The boys and I lost their dad when they were 7 and 9 years old nearly 10 years ago.
The boys have been without him longer than they physically had him. Seems unreal.
In dealing with my grief at that time, I packed all pictures of him up with the intention of dealing with it later, when I was “stronger”. That day still hasn’t come. To this day, I only recall looking at two pictures of him. And those were framed gifts.
Chase and Hunter have access to these pictures anytime they want. Call me a coward, a weenie, whatever you wish. I just can’t do it.
Joseph’s death wasn’t violent. He died in his sleep of a massive heart attack. In finding him, my screams woke up Chase, who was 9. No mother should ever have the image burned in her head of her little blonde headed baby grabbing on to his daddy’s feet and trying his hardest to pray him back alive, just like he’d tried at his cat’s funeral weeks prior.
Something broke in me.
The casket was closed and the pictures locked away. I’ll only deal with that box that stays locked away deep within my soul when I can handle it and when the boys weren’t around. I usually lock myself away and fall apart for awhile. But the pictures never come out. Then I’ll get back up, pull my big girl panties up, and life goes on.
I’ll add that I’m happily remarried, and one of the biggest attractions I had to Preston was the fact that he has let me grieve over another man . That’s a BIG man that will hold you and your boys when you cry over another man, even years later. For that, he’ll always have my gratitude and respect.
Both of my children have characteristics of their dad. Chase has his sweet soul and gentle spirit. Hunter has his looks. They both are mechanical whizzes just like he was. While you can see Joseph in both, it’s been breathtaking in Hunter.
Especially of late.
Last week, Hunter came in the house and told me he cut his finger in the shop. He quickly told me not to worry, he had already taken care of it. I looked down at his hand, and my breath left my body and I felt that locked box deep inside threaten to open.
His finger was wrapped in electrical tape.
You’re probably thinking I’ve lost my mind(I did, a long time ago!). What’s the big deal about electrical tape?
That was something I saw Joseph do so many times. Hunter was too young to have a memory of that and deliberatly mimic it. He was just looking at me with his daddy’s crooked grin as I tried to collect myself.
All these years (10 to be exact), I’ve avoided pictures and what did the Lord do? He put a living, breathing legacy right smack in my face. It’s beautifully bittersweet seeing it all play out.
I’m feeling a lot less guilty about that packed away picture box when I get to see him every single day in his beautiful boys.
God is so good.
Until next time,
the bean counter.