Sunday, October 11, 2015

One of those nights

Nights like tonight make it hard for me to hide my tears as I put my kids to bed.  Hannah Rae walked into my room after we had already said our bedtime prayers and said, “I miss Daddy.” I hugged her and told her what I usually say when this happens; “I miss him too hunny and he misses us.”

This time I followed her back into her room and as I tucked her in, I had to ask the question “what made you think of that?” She randomly started telling me how when she was trying to put this little art project together earlier today she didn’t think she was doing a good job so she crumbled it up.  Okay, I thought, but what does that have to do with you missing daddy, I asked.  Then she told me as if it happens all the time, “because he said I was doing a good job and I didn’t think I was so I crumbled it up. 

L: So you saw daddy today? He was with you when you were making that?
H: Yea, he thought I was doing a good job, but I wasn’t so I crumbled it up.
L: Oh, so he was with you while you were doing that? Well I would listen to daddy then, if he thinks you’re doing a good job, then you probably are and he was encouraging you to not give up.  Do you see him a lot?
H: Yes.
L: When?
H: He watches me.
L: Oh? Where?
H: Yea, when we go into buildings and stuff or go places far away. He saw me when we went to that big building with the fish. Aunt Kathryn and them were there, don’t you remember?
L: The aquarium? (This was years ago btw)
H: Yes!  He saw me there.
L: Does he talk to you?
H: Yes
L: What does he say?
H: He says he loves me and he misses me.

Trying to hide my tears in her dark room, I then explained to her that it was a special gift that she was able to see her daddy. I also mentioned, “hey maybe let me know next time you see him and tell him that I love and miss him too.”

I found it interesting that the phrases she kept using were, “he watches me or he saw me.” She has casually mentioned Joshua being somewhere and interacting with her since the accident on numerous occasions (don't worry I write them all down.) Tonight, she said he watches her to make sure she is okay. Mainly when we go in big buildings or when we travel. She started naming other times/trips she has seen Joshua and said, “he saw me when we went to the mountains to see Trammell's friend and I was riding the bike down the hill.” I was in amazement that she was able to recall a trip from a year ago where she remembered him being there with her. Her memory is so clear and specific about the different times she has seen him.

After I told my mom and dad what had happened at bed time my mom reminded me of the time a week after Joshua’s accident that Hannah Rae was at the kitchen table with my parents and looked into my bedroom and shouted, “daddy!” they were like, “where?!” and Hannah Rae pointed to the bedroom where I was lying in bed and she said, “in there over mommy.” 

Anyways, the night went on with me trying to get the kids to be quiet, get back in bed and go to sleep, but I could hear Hannah Rae crying again. I thought she was scared because that’s usually the case and George had already come into my room multiple times to tell me Hannah Rae was scared that she saw a dark man in the room. I thought nothing of it and told him they should be more scared of me at this point if they don’t go to sleep! So when I heard her crying a few minutes later I came in and she was sitting up in the bed saying “I miss daddy, I want daddy” over and over.  I was thinking, ok she is seriously still thinking about this. She was genuinely unsettled and upset.  So I sat down on the floor and told her I would sit until she fell asleep, but she kept talking. Something was honestly bothering her little mind.

H: I miss daddy, I didn’t get to see him.
L: I know sweetie, yes you did. 
H: But not when he was a baby. (I wasn’t sure what she meant by this. I was trying to understand what she was saying, but she was crying so it was a little difficult)
L: When daddy was a baby? (I think she might have said/meant when SHE was a baby)
H: I only saw him when he was an adult, but not a grandpa.  I didn’t get to see him until he was a grandpa.  You’re not supposed to go to the sky until you’re a grandma or grandpa. (I was amazed she was trying to communicate that Joshua was young and didn’t live as long as you are “supposed” to)
L: I know sweetie.  You were little, but you had almost 2 full years with daddy before he went to heaven.  Sometimes Jesus takes people earlier than we expect.  God must have really wanted daddy so he took him sooner than we wanted. Isn’t it nice that Jesus allows you to see daddy though.  Didn’t you say that you get to see him?
H: Yes but it’s usually when I’m crying.
L: Can you see him now?
H: Yes.
L: Where is he?
Then she pointed to the ceiling above the door. It was quiet. She stopped crying. She kept her focus on the same spot.
L: Is he talking to you?
H: Yes
L: What is he saying?
H: I love you
L: He is telling you he loves you?
H: And you. (such a sweet moment)

At this point I had already crawled in the bed to hold and console her while she cried about her daddy. We both lay there crying and she quickly fell asleep snuggled up to me.
I looked at the spot she pointed to with tears of sadness and anger. Angry because Hannah Rae has to have nights like this. Angry because I really don’t understand it all sometimes. And helpless because I can’t fix the void her and George will forever have in their hearts where their dad is supposed to physically be here on earth for them. I’m on this continuous roller coaster of emotions. Some good days and some bad days. Tonight was one of the bad nights.

The pain I feel for my kids in the absence of their dad breaks my heart more than anything. I tell them things no child should have to be told. I have conversations with a 5 year old that are way beyond her years as she is able to comprehend that you are supposed to go to heaven when you are older, not young like her dad.

They don’t know that their dad was killed in a car accident. They don’t know that they were both in the car too. They don’t ask if he is dead or how he died.  They just know he went to heaven to be with Jesus. Hannah Rae has made only one reference to March 18th, saying “the car broke” and nothing more. I didn’t want to engage that conversation. I have no clue what she thinks happened. No idea if she connects the day her dad died with the day the car broke. One day we will have that difficult conversation. At some point they will learn the details. At 3 and 5 years old, tonight was enough for me to have to handle for a good while.

With all that being said, I actively choose joy every day. Compartmentalize my emotions in order to function on a daily basis and focus on all the positive blessings in my life (I have a lot:)). My family and close friends have heard me say I can’t allow myself to “go there” mentally every day (which would be easy to do) because I have to manage 3 lives, not just one. I am still here and my kids are obviously still here for a reason. Life is a gift and I choose not to waste it. I have learned that I have to keep moving forward, not "move on." Don't ever say that to a widow. Honor and respect my past AND live in the present. As I move forward into my new normal and what my chapter 2 holds I gratefully accept new blessings God is putting in my life.