Wednesday, August 14, 2013

When One Door Closes ......


...... it sometimes slams right in your face.
Some doors are like that.  They suddenly slam shut with so much force that you're knocked backwards.
The door on my "before" life shut like that.

Other doors close very slowly.  You can tell that they're closing, but it's such a slow process that you can't actually see the movement.
But you know it's coming.

My youngest child is heading off to college tomorrow.  We're both making the day long drive and then moving him in on Friday.
And as I drive away, leaving him behind, another door will close.

I've seen it coming.  I've been aware.
But that doesn't make it any easier.
This is the child who's been with the "after" me the most.
This is the child who was with Jim the least.
It's been a tough road.
To say the least.

I'm sure that all of my children have felt cheated by their father's death.
More than once.
As have I.
Many, many times more than once.
But this child ...... this child was cheated the most.

He didn't learn some of the lessons about being a good man ...... that come only by living with one.
He didn't get the chance to have any teenage "heart to heart" talks with his dad.
He didn't experience the calmness that Jim gave during turbulent times.
He's the child who missed the most.

But in spite of all that ...... and maybe because of it ...... we've come to this door.
We've made it.
He's made it.
There were many times when I thought he wouldn't.
And there were many times when I thought I wouldn't.

He still has lessons to learn.
He still has growing to do.
He will still become a good man.
Because of who his father was ...... not how much time he didn't get.
Maybe one day he'll be a better father ...... because of what he missed.
And perhaps he'll be more generous with his time ...... because he felt cheated the most.

It's time for him to walk through the door ...... and on to his "after".
We parented him ...... and his siblings ...... the best that we could ...... while we could.
And while I have no doubt that my heart will ache as I drive away, I will also feel excited for him.
And for all he's about to experience.

This isn't a door that will slam shut permanently.
The parenting door seems to open periodically through the years.
And I'm ok with that ...... because I really don't need another one slammed in my face.


  1. 2 years ago I drove away from the college dorm of my youngest son, feeling so proud of him and myself because, like you, we made it that far on our own, without his dad. Wow, the emotions that were going on in me that day! I have to tell you that I "felt" my husband's presence very strong during the whole day. I just knew he was with us and was as happy and proud as I was. What a day! Congratulations!

  2. Janine, I can't imagine how hard this trip will be without Jim by your side. I packed up two kids and shipped them off to college but I was fortunate to have my husband at my side. What does suck, however, is that my son, after struggling through college, was two months from graduation when his father died suddenly of a stroke. My son couldn't muster the emotional energy to walk across the stage without his dad. That door did shut and it will never open again. My son was cheated just like your kids and all the other kids who have had to go through significant events in their lives without their DADs.

    Thank you for sharing and good luck to you and your son!

  3. This really hit home for me. I was crying reading your post. All my kids are definitely cheated but especially my youngest who was only a year old when he died. I just think of all they will miss out on having their dad here. It just make me so sad.

  4. beautiful, just beautiful. Should have come with a "have tissues ready" warning!!! Really hit home as I have been feeling so much of the same with packing mine up for college. They have been cheated of so much - so much Daddy they should have had- and so much of "before" Mommy as well. Thanks for sharing. Wishing Son #3 all the best as he moves on to college. And sending you lots of love!!!

  5. Wonderful post, Janine. I can always relate well to what's going on in your life. We buried my husband on August 4, 2009 and 2 weeks later I drove my youngest son to college. Like yours, he had been really gypped. He was 14 years old when his Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. Michael lived for 4 years and he died 7 weeks after this son's HS graduation. He had the least "teenage" time with his Dad. He was at that age of being at odds with both of us and then Michael was gone. I still worry the most about this son. He's the one who talks about his father the least and I think that he harbors some guilt over his teenage antics that upset his Dad when he was so sick. But you have comforted me in your theory that maybe one day he'll be a better father BECAUSE of what he missed! Well, 4 years have flown by and he graduated from college this past May. As I sat there and watched him get his diploma another door slapped me right in the face! Have a safe trip!

  6. Oh Janine...this makes me cry. My youngest daughter was 3.5 when my husband passed away. She has memories of him, and we talk about him often, but he is missing EVERYTHING about her life. I'm remarried now, and my husband now is her daddy...she even calls him that. She is almost 8 years old now and has known my husband for two years, and he will be the only father she ever really has. That breaks my heart so much...she was so young when barry passed away. I know exactly how you are feeling because I will feel the same way when she goes off to college in 11 years. :(

  7. I just love how you ended the opener that was the post's title. Yes indeed.