Diary of a Widower

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

Does this first year not count?

SUNDAY, May 30 – Uncle Pete is going back to New York. At Schiphol Airport we have time for a sandwich and we discuss the months to come. I confess that I’m a bit worried about the boys and how they’ll be looked after. It’s important for the uncles to understand that their nephews are no longer happy, carefree children able to forget about their grief as soon as they set foot on American soil.

Am I being overprotective? That seems to be what Peter is suggesting when he says that everything is going to be all right. I impress on him how difficult all this is for me. He must realize that and he must also impress on his brothers that the last seven months have been pure misery. What I want is for him to take a little bit of our shit back home with him and to realize what we’ve been going through, day in and day out.

He puts his arm around me. ‘Tim, we don’t know how to handle this. I don’t know. You don’t know. My parents don’t know. Or my brothers. There’s no blueprint for situations like this. That’s why we’d do better to simply forget the first year. Accept that we’ve made mistakes, that we’re doing our best to survive this year. And agree that the past year doesn’t count.

I understand what he’s getting at, and I appreciate what he’s saying, but his reasoning is faulty. This will be thought of as the most precious year in my life – this year following Jennifer’s death – no matter how awful that sounds. The intimacy that has grown between the three of us, the alternating sensations of intense grief and delirious joy, the certainty and the gnawing doubts about single parenthood, and not least of all the many mistakes we’ve made this year and will continue to make in the future. Forget this year?  Not on your life.

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