Archive for July, 2014

Mourning Loss

Three weeks ago, our little lives on this humongous planet were altered forever. Three weeks ago today, my dad had a massive stroke. And we were forced to say “Goodbye” to an amazing man — way earlier than we ever imagined.

My dad. You know him as Papa, and he’s a major commenter on this blog. He’s my greatest fan, and always has been. He and my mom have been my cheerleaders, my supporters, my encouragers, my friends. If you’re interested in getting to know him, choose a post on this blog and peruse the comments. You’ll learn quickly how much he adored me and how much he adored Chloe and my boys and my whole family. He was passionate. His comments here always made me smile and made me stand a little taller.

Emotions have always been difficult for Chloe. She has made improvements in recent years and has learned to enjoy some happy emotions of her own and of others. But she still tries to hide from anyone’s strong emotions. They are just too much to process. I think she feels them in a crazy exaggerated way, more than you and me.

She quickly grasped the fact that her Papa was in Heaven; in fact, she sweetly flew one of her stuffed dogs up in the air to show me that she knew where Papa was. Probably she doesn’t really understand the finality of death — but I don’t think I really do either. Maybe we just accept the finality a little bit at a time, and then when we are ready for it…a little bit more.

After joining lots of friends and extended family at Mimi’s house the first day following my dad’s death, Chloe had had enough. While she didn’t experience anyone having a big ol’ ugly cry in front of her, the emotion was clear to her. There was activity, there was laughter, there were tears, there was sadness, there was rejoicing, there were hugs… It was a lot for a little girl who stands ready to explode with emotion even in an everyday situation.

The next day she made it clear to me that she did NOT want to go back to Mimi’s house. She banged and banged and banged her little hand on the floor and signed and yelled, “Home! Home! Home! Home!” I allowed her to stay at home and grieve in her own way. For 2 days she asked to stay at home and in her room where it was quiet and peaceful and predictable…but where she was still very aware of Papa’s passing and of everyone’s emotions, including her own.

Then the next couple of days, she needed to be with the family as we offered visitation for friends and then celebrated my dad’s life the following day (another post for another day!!). A good friend of mine came and accompanied Chloe for those 2 big events, and Chloe did beautifully. To most observers, it appeared that Chloe wasn’t paying attention and was in her own world, but on several occasions, she proved otherwise — she listened, heard, and understood every word spoken.

In the weeks following the service, my mom’s house has been a revolving door for loved ones and friends who have taken good care of us during a very difficult time. And I somehow forgot to be sure that Chloe’s emotional needs were met. We were on the go and at my mom’s house and entertaining and shopping and playing games and loving on family day and night. I dragged Chloe with me nearly everyday without thinking much about it. But finally (thankfully) I realized that I was pushing her way beyond her limits, and she was very, very stressed out.

I slowed our pace and tried to make her (and Zippy who didn’t seem to be quite as stressed) needs my number one priority as I should have done all along. She has remained very fragile and stressed ever since. I think she’s improving and recovering, but I allowed her stress level to get high, and she needs time to rest and recover. I feel terribly about it, but I’m trying to fix it.

I may never know exactly the emotions my girl felt or feels today about her Papa’s death. And as I said, I’m not even sure of my own emotions in all of this. But it has been an important reminder that I need to remember that my little family has limits that need to always be respected. It must be my priority to protect and care for my family at all times — especially in times of great need like we’ve had these past 3 weeks.

I vow to do a better job at it–even in the midst of my own pain– as a mom must do.

Dad would surely leave a comment below telling me not to be so hard on myself…that I did a great job, considering…that he’s thankful for me and so proud of the mother I am. He would type it in all caps and use lots of exclamation points. He would probably remind me how good God is and how special my family is. He would tell me that loves me and possibly quote a scripture or a worship song for good measure. It was just his way.

I’ll consider his comment posted and approved. 🙂

Thanks for your constant approval and praise, Dad. We love you and miss you terribly.  ❤

 

Papa <3

 

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