Without Dad-One Year Later

Welcome to the December 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Change . . .

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about life changes.

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It's been a little over a year since the death of my husband. I look back and at times it feels like it was yesterday he was here with us, wrestling the children, wrapping his arms around me in a big hug after work. Then on the other hand, this seems like the longest year in history. Each morning being harder to start without him, I have to give myself a pep talk before swinging my feet out of the bed. After Bella died, people would comment on how strong I was. I didn't have much of a choice to tell you the truth. It's the same with Ian's death, I'm stronger than I never wanted to be. I have two children that need my constant attention and care, so it's quite necessary to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I'm so thankful for them in my life. Though I feel they are not getting 100% of their mom, I'm doing my best. At times my best might not seem like much, but it's all I've got. My kids see me cry and we talk about their sister and their dad a lot, I don't want those memories lost. A few things I've learned about myself over this last year. I really LOVED being married, being a wife. I'm afraid I took it for granted for the 15 years we were together. I had a really incredible husband, and I'm not sure I always expressed to him how amazing he was as a husband and father. Often if I complained about something in my life, he would say how much we had to be grateful for. He really kept me balanced and appreciative. I try to remember that and often hear his voice telling me to be grateful and happy for having my two healthy children with me. I hate the word widow. Widow conjures up images of bent over ladies in tiny villages wearing scarves around their heads and wearing black everyday. I remember in Portugal asking why all of the little old ladies would be dressed in black. I learned after their husband dies, many of them stay in mourning for the rest of their lives and show this by wearing black everyday. That's not me. I don't consider myself a little old lady in any respect, I just need a different word,just not widow. I do not take pride in being a single mom. In fact, I hate it. I do not like being the only parent. It is so INCREDIBLY HARD! No offense to all of the hard working single moms out there that are rocking it. That's just not me. I loved having the support of my husband for home schooling, for everyday decisions and for talking to at the end of a rough day. I have not found my single-mom groove yet. Though I like the double-parent title better, I still don't take pride in the fact that I'm doing it alone. I feel like I was a much better mom when, I had a supportive husband around. My whole support system is gone so I feel like I'm dangling off the ledge at this single parent gig. I am living in chaos most of the time. You would think a year would be ample time to have got things organized after the death of your husband.Oh no, this is not correct. I am shocked at how disorganized and chaotic things still are in our lives. The tedious amounts of paperwork and the overwhelming amount of things that I've had to ignore just to focus on my priorities is ridiculous! Because of losing our daughter several years ago, I thought I was on top of things as far as paperwork goes. No, no,no. I beg each of you that is reading this to take the time to talk with your spouse and make some lists and get things organized now, before it is too late. I recommend the site www.getyourshittogether.org She has simple checklists and forms that will be sanity savers when/if something traumatic happens to your family. And for goodness sake, please have a place where you can find passwords for important accounts, etc in case one of you dies. I now have it a priority to get myself organized for my children's sake. On a positive note, this year the kids and I have had a lot of quality time together. We've taken adventures together camping, visiting family and friends, and going to conventions. It's made us pretty tight knit. So even if I am having a bad day and I lose it, I am able to talk to the kids about it and tell them what I'm feeling and apologize. I have learned to do things I never thought I would need to do, like start campfires and clean fish tanks ( I still call my brother to help with the mouse traps ;-) ). Little by little I see us making progress as a family, moving on to our new life ahead of us.I do feel excited about our new adventures that lie ahead so that makes me happy. I hope to be able to move on with a positive attitude, though that may not be my first inclination. Sharing with my children that despite all of the awful things that has happened in our life, we can still chose to be happy. We have hope, and it's a true blessing. I hope to introduce them to new adventures and continue to travel with them to new and exciting places. This year we hope to get their passports in order and be able to travel out of the country. I am excited about our new learning possibilities and all that is out there waiting for us... as long as I can keep swinging my feet out of the bed.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon December 10 with all the carnival links.)

