• 11Jan

    I wanted to do something with the kids for Dan’s birthday and they have been bugging me about making some cards so I thought that maybe I would combine the two.  So, the other night we sat down to make some birthday cards for Daddy.  It had been a wearing day for me already and I was quite tired (never a good thing in this state of emotional turmoil).  Benjamin wasn’t interested at all.  He was busy doing something else so I didn’t push it.  The rest of them were soon happily involved with putting stickers on their card and drawing pictures and the like, but it wasn’t long till the conflict set in.  They kept telling me that they wanted to give their card to this person or that person and I kept telling them they were making a card for Daddy.  Turns out that none of them were real interested in making a card for Daddy.  I guess they knew that it really wouldn’t make a difference.  Daddy wasn’t going to be looking at it and saying “Ooo! and ahhh!”.  Eventually we all kind of gave up.  The kids wandered off to do something else and I collected what they had made and cleaned up the mess.

    Boy, did that hurt.  I know that kids are resiliant and that since mine are so young they are bound to forget a lot if not everything about their Dad, but I had no idea how quickly they would move on.  Some of my memories are a bit vague and that bothers me, but to realize that their memories will be even more vague . . . they will know next to nothing about their Daddy except for what we tell them.

    40-50 years down the road who’s going to remember that there even was a Daniel Thomas Ewing?  If they forget their Daddy and my memories start to fade, then who will remember Dan?  Who will try to fill the void that he left behind?  I suppose you could argue that his job was done and therefore there is no need to “fill in the gap.”  I feel the gap.   And then there are the kids . . . it’s not like Dan didn’t leave his mark on the world.  =) 

    It made me feel kind of alone in my grief.  If even his kids, who lived with him, are ready to move on why can’t I?  Who else will mourn him?  Mine alone seemed so deep . . although I would guess that his Mom and sisters feel it quite deeply too.  I don’t know, I’ve never lost a sibling or a child.  Is it an awful mind numbing loss or something that cuts sharply once or twice a day as something reminds you of their loss (that reminder being less frequent than what I’ve been experiencing I’m assuming)?  Is it easy to move on with life and just pretend that Danny is still in West Virginia? 

    I’ve been wondering just how deeply the kids would mourn the loss of their father . . how does a child process something like this anyway?  Do they just accept it and move on until they are old enough to deal with it?  Does it affect the way they think?  What do I need to be looking out for?  How will I be able to keep track of all these kids anyway?

10 Comments to Birthday Cards

  • I have no answers for this one….I don’t know whether to be happy that they seem to be coping well….or sad…that they seem to be doing so well???? Wow….how difficult this must be for you as well.

    love you my friend,

  • I’ve been prompted to write again, not sure if it helps or not, or if you even got my email. I continue to praying for you and your family.

    It has been two years since my daughter lost her mother, she was seven then and is now nine, it to was sudden and unexpected. She copped really well with the loss of mommy in the beginning, so well that I was worried she was just suppressing it. then at about a year, and to this day, she still feels the pinch of missing mommy as her intellect catches up with her emotions. She remembers more then I understood, yet forgets allot too. Her questions come at the most unexpected times, and I’ll be honest with you, they bite and hurt, and sometimes it is very hard to deal with as I relive my memories at the same time. Yet the Lord has faithfully provided me strength to deal with it. She soon started to treasure all things “mommy” and for a long time she didn’t understand that she was free to talk about mommy anytime she wanted, so she would quietly endure her own pain. Bless her heart, she didn’t wanna make me cry again as she denied herself for me, which, chokes me up even more to think of her struggle and selflessness. The point is, she needs to talk about it and her interest continues to grow, as will your kids. Don’t be discouraged by their apparent lack of emotion, they do not process the information like we do and what is really happening is the Lord is protecting them. Only you can answer their deepest questions when they come up, and that in itself is a bond between you and them. It does get tough, but it is rewarding too. If you can, encourage your kids to feel free to talk about “daddy” when they want to because a sad unresolved, unspoken sore will surely be the result otherwise. God Bless you and hang in there, God is Good, all the time.

