Saturday, November 22, 2008


I don't think one has to go to the cemetery and talk to a headstone in order for the dead to hear. I talk to my dead husband all the time. I send him messages from J's soccer games and on report card days and when the girls are fighting (I sent him a string of expletives the day M dumped a bowl on C's head).
Periodically, I check with all the children to see if they need to visit their Dad's grave. C is the only one who has had any desire to visit her Dad's grave site. She's asked me a couple of times starting this summer, only to back out at the last minute. She made me promise her Tuesday night that I would take her this Saturday, and this time she didn't back out. So we drove the 45 minutes to the Veteran's Cemetery, stopping to put air in the van's tires and to buy tea. We didn't get flowers and I forgot to look up the grave site number on the letter the Cemetery sent me.
My husband was adamant about being buried. He wanted a place that his relatives and descendants could go and visit him. I've always felt differently. I don't want a big a funeral nor do I care if I'm buried. I feel that whoever I leave behind should do whatever it is they need to do to get through it all. I tried to uphold my husband's wishes. I decided to forego a graveside service and a church service because I didn't think the kids could handle it. As it went, C lost it at the viewing and the military funeral was too much for J - partly my fault, I forgot to tell him about the Gun Salute.
Anyway, we get there, hoping the visitor's center is open so that we don't have to wander aimlessly searching for his name on identical tombstones (this is the military - order is very important). No such luck. It was cold, windy and we split up, methodically checking each row, narrowing things down by dates. Lucky me, I found him and called to C. This was her thing. I asked her where she wanted me, sitting near by or far away. Far away. So I left, went to visit my Mom on the colombarium side (really I just stood there, freaked out by Dad's name (no end date) under hers).
C followed me minutes later, stoic and dry eyed. She thanked me with a hug and we left, stopping for her comfort food - chicken strips and french fries.
Every day, I wonder if I'm doing this right. How is this supposed to go? Their friends assume that I'm divorced and my kids only correct them if there is a direct question involved. How broken are my babies going to be? How bad are the Daddy issues going to be? Are they going to grow up and have healthy relationships? We've done the counseling route, will it ever be enough?
I worry about J and his survival in this household of women. Thomas died right after J's six birthday, and it's taken me some to time to pull it together. Poor J is just learning to tie his shoes and he still hasn't mastered riding a bike. Will he, they be ok? Will they be a version of normal and will they know that I have tried, will continue to try to do everything I can, the best way I know how?


foodbankbarbie said...

You incredible woman.
They are going to be fine.
Do you hear me?
Everything that they go through in their life is shaping them for whatever lies ahead for them as adults.
I'm sure you know this.. but I also know it's easy to forget when you look around and worry about how your children are affected by things you can't prevent.
My love was murdered 3 weeks before my daughter was born.. I was 18. Talk about messed up :) It took me 10 YEARS to get a grip. If you feel so inspired, read my 'Jason' blog.
Our daughter is now 17 and graduating with honors this year. Thomas is your angel now.. he's going to watch out for those kids. I promise.

avm0525 said...

Shannon...Thanks. I've read your blog and I admire all that you do for your community.
From one incredible woman to another!

Alex said...


I don't know if this helps but I worry about all the exact same things and I am a father. I just worry if I am 'male role model-enough'. I suspect the price of having healthy happy babies is eternal vigilance. You've got that nailed. You're going to be fine. More than fine actually.