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