  • Mature StudentAmber Strocel is embarking on a new adventure in 2014, by returning to a space in her life she thought she'd left behind - that of being a university student.
  • And then there were four — Jillian at Mommyhood learned how quickly love can grow when welcoming a second child to the family.
  • Handling Change As A Mother (And Why That Takes Things To A Different Level) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she helps her young daughter navigate change and why it is so important, as a mother, to gauge her own reactions to change.
  • Without Dad-One Year Later — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how her life has changed one year after losing her husband suddenly.
  • Family Ties — Lori at TEACH through Love realized that her most significant, most painful wound paved the way for her to share her greatest gift.
  • Rootless — After Dionna @ Code Name: Mama's parents packed up their home and moved to Florida this fall, she is feeling rootless and restless.
  • A Letter to My Mama Self in the Swirl of Change — Sheila Pai of A Living Family shares a letter she wrote to herself to capture and remember the incredible changes from the year, and invites you to do the same and share!
  • Junctionssustainablemum explains how her family has dealt with a complete change of direction this year.
  • Planning, Parenting, and Perfection — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook explains how most of the plans she made for her adult life have worked out differently than she planned, but she's ended up getting a lot of what she really wanted.
  • Why First Grade Means Growing Up... for Both Me and My Daughter — Donna at Eco-Mothering discovers that her daughter's transition into first grade is harder as a parent.
  • First Year of Mothering — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot reflects on the quiet change that took her by surprise this year.
  • Building the Community YOu Desire — A recent move has Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children working toward setting up a new support network.
  • Slowing down in 2013 — A car fire and a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome made 2013 a very different year than the one Crunchy Con Mommy and family were expecting!
  • The Seven Year Cycle — After 7 intense years of baking, birthing and breastfeeding 6 kids, Zoie at TouchstoneZ wonders, "Will I be enough for what comes next?"
  • Rebirth — Kellie of Our Mindful Life has found that each of her births leaves her a different person.
  • When a Hobby Becomes a Business — This year, new doors opened for That Mama Gretchen's hobby of writing and blogging - it has turned into a side business. She's sharing a bit about her journey and some helpful tips in case you're interested in following the same path.
  • 5 Tips for Embracing a Big Change in Your Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about a big change in her family and shares tips that have always helped her family embrace changes.
  • Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes — Ana at Panda & Ananaso ruminates on how having a child changed her priorities.
  • Homeostasis — Lauren at Hobo Mama is finding that even as elements shift in her life — in cosleeping, homeschooling, breastfeeding, & more — they mostly remain very familiar.
  • Sally go round the sun — A new baby brings joy and unexpected sadness for Douglas at Friendly Encounters, as she is diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
  • Embrace it — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen muses about the changes in her family this year and how she can embrace them . . . as best she can anyway.
  • Big Change; Seamless but Big — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how one of the biggest changes of her life was also a seamless transition.
  • Celebrating Change — Change feeds Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep's soul. And all the work that seemed like monotonous nothingness finally pays off in a clear way.

9 comments

Erica, just wanting to send some more virtual hugs your way. I can't imagine how stressful and heartbreaking this past year and your losses of Ian & Bella have been for you and your family. I'm not at all surprised a year hasn't been enough to get your feet firmly under you again, but I hope that time is coming soon — not that you'll move on, of course, but that you'll feel a little more balanced.

I'm visiting the site you recommended now and going over in my head the safeguards I currently have in place for my trusted people to access passwords, account numbers, etc., and wondering what needs to be updated.

Thanks for sharing honestly as always.

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Whew. That is so much. I'm just in awe of how strong you have *appeared*, even if you don't feel it. I hope that you have a strong support system there - I wish I lived closer so I could come hang out while you took care of paperwork or did something else practical. I can only imagine the shock, even after a year or so, of taking everything on alone. My thoughts are with you!!
~Dionna @ www.CodeNameMama.com

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Thank you so much for the important reminder about having things in order. My father passed away when I was 16, so I've made it a priority to have an updated will, be clear on bank account information, and so on. However, in reading this, it occurs to me that there are a number of areas I've let slide. It's easy to put things off, but nothing is certain in life, and taking the time to be organized is just good sense.

On the single mom front, my parents were divorced before my father died and I was raised by a single mom. I'm pretty sure she frequently felt overwhelmed and worried that my sister and I weren't getting as much of her as we would otherwise. I know that our life was a little more chaotic than some of my peers. However, as an adult I wouldn't change a thing. I actually look back on parts of it all very fondly. The odds are good that your kids will also have happier memories of these times than you do. This is what I tell myself, anyway, when things aren't going well for me.

I'm sending lots of good thoughts your way.

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Hang in there!

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I cannot begin to imagine what the last year has been like for you. My dh works away a lot and I find it hard when he is not around but I always have that light at the end of the tunnel that he is going to return. Thank you for sharing a wonderful heartfelt post :)

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I don't think a year is long at all. Hope you continue to be gentle with yourself through this healing. sending you peace. -Lori

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Feeling a small part of your pain made this very hard to read. Your determination to keep swinging your feet out of bed in the morning, look for positives and do the best for your family is inspiring. I am so sorry for your loss.

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Just keep swinging...

My heart goes out to you and I know we haven't chatted a lot, but every so often I just think of you and hope you & yours are doing well. My heart broke for your family that day... the rest of us can only try to imagine. I had a hard enough time being the one to tell my daughter that her father passed. I felt kind of lucky that we were divorced so it wasn't quite so devastating for me, personally.

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Your title alone took my breath away. In a year from now, I'll be saying many of the same things about my mom. I couldn't believe it's been a year for you. I remember when it all happened (on NPN) and my mom had just been diagnosed. I can't get my head around the fact that that was more than a year ago. A blink, barely. I hope to sound as strong as you do now, a year from now. Much love to you.

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