Talked to both my parents tonight… maybe I more talked at them. The girls were going crazy and I was trying – unsuccessfully – to corral them and talk on the phone at the same time. But even though I never made it through more than a few broken sentences before dropping the phone or needing to redirect my kids… I know that my mom and dad love being able to hear what’s going on and paint pictures in their heads about where we’re standing, what faces Ava and Lily are making when I tell them it’s bath time…all that. The juxtaposition of my experience tonight versus the experience of my wife couldn’t be more dramatic; while I’m musing over the peculiar nature of how I engage with my parents these days, she’s saying good bye to her father. Forever.
I’m watching her closely… a lot of the time when she doesn’t know it. She’s a strong one, that wife of mine. But no one is strong enough to take everything in stride. If I see her close to the edge, I might wrap my arm around her waist and keep her stable. Or, I might give her a loving shove. It’s not only ok to be sad and to breakdown; sometimes it’s necessary.
“…I don’t know any prayers Daddy! I don’t know any! Do you know any?”
She sobbed. I felt helpless, finally telling her that we can all make our own prayers and helping her through a few lines to make her feel better.
Several times in the last few days I have prompted them with questions about Pops…getting at how they’re doing and trying to promote some 4-years-old-and-under self-expression. Ava got a little agitated tonight, then finally said that she had made a special wish on a star while she was outside on the swingset.
“I can’t tell you what it is though dad,” she said. “For one, it might not come true if I tell you. But also, it makes me really sad. But happy, because it’s good. But sad.”
Then she fidgeted for a few minutes before revealing that she wished Pops wouldn’t die, that she’s asked that he’d just get better.