Losing a loved one to cancer is never easy. You try to move on, but there are always reminders.
Little things. Sometimes big things. At the dinner table, there’s always an empty chair. Just a few days ago, we broke out an old Scrabble game, and there were still some score cards revealing just how the game had gone between me and “Bug,” the name I used to call me wife.
And then there are the holidays. As you would expect, Christmas can always be hard. But so can Mother’s Day.
My son will be watching and taking part in activities in another Mother’s Day, without ever really knowing his mother.
At school, he takes part in making a gift or card for moms. Yet, giving a mother’s day gift to your dad, just isn’t quite the same.
At Sunday School, he will make a craft for me or a grandmother, while other kids make a gift for their mom. Sometimes it makes him sad, but what can you say. You know life goes on. The rest of the world can’t stop celebrating holidays simply because it’s hurtful to you.
But sometimes that’s hard for a child to understand. But you know he has to.
There have been times when my son has cried for his mom, that he misses his mom. That usually happens when he’s really upset.
And I tell myself that – that he’s just upset. But it breaks my heart. Every time.
As a single dad, I can’t always replace what the kids are missing from their mom. Sure, I try to be both a mom and a dad. But I can’t really be a mom, too.
I couldn’t be a mom for my daughter when she was a teenager and needed her mom the most.
And I can’t be a mom for my son in the times he needs one, times when he needs the hug or comforting that only a mom can provide.
My kids have handled their loss remarkably well. Not perfectly, but well. In fact, I think they’ve done much better than I ever would have if I had been in the same situation.
But handling it well and being easy are not the same thing.
It’s still hard for them, some days harder than other days.
And while there are always going to be reminders, I try to remember to be patient. To give them enough love and support as they grow.
To always keep in mind that both chairs aren’t empty. And it’s the occupied chair that they’re looking to for the guidance that they need.
I just hope that I can always live up to that, and be the parent they need to help remind them that life is full of wonderful things, even in the midst of reminders of hard times.