an image of his father being absolutely perfect. I'm happy that he sees him this way, except it really wasn't true. How could it be? Dave was a wonderful man, but nobody's perfect. And truth be told I was the more 'stable' one when it came to dealing with our son. Dave would often get furious at our sons poor decisions etc and I would always talk him down.
    Now I am the sole parent left to deal with our son's continuing poor decisions and bad behavior, and it's me butting heads with him instead of Dave. But he doesn't see it that way at all. I'm just a 'bad mom' and his dad was 'the only person that understood him'. He seriously doesn't remember arguing with his dad!!!

    Man it's tough!

  6. Tom's birthday is tomorrow, January 12th. He should be turning 47 to catch up with me. I am three months and 29 days older than him, but he is now forever 44 and holding. In some ways, I feel I am still holding at 44 as well, that is until I look in the mirror. The mirror tells me I'm not 44 anymore and my children remind me all the time that I'm getting older. I never expected to grow old alone and I never expected to be sole parenting. (I refuse to use the term single parent...I am not single!)

    There have been so many milestones that have happened since Tom died...our middle daughter made us grandparents, I always thought we'd be a grandparent team; our oldest daughter is planning her wedding, there are so many issues with planning a wedding without Dad here to fulfill his role, both financial and physical; and our youngest turned 16 (my biggest sole parenting challenge yet).

    It is so amazing how what would have been the simplest decisions to make as a parent team become the hardest challenges as a sole parent. Tom would have known exactly how to handle our 16 year old son's indifference to school work, requests to go hunting or fishing with his friends for the weekend, or when the time was right for our son to get his get his driver's license. (Before our son turned 16 he and I rarely had any disagreements. That all changed when he had his birthday and now I know nothing and he, of course, knows everything.) I feel like I am floundering and not doing our son justice by being his sole parent. I am not sure I am making the right decisions for him. Some days I am too lenient, other days I'm too strict. It's not fair that our son is left with just me.

    I know that Tom will be forever gray hair, no wrinkles, and no rocking chair on the porch. Not only is he perfect in our children's eyes I know that I, too, have placed Tom on a pedestal even when I remember all his perfect imperfections.