Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Inside Bill’s Head
Along with a new title I obviously need a new blog description.
I was a widower. I am now a remarried man. I am a husband, a Dad and a Stepdad. I lost my first wife to an Anaplastic Astrocytoma grade 3 / 4 brain tumor in 2009. It was 22 months from diagnosis to her passing away. Our daughter’s were 4 and 6 at the time.
I am now remarried to a wonderful woman who also happens to be my best friend. She has two children from a previous marriage. Now it’s the six of us starting our new journey together...the updated Brady Bunch meets Modern Family type of household. We are all different in our own little and not so little ways, but together we make a nice uniquely blended family.
I am attempting to keep things as “normal” as possible... for all six of us. My hope is that this blog helps out other people. We are all getting use to becoming a new family and dealing with the changes, the challenges and the new responsibilities involved in merging two households. If my ramblings, rants and thoughts can help someone else out…that would be good.
The Purpose Behind the Blog
Their seems to be plenty of material out there for woman who have lost their husbands, but not so much for men who have lost their wives. I also want people to know that things will improve and get better. Life will never be the same as it was before, but it will get better. If someone would have told me that 12 or 18 months ago I would thought them to be a fool…it does get better. I want people to read this and hopefully find some sort of encouragement that things can and will improve.
Everyone has their own way to cope and deal with things. There is no set schedule, no time frame, no period as to when and how long one will feel a certain way. Don’t let people tell you when and how to feel…follow your gut, instincts, mind and heart…only YOU truly know what’s best for you. I am not saying don’t listen to others. Listen and hear their advice, their words but keep in mind that no matter what other people say or think only YOU truly know what’s going on in the deep dark places within your mind and heart. It will be a rollercoaster ride. Their will be ups and downs along the way…just try not to get too far in any one direction.
Our (me and my girls) journey has been filled with challenges, some of which I have tried to share on this blog…others were kept private since they were either a little too personal or too painful to share. It’s not the things that you plan for to handle it’s the little unexpected gotcha’s that are hardest to deal with.
I have dried my share of tears from little cheeks, wrapped my arms around my girls and given the biggest hugs I can supply. I have tried to listen, comfort and explain things to the best of my ability with empathy and understanding. I have tried to put myself in their shoes (my girls) and think about how scary things are in this big, big world. But most of all I have tried to supply them with as much love as possible so that they KNOW we (All three of us) would make it through this…TOGETHER!
I said it before on this blog…I flat out REFUSE to let this be the defining moment of their young lives…FLAT OUT REFUSE!!! I will not allow them to forget their mother and how much she loved them, but I want them to understand that it’s okay to move on as well. We all have to go on…finding a proper balance is the key. It’s a fine line to walk…VERY FINE…many times…with them…with friends…with family…and with woman who I love now…my wife. I feel very fortunate to have met someone who cares so deeply for my girls. The love, caring and compassion she shows them is awesome.
I do hope this blog helps other people. I hope others who stumble upon it, read it and find at least a very small glimmer of hope…and start to think that it will get better.
Monday, May 9, 2011
So it just dawned on me that I need to change the title of my blog. After next week I will no longer be single so “Inside the Head of a Grieving Single Dad” doesn’t work anymore.
Some possible new titles…
- Bill’s Blog
- Inside Bill’s Head
- Bill’s Modern Family
- My New Modern Family
- My Version of Modern Family
- Remarried Widower
- A Remarried Widower’s Take on His New Modern Family
- From Three to Six
- New Beginnings
- From a Widower to a Modern Family
Any of the above still seem better then “Inside the Head of a Widower with two little girls who is now remarried and the father of two little girls, a stepdaughter and a stepson”, but I need to think it through a little more.
Any comments or feedback is welcomed…I’m leaning towards either “From Three to Six”…sounds kind of cool to me… or “A Remarried Widower’s Take on His New Modern Family”…keeps the old blog theme or simply “Bill’s Blog”…which is simple, but also kind of boring.
What a difference one year makes. Last year Mother’s Day was the lowest of the lows. Worse then the kid’s birthdays and even worse then Christmas after all it’s a day dedicated to one person…Mom. Last year Mother’s Day was rough on all of us. I can vividly recall thinking to myself that I had to make it through this and be strong for the girls, but I had reached the breaking point. My ability to remain strong and positive was dangerously close to caving in. I was a wreck on the inside even though I put on a smiley face and appeared okay on the outside.
