Our Story Begins
Waiting for them to Catch Up
There’s something about grief and loss that I have mentioned before, but it feels apt to mention it again.
Everyone grieves differently. Everyone grieves at their own rate. Just because you have reached one milestone doesn’t mean that your relatives, friends or children have done the same. I learned that lesson the hard way on more than one occasion.
My son has had a number of issues to contend with since losing his mother in 2011. We’re on year three. In year one he couldn’t handle the pitying looks and the way people treated him differently because he’d lost his mother. He acted out. He got in fights. I spent a long time in the principal’s office. By year two, however, he had improved, greatly. Unfortunately, being in the same school, he was now marked. Any issue that occurred, any fight or uproar that happened and my son was immediately suspect because of past history. Because my oldest daughter went to college that fall I had to move him and his twin brother to the public school so they could take the bus home.
That move turned out to be a great one. It was a new start. But it was also a big change in a year of big changes. My kids had lost their mother and now their older sister had moved out of state. We’d suffered the loss of their grandparents, my wife’s Mom and Dad.
But on the anniversary of my wife’s passing I noticed that, either by necessity or by daily grind or routine or maybe it’s from writing here, sometimes you have to wait for the others in your party to catch up with you on life’s road.
When I showed interest in a woman one of my children had a major meltdown. When I put our annual anniversary together my son asked who women in the video were in our photos, with a look of quiet disdain on his face.
But I slowly brought them into the conversation. I didn’t force change on them, I haven’t gone on a ton of dates. I haven’t brought anyone home. There’s no revolving door at my home, it’s selective thought.
But during the evening of my anniversary I watched a movie with my oldest daughter and she quietly broke down during the parts where things were sad. Where so much of the day was mundane it was the late evening, with her siblings up in bed, that she felt the weight of the day’s significance weighing on her.
Here is where I realized that my daughter is where I was about a year ago, maybe more. She’s facing the grief at those small, dark moments where things are not active and moving. The road is long and the journey is the biggest part. But moving forward you all have a different gate and stride. Mine is longer. I’ve faced the dark evenings for a longer time. I’ve come to terms with loss and love . . . but it’s also my job to help them face that as well.
So I wait, until they catch up. Standing on the road as I see their outline on the path behind me . . . and when they catch up, we’ll walk together again.