  • Sweet Liisa,

    Your children will and do remember Daddy. They may not talk now but they are thinking a processing and will one day talk. I was four when my Daddy had to go live at the hospital and just 6 when he died. I was not encouraged to grieve and talk and I hated that I could not do it. Children grieve differently than adults. And I for one still grieve the loss of my precious Danny. Sometimes I too think it is just a bad dream and that I will wake up and then I pray ever so hard that your pain will not swollow you up. I still remember the games that I played with Danny and his sisters the last time they visited my house before I never got to see them again. 20 years I have longed to see for myself how they have been doing and now with your sharing I am getting to see a bit of that for Danny. Thank you for sharing.

    Your babies will remember Daddy each in their own way and each in their own time. Some will not have concious memories but in their heart will know of his love for them. Never stop talking and sharing with them your memories (Who remembers when we did … with Daddy) What was your favorite part of that? Talking lets the wee ones have memories that they are too young to have on their own.

    One thing that I did for my son was to have a pow wow where we would talk about how we could talk and that it was ok to talk even when it made someone feel like crying. Tell them it is ok to feel that way. They will trust you and open up as they are able. If you don’t tell them it is always ok to talk about Daddy, and I mean every time that a special day comes along at least for the first year or two, they will feel like they cannot any more. As time goes on you will feel less pain when they do talk and they will have memories to treasure. You will never forget your husband and they will never forget their Daddy.

    Uncle Phil will understand what your wee ones will miss out on not having their own memories but as you and the bigger ones talk they will know what a wonderful Daddy they had just as their Uncle Phil learned.

    I will pray with you that as your children grow that God will provide the perfect mentor for each of the children. The “Uncle” that can help to fill Daddy’s void. Not his memories just a place they can turn when they need advice from a father figure. God gave me three of these and Uncle Phil had some as well.

    Learn who each of your children are and how they do things and how they each learn. They will all be different. But as you learn who they are individually and encourage them to be who they should be you will be blessed by their growth. When they can be them and not like someone else they will succeed in all they do.

    One thing I have often wished was that I could have had every day a photo of me and my Daddy to look at. Not a possed picture, but just him and me. That might be something to think about when your new home is ready to move in. One for each by their bed of just them and Daddy having fun. Theirs special memory. For the new little angel a picture of Daddy and a picture of them brand new side by side or photoshopped could meet that need. Just a thought, but as a child who was not to talk about how much I missed Daddy it would have helped me to grieve and move on.

    As time goes on the questions will come and God will give you the answers that each child needs. You are doing an awesome job so be encouraged and just do one day at a time.

    Love you, Auntie Joanne

  • Such hard questions and I am at a loss, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to know others are moving on and your grief is just beginning. I know little about grief — for this season in my life, but a blog reader I use to “listen” and pray for lost her battle with cancer 1 year ago this past December. Her husband keeps up the blog and writes about grief, loss, and how his three small children are struggling with not having a mommy. The situation is different than yours, but possible be a light into what the grieving process with little ones looks like? He is very candid and doesn’t mince words, which is refreshing and is an honest look at Christian grief.

    Blog address: http://marisavanderveen.wordpress.com/

    As always, God places your family on our hearts many times each day and we enjoy praying for your family.

  • Liisa – this is a very hard question to answer. I can give you an example from my own life that doesn’t exactly fit and one from children I used to watch. I never knew my father (like little Caleb) and I was four when my mom remarried. I resented this “man” in my life for a long time – and it brought up questions about my own father. What was he like? What color hair did he have? Was I like him at all? Was he tall or short, was he easy going like me? I wanted to know everything I could. But, like Dan’s daughter, I was scared to make my mom relive the memories. Over the years I asked little question here and there hoping not to bombard my mom with hard memories – but gleaning and storing every precious piece of information I could. There were also times that I really did not want to talk about him – sometimes I could explain it, other times I could not. Your youngest children will rely on you for the memories – and I would suggest just every now in then throw in phrases “like your daddy did” or “that reminds me of your father.” Watch their reactions and take your cue from them. Your being willing and open to talk about him will make it easier for them to approach you about the topic when they are ready, especially if – and I am not saying you ever will even think about this – you do get married again. That will be so important.

