Thursday, August 29, 2013

Untouchable

The other day, my 2 1/2 year old found one of Jeremy's mementos - an autographed baseball still in the box. I had it in one of the boys top drawers to keep so that they might have it one day when they get older.

Naturally, he wanted to play with it. He took it out of the cardboard box, unwrapped the tissue paper around it, and started throwing it around the house. As soon as I realized what he was doing I gently put it away and told him he couldn't play with that particular ball because it was daddy's and it was special.

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Later that afternoon, when the rest of the kids came home from school, my 6 year old son found it (apparently I didn't do a good job of putting it away) and was playing with it in his room. A very devastated toddler came crying down the stairs yelling "Cayub can't pay wif da ball....it's daddy's!" I called Caleb down and explained to him that it was special not only because it was daddy's, but also because it was autographed and might be worth something one day and we needed to keep it nice. My two year old chimed in, eyes still brimming with offended tears "It's so so special...you can't touch it!" He continued to repeat that it was daddy's over and over.

It occurred to me that Carter was genuinely upset, and I wondered suddenly if I had put too much pressure on him to keep all things 'daddy' sacred. This little man, who never got to meet his daddy, has only connections with him through stories and pictures. It is my mission to make sure Carter grows up to know his daddy, even if he never got to meet him face to face. But I never realized that I could potentially "over-do it" in that everything daddy-related was sacred and untouchable. He seemed so upset by the thought of ruining something that was daddy's.

At the same time, my heart leaped to see how much he respected what was Jeremy's and understood, even at such a young age, that his daddy was something special. I want to make sure that Jer is remembered as something real, and not just an idea or something he has to walk on eggshells about. But how can you really do that with a child who has no tangible memories of his daddy, only the aftermath of everyone else's memories?

I don't know the right answer, but I am pretty sure there isn't one. Hopefully, the tender heart of my 2 year old will grow up knowing that someone very special loved him more than life before he even came into this world. The rest I'm just making up as I go along....kind of like parenting, in general. Now that I think of it, kind of like life.

4 comments:

  1. Vee, that is so beautiful. I can understand every part of it. The wanting to protect and shield everything from your husband and their father and keep it sacred - because it is, and still to let them be connected to him - because they should be. Parenting at any time is a nightmare - I have 4 kids 8-13 yrs and my new husband died 11 weeks ago. i know the trials and tribulations of paretning and Im sure I am failing in huge ways as well as doing a pretty good job on the whole. Have faith in yourself and your decisions. They will be right in the end. Hugs to you. S x

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  2. I struggle with what I have deemed as the "untouchables" of my husbands. I was able to live open handedly with his clothes and a few other things and shared them soon after his death. But there are plenty of other things - I almost view them as the "everyday" things - his Franklin Planner; his bike; a step stool he bought for me and actually ANYTHING he bought for me or did for me, like the shelf he hung up......so much has his fingerprints on it. Difficult! I was able to part with his iPad that he actually won in a radio contest only because my son could use it in his job and I truly felt deeply in my heart that my Martin (my husband) would be the first one in line to share that which was his - he would want our son to have it to use it to bring it back to life like it was meant to be, so I gave it to him and still feel good about it. Death can steal so much and cause so many things to die, including parts of myself and our kids. But sometimes I am able to rise above that and shout NO WAY, you are not stealing this too.......and then march forward in a life giving direction. For me, I am realizing and have realized that now (30 months), the best way to honor my Martin is to go on living life to the full, just like he did. I don't always do it well or easily, but it my true north for the direction I am to take. He frequently said in life and now to my heart in his absence, "Stay the course Mary".

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  3. I'm new here but after reading your story I will be sticking around I think. Lost my husband in July 2012, I have a 2 1/2 and a 5 year old. My daughter doesn't rember her dad but my son does and misses him so much, as is expected. It's time that I accept the widow label and move forward. Thank you for sharing your journeys. Family and friends have been great but none of them really understands exactly what this journey is like. Thank you

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