Tonight at dinner the kids and I went around the table and each of us said something good that happened today. We did that, and I love doing that because I always like hearing what they come up with. Then Luke said "now lets go around and say the worst thing that happened today", I said ok and the kids said their things and it got to me. Honestly, I had some pretty shitty things go on today but nothing I was about to tell them about. But as I was sitting there thinking, Luke said "the day that daddy died". He was referencing other conversations in which I have told my kids that that day was the worst day of my life. "That didn't happen today", I said to Luke, "but yes that was the worst thing that has ever happened in my life". Luke followed it up with "But we didn't have a funeral". He says these things in a silly voice that he uses when he wants to talk about something that he feels uncomfortable with.
"Yes we did Luke, you guys were not there". I said. Luke knows that there was a funeral and we have talked about it many, many times. Both of my kids remember the day that I told them their father died surprisingly well. They make comments about the time period...when they came home and their cousins were here and they didn't know they were going to be; the tent that was in the yard; all the people here that they did not know. It was a confusing time for them. It will be interesting if they are able to vocalize their feelings about that time period when they are older, and tell really what it was like for them.
I do not have regrets about anything really during that time. We were all doing our best to get by those first days and the kids were well taken care of and literally surrounded with love. That is all that could be done. There are differing opinions on whether kids should or should not be at funeral services at young ages. I believe that it depends on the children, and I also do not regret that my kids did not go. It was enough for them to be here at my house and have people come here after the funeral.
me: "You remember Luke, mommy spoke about daddy at the funeral to all the people that were there. I talked about how much daddy loved you guys".
Luke: "You talked ahout US?"
Luke: "What did you say?"
Me: "Do you want me to read to you what I said that day?"
Luke and Alyssa: "Yes!"
Both kids were acting a little silly an excited to hear what I said. I went to my computer and printed out a copy of what I said that day. I had not read what I was about to read for well over a year, but at that moment it felt right that the kids wanted to hear it. I brought it back to the kitchen and sat down. I started reading it and the kids listened, kind of fooled around, and they commented on certain parts. When I got almost to the end, there is a part about how much Joe loved to skate. I paused as I remembered the sentences I was about to read and I felt a rush of emotion come over me. Up to this point I had moments where my voice quivered, but I held it together, wanting my kids to focus on what I was saying, and not my emotion. When I got to the skating part the tears flowed out of my eyes and I put my head down.
Alyssa kind of quietly to Luke: She's crying Luke.
Alyssa to me in a sweet voice: "Mommy, daddy wishes he could come back but he can't."
Me: "I know Alyssa." I was hearing the words I've said to her a thousand times, trying to let her know that her daddy loves her and did not leave us by choice. Luke did his "normal" thing that he does when he sees me cry, which is basically to try to be silly and kind of make fun of me. I always stop him and tell him everything is okay, that mommy is fine, that I just cry sometimes because I love daddy so much and I am sad that he is not here with us.
This whole episode prompted a half hour long "discussion" with my kids about their daddy, the accident, various other issues surrounding the tragedy. I say "discussion" because the way these things work is that they say little phrases that to an outsider would probably make no sense but I try to interpret what they mean and what they are talking about, and go from there. I don't know if these conversations are productive or not, if the kids get anything out of them. I just seriously and simply do not know.