    My friends kids were 4 and 6 when they lost their mom. I did not meet them until they were 8 and 10, but the second girl for some reason attached herself to me. It was very hard for their dad to talk about their mom, so the girls wouldn’t mention her much. Then one day the second girl just began telling me everything she could remember. She knew her mom liked piano – so she was very determined to be good at it too. (I never knew why until then she was so serious about her lessons.) She told me that she just had to tell someone about her mom,even the little details, because she was afraid she would forget. Her older sister, as far as I know – never did really open up to any one. For her it was easier to just move on. Each child will respond differently, and that will be hardest on you. Their father related best to the oldest girl, so they bonded more, but he was loosing some precious moments with his youngest girl, too. Ask God for grace and wisdom – James 1. He will give it to you and more than you need. You will be a great Mom to these little ones. I know God will give you everything you need to raise them. He gave my mom the ability to raise me with a balanced understanding of my father, and He can do it for you too. Never underestimate their ability to understand that God is their father, too, and even more so than the other boys and girls who have fathers. One of my favorite verses as a child was “When my father and my mother forsake me…” and “He will be a father to the Fatherless.”

    God bless you and keep you in His care always. You are already such a blessing to those around you and to those far away. It is easy to see that God’s hand is in your life and He will take care of you. Keep growing and keep close to the Lord.

    My prayers are with you.

  • Wow!! I am praying that God will give an amazing peace this week. Only he can answer these hard questions that come up in life.

  • Just wanted to say do not get discaourage over the children quickly changing their minds on who they are going to give the card too. that is something normal. My children do it all the time or the little ones due. They will remember Daddy in their own way and time. I agree with the above posts and one thing I did with my children was to make a special little photo album of just that child and their sister that passed on. We take her favorite dog that she had and the photo album and sit and look at it together crying and want her back. Gideon was just barely 3 when she passed away and now he is five and out of the blue something will remind him of Lydia and we will sit together and cry. i know you do not know me but feel free to contact me any thime you need someone to talk too. my email address is verntu74@hotmail.com. I am praying for you and your family.

    Have a great day.

  • Hi dear Liisa! Several mentioned something that I know helps keep memories alive……..keep talking about him. “Remember how Daddy would…?” And, their unique birth stories are a favorite too. How proud Daddy was, etc. It may be hard for you while your wounds are still fresh, but it will keep the memories fresh too, and I think it will get easier in time for you. They know he’s with Jesus and that is worth everything! What a heritage they have in you both!
    We try to tell stories often about K’s family in Germany, and I have tried to tell stories about my grandparents who passed on and who my kids will never know. Pics and stories are favorites for littles, as you know 🙂 and will build into them so strongly that one day, you’ll see, they will tell the stories themselves and you will be amazed. We do this in our daily Bible story time…..telling repeated stories is building into them that this is TRUE and now they can tell most of our chronilogical stories themselves.
    I also hope that the time I spent with them that day making pictures and cards didn’t hinder them when they did cards for their Daddy. When I was there, most of the cards and pictures were for you, then they would change their mind and give some to me, to Grace, and sent some home for Becca too. Children are resiliant, yet fragile too.
    I love children for their honest faith. It is a great responsibility and a precious treasure.
    Love you!!!

  • hi liisa,
    I’ve never written yet on your blog, but I’ve read every entry. Last night I dreamed about Danny again. Only this time he was already dead and I was just sorting through his junk —- LOTS of junk. 🙂 It was awful (the dream). I am sorry you have to hurt so much.
    50 years from now you might be with Danny.
    Oh, if it’s any comfort, my boys didn’t want to write a letter to Dad today either. 🙂