Tonight my kids had a short meeting each for their counseling groups they will be attending in the coming months. In Alyssa's group of 4-year-olds there will be 6 kids that lost a parent. In Luke's group of 7-9 year-olds there are 8 kids with various losses.
I went in with each of them separately for their meeting. I can't quite describe what it is like to sit in a chair next to your 4-year-old daughter and hear her say her daddy died in a motorcycle accident. The little body, the little face, the sweet young voice.
The terrible words.
I have been struggling lately for several different reasons I think. I don't need anything specifically. I am just finding myself to be very angry with my husband. It is something that I hesitate to write about here because I know many of you knew and love him very much. And so do I. But what is different from me and you is that I was his wife (a role that commands various degrees of respect from people). And I am doing the work that he left behind. You are not. Only I see the pictures my kids bring home of three people in our family and have it rip my heart out every time. Only I have conversations with them over and over about how their daddy died, about death in general and about when others will die. Only I bare the responsibility of taking care of this life that we built together, which is logistically a lot of work. Only I lay awake at night wondering how my children's young minds process death and worry about things like whether they might do something crazy and "in the moment" in order to see their daddy again, not understanding the permanence of death. Only I had to go through his belongings and give them away. Only I am left dealing with probate lawyers and judges and paperwork and doing stupid stuff that could have been avoided had we had a will. I could go on with this list for hours, and trust me, these things are not even close to being the most painful things I deal with. Only I am living this life, which is a tangled web of deep love, yes, for Joe, but a lot of work for me. And not work that I want to do. Not the life that I ever wanted or want to live. It's just not. And it did not have to be this way.
Over and over Joe and I had conversations about how risky it was to be riding a motorcycle. I know he was doing nothing wrong that day. But riding a bike leaves you vulnerable. And he had two young children and a wife. But he chose it anyway.
Look, I am the first person to tell you that I believe that a person should live the life that they want to live. That is why I would never hold Joe back from living and doing something that he loved, like riding his bike. But damn, why did he have to want that? Why couldn't he have looked at me and Luke and Alyssa and decided it wasn't worth it?
If he could have seen his daughter's innocent little face say those words tonight I bet he would have wished he made a different choice. No matter how good riding felt to him, there is nothing worth hearing those words from your child's mouth. But he doesn't have to see her there. Only I do.
And yeah, right now I am pretty pissed about it.