Daddy and Jack

Daddy and Jack
"A father holds his children's hands for just a while...their hearts forever."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Can We Call Him?

Yesterday, while meeting with my grief counselor, we talked about the difficulty of managing the loss of a parent at the young age of two. It puts an incredible burden on the surviving parent to do one of two things: buck up, and move on as if this terrible tragedy is something likened to a bad dream that must be put out of our minds, or far more painful, continue to keep the missing parent present in both thought and memory with stories, pictures, and familiar objects that, to a toddler, will create memories that would otherwise be forgotten with the passage of time. I choose the latter.

This morning, as we were putting on Jack's raincoat and getting ready to take him to Sandra's house (his pre-school/daycare), while in the middle of our second verse of "rain, rain go away," Jack blurted out, "Where is my daddy?" almost as if he was no longer satisfied with my pseudo explanations, to date, and he wanted more from me. Like his father, Jack is one smart cookie. He walked at 10 months, spoke in full, grammatically correct sentences at 14 months and he doesn't miss much. Throughout Tom's illness, there were periods of time where Tom was hospitalized during his bone marrow transplants, or a serious episode of pneumonia, where Jack was unable to see his daddy for several weeks, but they ALWAYS talked on the phone, every day... Somehow, in Jack's mind, five weeks has been long enough! If he can't see his daddy, he at least wants to talk to him! I picked him up in his fireman coat, sat him on the counter, took both of his little hands in mine and looked him in the eyes saying, "Jack, remember, your daddy was very sick and his body stopped working. Daddy died, but he loves you very much and we will remember him in our hearts." To this, he replies, "Can we call him?" This is going to be a long road.

God, give me grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next


Monday, March 28, 2011

Three Minus One

How do you tell a two-year-old that his daddy isn't coming home anymore? I vividly recall the day that my 33-year-old husband, Tom, was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia ~ November 6, 2009. That terrible, unforgettable evening, after a long, 14 hour stay in the hospital, I returned to our home and awoke our sleeping 13-month-old son, Jack, from his crib, in the wee hours of the morning, just to hold him. While we sat and rocked in the comfort of his rocking chair, he slept soundly and I cried. I cried at the thought that this day might come. I cried at the idea of a home without the familiar and reassuring love of a husband and father and I cried at the reality of the journey we embarked upon that day...our lives would never, ever be the same. It has been one month since we said goodbye to daddy. Four weeks, five days, one hour and 23 minutes to be precise. It seems, at once, a brief moment and a painful eternity. I think the worst part of this is having to replay this painful reality over and over, every day for Jack, the Eternal Optimist. For every sound and logical reason I give for why daddy is not coming home, Jack has an affirmative retort. If I say, "Daddy was very sick and his body stopped working" Jack will reply, "We will get him a NEW one!" If I say, "Daddy is not coming home anymore" He exclaims, "We will wait for him..." It breaks my heart and yet, to have faith like that of a child is so precious. Yes, Jack, we WILL wait for him. We will see him again. For now, sweet boy, it's just you and me.