Today marks 5 years of the death of my wife Amy. Each year we go to the cemetary and I take pictures of the kids and I around the headstone. As I look back at pictures over the years of visiting the gravesite I am reminded of some of the feelings I felt. I’m in a much better place now. I’m happy and content. I don’t cry much any more but I did shed a few small tears at the cemetary as I talked with my children about their mom. My children are doing well. Early on I was scared and worried about what the future would hold for us and how to continue on without my sweetheart. Was it going to be my lot to raise these 5 children alone? I was scared of the unknown. Lately I’ve been making a lot of comparisons of then verses now. I now have another baby. He is 15 months old. Nearly the same age that Quinton was when his mother died. He was 16 months old at the time. My new 15 month old baby Weston is always going and busy and he doesn’t hug me much. On the other hand, I believe Quinton was placed into my family at the right time because his personality is what I needed in a baby as a single father of five children. He was calm and docile. He loved to just sit on my lap and was content just being with me. I don’t know if I could have handled my new baby Weston’s personality back then. I often wonder why Amy had to pass away with the kids being so young. Now I have Lisa to help me parent my children. But at the time, I was scared of the sole responsibility of being both mom and dad at the same time and wondered if my kids would turn out ok because they only had me.
After five years, I can slow down a little and reflect. I have 9 kids now so I don’t get that much time to reflect. But now I reflect on those early days surrounding her death. I think of when the doctors told us she had stage 4 cancer. As a doctor myself and husband, I took it well and just moved into attack mode to do whatever we could to fight it.
I remember one night with Amy in the ICU, a nurse gave me some scrubs to sleep in and pointed me down the hall to a shower I could use. I remember sobbing in the shower because I couldn’t fathom how it would be possible to go on without her by my side and how I would raise these 5 children by myself.
The first night after she had passed away I returned home from the hospital and gathered my children around to tell them that their mother had left this earth to go home. That night all 5 children slept in my bed. I woke up the next morning surrounded by my children. I remember realizing that my wife was dead and it felt like I was awaking into a really bad dream. I just wanted to go back to sleep and never wake up. But my very next thought was no, I can’t. I have to raise my kids. I had to be strong for them and continue to provide for them. After that moment, I never thought about not wanting to live. I couldn’t. Then, during the first year, I would often cry randomly in the car on my way to or from work and would force myself to be happy the rest of the day. The year mark was very healing to me. It was a milestone. I didn’t see how I could raise my children alone for a year but I had done it. If I could do that, I could continue raising them alone as long as I had too. Luckily, nearly 5 months later I met Lisa and we began our courtship. I was in a much better place emotionally. I didn’t fear the future any longer, but rather was looking for a mother for my children because I knew that would be best for them and even though I thought I was happy, I knew I could be much happier.
Now after 5 years, I feel like I’m living a different life. I reflect on my chidren’s current ages. My 3rd daughter is now 11 years old and has lived nearly half of her life without her mother. My 4th child is now 8 years old and has lived five of his eight years without his mother. And my 5th child is now 6 and has lived more of his life without his mother.
I’m comforted to know that they now have two mothers. One doesn’t replace the other. And somehow, they all understand that they can love both mothers without extinguishing the light and memory of the other.
These were pictures of the kids tonight
This was a picture from the one year mark: