Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to a family does: they lose a special and cherished member. It is never easy living through and dealing with the passing of a loved one, but when a child loses a parent it is especially difficult.
My daughters were six and 18 months when their father passed away. It was sudden and shocking and completely unexpected. He was young, viral, the light of our lives and in the prime of his. We were sure that we would have another 50 years together, and we looked forward to watching our daughters grow and experience how amazing life could be. I will always remember the feeling of looking down at my sleeping child wondering how on earth I was going to tell her that her daddy was gone.
As the one year mark of his death recently passed I had a chance to reflect on how the past 12 months have affected me and my children. If you would have asked me a year ago how we would be faring I would not have been able to give you a good answer. I would never have thought that the strength and drive of two little girls would be able to give me enough power to make it through the most difficult of times.
Although the girls were as devastated as I, the love and joy they have for their father transcended his death, and showed me that we could be happy remembering him and the times we shared as a family. Children show grief in different ways and I have had to adapt and learn how to deal with each of my daughters individually. The most important thing is to let them grieve, and make sure they know that it is okay to be sad and want to cry. I learned it is essential to let them see me grieve as well; that it is a process we all need to go through. There is nothing that comforts me more than two sets of little arms wrapped around me, holding on tight!
They are now seven and two and a half, and show me every day why life is worth living. Every holiday they make special gifts for their daddy, celebrating him in spirit with something as simple as a painting or song. We can learn so much from our children if we take the time to see through their eyes. Yes, their daddy was taken from them much too soon, but they refused to live in the past and instead chose to celebrate his life with their never-ending love for him and joyful memories. I am blessed to have two amazing daughters, and I know that their dad would be so proud!