Another first is looming like a dark cloud over my head. My daughter will be turning 2 on Wednesday and it will be her first without her Dad. While I’ve been busy planning a little party and tending to my other motherly duties, I can’t help but wonder how I will manage on the day. Just typing it now makes my heart beat wildly in my chest. It pains me to think that her Daddy only had 17 months with her. Tears fill my eyes and the lump in my throat makes it hard to breath. While I know in my heart that Matt is watching over her and our son, that he is protecting them, to not physically be here is a pain only a Mother would understand.
When Matt passed away, I was instructed by my grief counsellor that I needed to speak to my children about their father’s death. I knew it was a talk I couldn’t avoid but I had no idea how or when to approach the matter. Kaden had just turned 3 in January and Scarlett was just 17 months old. Kids are very competent, but at Kaden’s age how you word a subject like death will stick with them for a long time, so I had chosen my words wisely. Kaden sat in attention for only a few minutes. I tried to get out the words that Daddy’s heart had stopped and I attempted to get him to understand that in order for us to live and breathe we needed our hearts. I placed his hand on my heart and his other hand on his heart and asked him if he could feel our chests beating. He understood, momentarily, but became sidetracked. I knew there was no point in speaking about his accident, so I kept it as simple as possible. Of course right after I finished explaining that Daddy was no longer on this Earth, Kaden asked when his Daddy would be back. I honestly kept it together, don’t know how, up till that point. His face was so innocent. His question cut me to the core.
Kaden has moments where he expresses how much he misses his Daddy. He recalls memories he had with Matt growing up in Sydney, especially ones that involve riding the train, those are his favourite. Its bittersweet that our kids were as young as they were when Matthew passed away. On one hand the bond they both had with their Dad was young and in its early stages. Kaden was reaching an age where he started to move away from being all about Mommy and more about Daddy. Scarlett on the other hand was my shadow, as most kids are with their Mom (who stays at home) at her age. While there is confusion about where Daddy is and why he can’t come back, it starts to shift as they get older and stronger memories of their current life start to take hold. Sadly, Scarlett probably won’t remember her Dad. The stories I tell and the pictures I share may hold some interest in her mind, but it is hard to say what type of relationship she will have with him. Kaden will have memories and they may come and go but I will reinforce the love their Dad had for them as often as possible. Matt will always be their Daddy.
I feel so strongly now that Matt and I were destined to have our two kids and as quickly as we did. They are the reason I am able to plant my feet on the ground every day. They keep me grounded, they keep me sane (for the most part) 😉 They are the best parts of Matt and I get reminded of that daily. Sure it is hard at times but I have little pieces of Matt with me always. Kaden looks exactly like Matt, minus his eyes and Scarlett, well, she has his fearlessness. I am excited to watch them grow, to see different aspects of Matt pop up here and there. It is comforting. I will never fully understand why Matt left this Earth when he did, but one thing I am sure of is the love we had, created two of the most beautiful children and it is my honour to keep their Dad’s memory alive in each of them. Thank you Matthew for helping me bring into the world two beautiful reasons to keep living and to live a deep and meaningful life.