This is the last picture that my daughter took with her dad. She was 6 years old and in Kindergarten at the time. Of our three kids, Maggie was the prize jewel to Cameron. She was everything to him and the feelings were mutual. They loved talking together about Maggie’s goals and future dreams, cuddling with one another while watching movies of Maggie’s choice (any princess movie ha!), and Cam would tell her constantly how beautiful and special she was. Such a daddy’s girl!
When I broke the news to my children that their father died I knew telling Maggie would be the worst. It was. As she drifted to sleep that night she was even whimpering in her sleep and buried her face in her blanket trying to catch her breath…for hours. It was as if someone just sucker punched her in the gut.
For months Maggie would sit by her upstairs bedroom window and remind me how “this is the spot where I would sit and wait to see Dad’s car pull up and run out to hug him”. It was so tough to hear. She missed the man in her life who adored her more than life itself. He was gone. She would have nights where she would get so worked up and cry and scream the same sentence over and over again “I want my daddy back, I want my daddy back. Pleeeease mommy I want my daddy back”. Each time this would happen I would try to stay so strong but eventually I would just cuddle with her and rock her and sob right along with her.
As time went by she developed anxiety (which I talk about in my post “This is Childhood Anxiety. Woah” and that was really difficult to watch her go through. It’s painful as a parent to watch your child hurt so badly and you just want to take it all away.
Now that it’s been 3 years, Maggie is different. She is getting older, has adjusted to having a “new dad”, is happy on a daily basis, no more panic attacks, and is settled into her new blended family. She is normal again.
But recently in a conversation, Maggie told me something that unknowingly made me have to stop and gather my thoughts before proceeding. She said, “Mom, I’m forgetting Cameron daddy”.
It’s actually making me cry even writing this. It’s like someone took my breath away when I heard that and I wanted time to stand still.
No. This can’t happen.
It’s not as if I didn’t think this would happen but…it’s happening! Noooo! Noooo! Noooo! This can’t be happening! I loved having talks with her about all the fun things they did together and how she loved hanging from his strong arms and how she would draw him cute notes all the time.
She doesn’t remember that anymore.
It’s gone. Erased. He is a picture that is hung in her room. She is 10 years old and has moved on. He is now just a faded memory. She will now look to me for memories and only know what I tell her. She has very few real memories left and it’s all becoming a blur.
This is reality. Ouch.
It is my prayer that even though her memory is fading she will remember the love he showered her with in those short 6 years.
What are some ways you have kept memories alive?