You walked in the door, and I could immediately see the tears in your eyes and the defeated look on your face.
“Hey sweetie, how was your day?” I asked tentatively.
“Not good.” It came out softly. A stray tear rolled down your freckled cheek. I frowned, and motioned for you to sit beside me. We got comfortable together on a leather chair, and then I cautiously asked you what happened.
The past four years, I have tried to let this part of October slip by unnoticed by you and your siblings. Unlike our other “Daddy Days,” today, and the five days following aren’t days we celebrate.
But you are old enough now to figure it out on your own. You know. Today is the day that your Dad left you. He said goodbye when he dropped you off at school. He told you to have a good day, and told you that he wanted to hear all about it when you got home. That was the last thing you ever heard him say.
You tell me that you can’t stop thinking about it. You tried to act normal during class, but memories kept replaying in your head, until it all became too much. You put your head down on your desk to hide the hot tears that unwillingly came to the surface. A girl sitting next to you noticed. You tried to hide it, but she can tell that you are crying.
“What’s wrong with you? Why are you crying?” she asks you.
“Oh, nothing.” You reply, your head still down. “I…um…I just miss my Dad.”
You don’t open up about your Dad often. Most of the time, even your closest friends don’t know that your Dad passed away.
The girl beside you rolled her eyes.
“WHY. You will see him after school.” No.
“So he’s at work then. It’s FINE. You will see him soon.” No.
“Where is he then?!? EVERYONE knows where their Dad is. Everyone. Seriously. Stop crying.”
I could tell how much those words hurt to say. You sob as you say them aloud.
I hugged you tight and fought my own anger. Kids can be cruel. It has happened a few times over the past few years. Kids have teased you, thought you were lying, or responded inappropriately when you have told them. I remind myself that this girl has no idea the kind of pain you were/are dealing with.
I asked you to tell me again what it was like for you, four years ago. You started at the beginning. Your sweet six-year-old perspective has become a bit foggy over time. You have forgotten some of the details. But overall, you still remember so much.
As always, when I listen to you talk about your side of the story, it breaks my heart. And I am consumed with worry. Am I talking about your Dad enough? Am I helping you grieve in a healthy way? How will such a devastating loss effect you long term. Are you absorbing the things we are teaching you about the gospel? Was I so consumed with my own grief that I pushed yours away at times? Do you feel safe and loved? What will you remember about all of this when you are older? Will you know that I tried my hardest? Will you be an empathetic and kind adult? Will you make good choices? Will you be ok?
I pray for you every. single. day. My greatest fear, is that I will fail you. Parenting is stressful at the best of times, and I feel the extra weight of parenting a grieving child. I pray that I will be enough of a mother for you. I pray that you will be happy and that you will know how much you are loved.
Because, I love you more than you could possibly know. You are my baby girl, and I will love you forever.
You are brave. You are strong. You are beautiful on the inside and out. Your Dad must be so so proud of you.
I’m sorry today that was hard. It was hard for me too. October will be over soon. ❤