This year Mother’s Day was very different. The girls were much happier. After all in a week we start a new journey as a new family. The wedding is one week away. I will be marrying one of my best friends. I’m also getting a stepdaughter, and a stepson, the girls are getting a stepsister, a stepbrother and a stepmom…or as the girls like to call her…Mom.
I have said this before that during a session at the Caring Place Abbie told one of the counselors that all she wanted was someone to call “Mom” again. She has that now and it makes a huge difference in her well being...a huge difference.
It’s a weird line to walk sometimes…I don’t want to disrespect the memory of Jen. I will never allow the girls to forget her and at the same time I do not want the woman whom I am marrying to feel slighted or second best, yet another thing in life that the parenting books don’t prepare you for. As we start our new journey as a family of six…I have no doubts that it will lead to some pretty interesting blog entry material.
At the end of the day as twilight was taking away the sky Abbie asked me to go with her to Mom’s tree. Abbie and I went out to visit Jen’s tree as the sun was setting. We talked to Jen. We talked about some of the special memories we shared together. We talked about what Jen was doing now, where we thought she was, if she watching, if she could hear us talking to her. We talked about cancer, dying and moving to a new house among other things. We shared some tears…we shared some hugs and we held each other and I told Abbie that it would be okay.
She got very upset and asked me what if I got sick, what if I got cancer, what if I died. I told her that I go to the doctor’s office once a year to get checked out and that I’m not going to let that happen. So here is what many people don’t get or simply don’t understand abut kids who lose a parent. Kids who lose a parent are always thinking about “what if my other parent dies”. Who will take care of us, what will happen to us? They need that extra reassurance that things are going to be okay. They need to feel safe, secure and loved. They need the reassurance…they don’t just crave it…they NEED it!
It was a bittersweet day. As I tucked her into bed she whispered in my ear that “we would be okay because we are strong and that we will make it through this”. I smiled and kissed her and told her that she was absolutely right – “we are strong and we will make it through this”. She also said that she was happy to have someone to call Mom on Mother’s day. She is an amazingly smart and strong little kid…
How do you explain the news of Osama bin Laden’s death to a couple of smart, curious kids? It’s not as easy as you might think. This was a surprising topic of conversation at the diner table between me and my two girls. Keep in mind they are 6 and 8 years old…I was rather impressed…
Went something like this…
Kiddos: Dad, was Osama bin Laden a bad man?
Me: He was a bad man.
Kiddos: Is that why we killed him?
Me: Well, we didn’t “kill” him. The military…do you two know what the military is?
Kiddos: Yeah, it’s the army.
Me: Well, it’s more then just the army (and I explained the concept of the military and armed forces to both kids).
Me: The military had to find him so that he wouldn’t hurt any more people.
Kiddos: Well does that military get rid of all “bad” people.
Me: Good question, no they do not. But this man tried to hurt many people that live in our country and he even went as far as to have a plan that hurt and killed a bunch of people.
Kiddos: You mean the attack on the Twin Towers.
Me: (I had no idea they even knew about the 9/11) Yes, he was one of the people that came up with the plan to attack the Twin Towers.
Kiddos: Well, I’m glad he’s killed…aren’t you Dad?
Me: Well, I’m glad that he’s not hurting any more people.
Kiddo’s: Me too, I wish they would get rid of all the bad people.
It just struck me…a little funny. What a different world we live in now compared to when I was a kid. This is one of those conversations that you don’t really prep for. In what book is the chapter on how to talk to elementary age kids about global terrorism and getting rid of terrorists – or the threat of terrorist attacks and retaliation?
It makes me feel good and proud to have such curious kids who can ask intelligent questions, but also makes me sad for the state of the world that we live in now. Kids shouldn’t have to think about things like terrorist and be glad that they are dead…as I cleaned up the dishes from dinner…just make me a little sad for the world that these kids live in know as compared to when I grew up.
Inside Bill's Head -- Previously Known as (Inside the Head of a Grieving Single Dad)
In August of 2009 my wife Jennifer passed away from an Anaplastic Astrocytoma Brain Tumor. She was only 38 years old. She left me and our two little girls Abbie and Allie to continue life’s journey.
I promised her that I would NOT become angry and bitter about what happened...in order to do that I am attempting to write to express my thoughts and feelings.
This site is a place where I can express my thoughts, feelings and rants...