My younger one was 3.5 months when she lost her father. She holds no memories of her daddy and never asks questions or brings him up. She is a happy, well-adjusted, smart, and lovable four years old. She just also happens to be a kid who’s dad died way too young. Truth be told, I don’t worry about my younger one nearly as much as I do my older daughter, because she was a little older and seems to have a harder time with her loss.
This all changed recently.
As we drove to a trip to Pondicherry my little lady piped up from playing on the beach and said:
“Mommy, I miss my daddy.”
Just like that, out of the random blue, and like a sword, through my heart, she uttered those words that rendered me utterly speechless. Through quiet tears and a cracked-voiced, I just responded…
“I know buddy, and I miss him too.”
We continued to talk about HIM, and as the questions poured out of her, I could see by the expression on her little face that it was all soaking in. She continued to probe until she was done and the subject changed just as quickly as it had come up in the first place.
I dropped my happy go lucky little girl from my hand, and she ran off laughing and smiling like she always does. However, I was left reeling and feeling a pain that has become all too familiar in the past four years. Through quiet reflection and lots of deep breaths, I came to a straightforward conclusion.
I can’t fix this.
There is nothing I can do to give my children their father back. There is nothing I can do to give them their innocence lost or security they may have had in their invincible parents back. Death stole these things from them, and I am incapable of fixing that reality.
My kids know loss.
My kids know death.
My kids miss their dad. Period.
End of story. End of discussion.
Or is it?
What my children also know is resiliency.
They know that life is made up of choices and that when all seems lost, we can still make the choices in this life to be and do more. They know from a tender age that bad things happen, but that buoyancy can help to carry them through very dark days. They have learned that why we may never move ON, we can move forward in a new and different path.
My children know love.
They know that people die, but even in death we still can love them beyond this world. They know that the people who remain in their present life love them deeply and care for their happiness. They know that community matters, choices matter, LIFE matters.
My children know joy.
We practice happiness in our house because we have known the worst sadness possible. We grasp at the good and practice counting the blessing that surrounds us daily.
I can’t fix what has happened in our lives.
All I can do is continue to live, answer the hard questions when they come up, and show my babies why we all deserve to live a beautiful life.