Our Story Begins:
Why I Worry…Will Dad Ever Really Be Good Enough?
“Time heals all wounds,” is the famous line. That might actually be, I cannot say for certain. I tend to tell people that the wounds you suffer in loss of a spouse tend to stay. My wife, Andrea, you see, left this world on March 26th of 2011. Nearly two years ago.
It’s not totally disabling. You can certainly fall in love again, even get close to others, but it doesn’t change that there will always be little things that tweak at that old wound. Maybe it will scar over, it might even fade, but like an old farmer rocking on his front porch predicting thunderstorms with a farm wound, you can still feel the twinge.
For me there’s a bigger picture that seems to hover over our lives, one that never seems to go away.
I worry about the future with my kids and what they need.
All four kids have graduations on the horizon; graduations where mom gets a rose and a hug from most kids. Mine won’t. The girls have weddings ahead with no mom to cry in the front row of the ceremony. The boys will likely get married and there will be no mom to walk them into the church. The biggest events of their lives, the ones that stress out every person as they approach, are hard enough. Having that softer, more genteel character nearby to confide in and console you at just the proper moment is amazing. They won’t have that.
Don’t get me wrong, as I said, people fall in love again. Others come in and out of our lives. For my kids, though, it’s still not their mom. It never will be, and I don’t blame them for feeling like they’ve lost that forever, they have.
I’ve already dealt with the teenage version of the hardest events of a young adult’s life. I held my daughter when social isolation made her feel like the new kid in a new school who had no friends. I dealt with my oldest daughter having her boyfriend break up with her . . . just after her Mom’s funeral . . . via text message. Yeah. Classy.
But I cannot say the things I want to say. I cannot get angry or take the neck off my guitar and chase after same said offenders shouting, “How does it feel now?!” while screaming like Bruce Banner’s Hulk, wailing to the heavens. I have to go against my own male nature and listen, trying to figure out how to tell these strong yet delicately balanced psyches in my house that it will be okay. Sometimes I have to tell them that even when I don’t believe it myself.
These kids get a dad . . . a dad who has to try and be mom, too.
That is a balance that stands on a knife’s edge. Sometimes they just want mom. It’s not to be mean, nor is it meant to be angry. They miss their mom and it comes out in “Mom would know what to do.”
So I act like I have the answers, even if sometimes I don’t. I tell them it is okay and that we’re stronger together than when we’re apart. I truly do believe that, though I don’t necessarily think it will fix every situation.
Sometimes, doing nothing and letting them figure it out is the best thing, though it’s the hardest for a dad to understand.
So I worry.
What about you . . . do you worry? What do you worry about with your kids? Are there things your spouse is better equipped to handle, or are you handling it alone, too?
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Dave Manoucheri is a writer and journalist based in Sacramento, California. A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins, is a chronicle of their daily life after the loss of his wife Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan.