Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

Wow! Two days without crying

THURSDAY, December 31 – The quiet morning hours provide the time and some breathing space to think about the final hours of this calendar year. I want to have a good talk with the boys. It won’t be about New Year’s resolutions… they don’t amount to much in comparison with the heavy burden we’re already carrying.

Again I announce:  Friday the first of January 2010 will not be a perfect kick-off in a new game. It is no more and no less than just the following day in a difficult, personal struggle. Yet, I want to be able to look back at the close of 2009 and compliment the boys on their admirable resilience.

But I must be careful, and not be tempted to think that everything is fine since such thoughts are deceptive.  On the other hand,  I haven’t cried once since we got back from the States. Two days without crying. That’s unprecedented. Is this progress? A false reality? Sometimes it’s as if it hasn’t registered. Am I suppressing reality?

Thank heavens there’s no danger of that with the boys around. In their own way, they manage to make their immense grief known to me. Understanding and patience, that’s what it’s all about in the reality of our everyday life. Let’s make that our resolution for the New Year. And may it be a reaffirmation of my commitment as a father. Quietly, I try to get through, one day at a time, with tact and understanding.

I love you, Jennifer. I love you, Sander. I love you, Eamonn. And yes, I love myself.

19:45  – Goddamnit, Overdiek, there you go with your pious promises about patience and understanding!!  This time I went off the deep end when I lit into Sander. He’d been working on some kind of building kit, gotten glue on his fingers, and came to me to complain. Not just any old glue, but ‘three-second’ glue. Try getting that off your fingers!

I called him a numbskull, a botcher, a stupid bungler – out of sheer frustration because I hadn’t been checking on what he was doing.  His mistakes were my responsibility and I realized that I couldn’t remedy those mistakes. While Jennifer would have undoubtedly known exactly how to remove the goddamned glue. All Sander and I could do was shout at each other.

Eamonn, the peacemaker, came between us. He begged us not to argue, especially on the last day of the year. He was right, of course. I apologized to Sander, who also said he was sorry. Together we fixed dinner.  Au Pair Meal: pasta with meat, according to one of Jennifer’s recipes that he remembered. He did a good job. It was delicious.

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