Death and dying and PaPa John

"Mom, the doctors are suposed to fix you. How come they didn't fix your daddy?"

That's a question Bella has asked me many times and yet I still don't have an answer that seems "right". Today marks the 4th anniversary of my father's death. Bella is the only child my dad got to hold in his arms, play with, skype with and watch me parent. Today, is a better day for the first time in 4 years.

"Mom, people should die of old age. Your dad wasn't very old."

"Mom when you die, can you be turned to ashes so I can keep you on my dresser like you keep PaPa John on your dresser."

"Mom, do you talk to PaPa John sometimes?"
"Mom will we ever see your daddy again"

"Mom, I had a dream about your dad last night. He was helping us fix things at our house"

"Mom, I drew this picture of your daddy so you didn't have to miss him and you could remember him"

"PaPa, see him? Touch him?" *as Luca points to the ashes in the jar on my dresser*

"Mom, tell me about your daddy"

"Mom, I'm sorry that you are sad and miss your dad. I'm sorry that your dad died"

"Mom my middle name is John just like my PaPa's name"

"Mom can we talk about your daddy?"
Ah the questions... they come up at random moments, usually when I'm least prepared to answer them or when my heart feels ok. The emotions flood my body each time the kids bring him up. Please don't cry, be strong, I tell myself. PULL IT TOGETHER! Sometimes I do, sometimes... well sometimes, not so much. My body no longer shakes when I cry and when I talk about him to my children. I'm able to look at pictures of him and talk about him more. I'm able to share stories more frequently about what he was like, what he loved, what kind of daddy and person he was and what he looked like. Sometimes the tears roll down my face when we talk about him, usually my children wipe my tears before I have a chance to wipe them myself.

My children know more about death and dying then I ever thought they would. It breaks my heart that this is a normal thing in our house. It's reality though. Anytime PaPa John comes up we talk about how he lives in Heaven and watches over us and how he sees all that we are doing even though he's not here. We talk about how we can see him in our dreams and sometimes even touch him, how he lives in our hearts and sometimes we can feel him around us. It's life as a mom who's dad passed away far too early. Life is not fair. Until we meet again, I'll keep his memory alive through my children. I'll feel his breath in the wind on my face.

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