November 15, 1975 - AM
I awoke in bed...empty except for me and the still strong smell of his cologne. As I lie there warm beneath the covers wondering how I am supposed to face the day, I hear the soft noises arising from the other bedrooms. Calling my name....Mommy, mommy, mommy! Oh yeah, I have to get up....I have to go on! But how will I do it, how will I cope. And how on earth do I tell these three little ones that their daddy will never walk through the door again? God give me strength and wisdom to help them somehow because I can't even help myself right now.
As I gather them together and herd them to the living room my thoughts are confused......they are all so young, how will I make them understand what has happened. They know he's been sick and has been in the hospital for a few weeks now but the boys are only 2 1/2 and not quite 4. How much will they grasp? And how about our only daughter....she's 7 now. Old enough to know and understand. It will be hardest on her at this point. She was always such a "Daddy's Girl".
I look into their little faces and their eyes so full of trust in me that for a few minutes I just want to run away and not face them and the questions that will come. If not now, in the years to come. My throat starts to close up.
I sit them down in a semi-circle on the floor around me. I tell them that their Daddy was very, very sick and couldn't get better no matter how hard he tried. And God saw how sick and how tired Daddy was and took Daddy to live in heaven with Him where he would never be tired again or sick again. And Daddy would not be coming home to us ever again; that Daddy's home was now in heaven with God. Daddy is now an angel and will be watching over us all.
The boys don't fully understand, I can see it in their eyes and on their faces. It's just what I expected. They will have more questions in the months and years ahead. Perhaps I will better be able to deal with it then. When it isn't so new to me too. Will we survive that long?
I turn my gaze to our daughter. The pain I see in her little face and in her eyes makes me wish that I could have died rather than inflict this pain on her when she is so small. She crumbles into my arms and sobs. I tell myself "don't cry, be strong for her"! It is all I can do to not break down and fall totally apart and I pray for someone else to be the strong one and take over......but there is no one else. It is my job....and there is no one to help. How I wish my folks were still alive. I wish I was a little girl myself and they were here to comfort me and handle it all. But they aren't! So I try to compose myself and pull myself together and be there for my children. Be the strong one for them.......they need me now more than ever. "Buck up girl," I tell myself, "you can fall apart later if you need to but for now put on a show for them." Let them know that everything will be okay even though Daddy isn't here.....we are still a family and you will be there to care for them.
Although it is sometimes hard to remember......GOD is with us!