Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hopefully that will be enough...

How do you tell your son that his daddy is dying. Or even worse, how do you tell him the unimaginable...that he died? These and many other questions used to haunt me at night...Keeping me up until all hours...trying to figure out what to say. And unfortunately, I had to decide. Because I knew the day was coming. It was unavoidable and I had to be prepared. No matter that I just wanted to crawl in a hole and hide from the pain and the incomprehensible future of life without David. But now I was going to have to explain it to our son.

But I did it. Unsure how, but I did. It was such a difficult and painful thing to do. But hell, nothing about this has been easy or painless. So, why would this be any different?

We had always been very honest about David’s illness. We didn’t say he was "sick" anymore as the Cancer progressed. We began to call it what it was. Cancer. Sick began to have too many negative connotations and the faintest sign of a "cold" and being sick would send Alec into a tailspin. So we ended up changing our terminology, so there was no concern about when one of us got sick with a common cold. He couldn’t differentiate between the two. So we began calling it what it was and being as honest as possible with him...trying to distill what was happening and the treatments into terms he could understand.

As things progressed and David had his stroke, we explained that the tumor had hurt daddy's head. We explained that Daddy’s body didn’t work as well as it used to because of the cancer. And as the tumor began to affect David's motor functions and he became weaker, we had to explain what was happening as well. That his body was failing and would stop soon. It broke my heart to tell Alec this and to see the concern in his eyes. And Alec would resolutely say, "Daddy is fine. He's going to be fine." But you could see the worry...

That dreadful morning after David was gone, I had to tell Alec. I took him into the room where David had been. To the empty hospital bed and told him that David had passed away. I explained to him that daddy's body had stopped working and that he would no longer be here. And that although we couldn’t see him, Daddy would be watching over us as David had said to both Alec and I so many times before. And that Daddy always said that if you ever wanted to talk, he would always be listening. He just might not always be able to respond. And that his he loved him very much and that he wanted to stay. He fought long and hard to stay, but unfortunately they just couldn't ’t get all of the Cancer out.

Alec understood all too well what happened. He knew his daddy was gone and you could see the utter fear and panic on his face. But as they said might happen, he turned his head away and wanted out of the room. He won't talk about David yet. And they say he might not for awhile. But he's processing all that has happened and coping as best as his little body can. And once he's ready...he'll begin to talk about him once again. And I'll have to somehow help him come to terms with the grief of losing his father at such a very young age.

David absolutely adored Alec. From the moment he was born 3 1/2 years ago...David spent every waking moment with him. And when David was diagnosed when Alec was only a year and a half that never changed. Despite the treatments and everything David's body went through. He made sure he always had time for Alec and gave him all the love in his heart. And I have 3 1/2 years of photos, videos and stories to prove it. So, Alec will always know how very much his daddy loved him and how very hard he fought to stay with him. He fought so hard. And hopefully that will be enough.


At September 11, 2008 6:38 PM, Blogger Satine said...

What a beautiful but bittersweet story... I'll continue to keep you both in thought and prayer.

At September 11, 2008 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those of us that new Dave so well, will be sure to share all of our great Dave stories with Alec and make sure that he really does 'know' his father beyond his memories and the videos. No matter what happens the love that Dave shared for 3 1/2 years (and beyond) are a part of the great man that Alec himself will become.


At September 11, 2008 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skye you are never far from my thoughts and prayers. When I think of Alec it seems that thoughts surrounding him and his Daddy's passing stay front and center with me. It pains me to know that here was a father who loved his son with all his being and he didn't have a choice to stay on earth with him to watch and see him grow.

I see so many parents who divorce and make a conscious choice to not see their children...then I think of David. He wanted to be here, he loved Alec and you with all of his heart and he was forced to leave all too soon.

You have clearly shown what a wonderful mom you are and there is no doubt reading your posts you will do whatever it takes to keep the memory and love David had for Alec alive. If anyone following this has anything to learn I hope it is learning they have a choice with their children - no matter what take hold of it and seize it -every moment they can have to spend with their children they should because they have the choice to do just that.

Skye, I have a little boy almost exactly Alec's age and I often find myself thinking about how brave you are as a mom in talking and supporting Alec through all of this while still understanding it yourself. You can read all the thought and love you have put in to what you need to say and how he will respond. I can only imagine how strong you must have to be in telling this little innocent soul about his wonderful Daddy. Stay strong and know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and Alec.


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