Family,Loss

Talking about daddy, parties and the past

Talking about their daddy

Talking about their daddy

It’s funny how kids seem to be able to sense your mood and react to it. I’ve had a lot of thoughts about daddy from my youngest this week, he is obviously at the forefront of her mind and she has been talking a lot about her birthday (just six days before he died) and how her dad featured in it.

This seems to have coincided with an almighty low week for me, where the excitement of the past few weeks and all their distractions has gone, and I’m feeling pretty hard hit by it all. Florence is still only two, so she’s just learning to express herself but the meaning is definitely there. She has been telling me daily:

‘My daddy was at my party. My daddy gave me presents. He had candles.’

Now I love that she’s talking about it, and thinking of her dad, but it makes me so sad at the same time. No child should have to be told their daddy isn’t there for them anymore, but to have to keep telling them just seems too cruel. It’s almost as if she’s memorised my response now, as she repeats back to me:

‘He very poorly, he went hospice, he died. My daddy died.’ While I’m wiping away the tears she comes out with her new lines, which are the sweetest ever:

‘My daddy loves me. My daddy is my best friend’.

How adorable is that? Now the best friend theme is ongoing as I am also her best friend, as is her brother sometimes, but she knows it means you like someone a hell of a lot and that’s good enough for me.

My son, being that bit older, has much more measured thoughts about what will happen now his father has gone. These are some of the gems he has come out with these past few months. These questions usually come out of nowhere, while we’re in the car, eating dinner or getting ready for bed.

They go from general musings like: ‘If dad gets chocolate from Father Christmas, can I have it?’ Me: ‘Well, I don’t think somehow he will be getting anything from Father Christmas this year love…’

To incidents while we are out, such as this one when someone saw Sam try to set up a giant game of chess in a play area. Lady to Sam: ‘Do you know how to play chess?’ Sam: ‘Oh yes, I do because my dad taught me before he died!’ Oh. Awkward.

Last week he started singing the song from the Lego Movie, with his own additions. It went like this: ‘Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when we’re part of a team… Oh yeah, but one of the team’s dead. *Shrugs* What? Dad’s dead, and he’s part of our team, so…’

Also, I’ve struggled to read Julia Donaldson’s Stick Man, a favourite of both of theirs, as the ending shows their lost stick dad return to the family tree for Christmas. Sam has even looked at the picture on the last page and said: ‘Look at that, if we had another baby and daddy came back, that would be like our family wouldn’t it?’

These shake even me but the ones which make me the most upset are the times when he wants to know more about what physically happened to Roger. In the weeks after he passed away in July, he asked questions like these.

‘What was Daddy’s last word? What was the last letter of his last word?

‘What did he look like?

‘Why couldn’t the doctors cure him?’

The last question is the one we’d all like to know the answer to, and it’s tough when you’re little and you believe doctors have all the answers and are there to make poorly people better. Sometimes they don’t, they can’t, and the realisation of this can be a bitter pill for kids to swallow. It leads to anxieties like what will happen to them if they get poorly, or to other people they love? It’s part of growing up but sometimes I just feel like they’re being forced to grow up much too fast.

x Julia

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34 Comments

  • Reply
    Jenn
    September 25, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    My heart breaks for them!
    They are going through what many of us, adults, have never had to experience. And it is sad that their life has been altered forever.
    They have YOU, though, Julia! Such a precious gift helping them move forward! I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to look after them and struggle with your own grief…
    Jenn recently posted…Three strong mothers who inspire meMy Profile

  • Reply
    Ann
    September 25, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Maggie says Florence is her best friend and they are so cute together. She is such a gorgeous girl. You are doing a fab job x

  • Reply
    Tim
    September 25, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Oh Julia. It’s horrible that any child should have to confront reality so soon. Isaac was not quite four when I first had to explain death to him – a grandparent rather than a parent, so at least one step removed. Even that was hard enough but I remember ruing it at the time, another step away from childhood innocence. We used a book called Always and Forever to help explain the concept of death in a gentle way. Who knows whether how much it helped, but it certainly seemed to.
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  • Reply
    Carie
    September 25, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Oh poor loves, it’s so hard to process as an adult that goodness knows what children put together in their heads and it must be tough on you. I’m glad Daddy is still Florence’s best friend, it’s heartbreaking and adorable at the same time.
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  • Reply
    Ann
    September 25, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Florence is such a lovely girl. Maggie says she is her best friend. They are so cute together. You are doing such a fab job x

  • Reply
    Donna
    September 25, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    My heart breaks reading this. It is so hard for them to comprehend and as much as you want them to talk about their Daddy and remember him each time they talk about him it must be like knocking a scab off and opening the wound all over again. Sending love x
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  • Reply
    Notmyyearoff
    September 25, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    This put a huge lump in my throat and I could see my husband in your daughter. His dad died when he was 3 and I have been told he was very much like F. All his dad’s history and adventures are still told now, all the time and it’s what’s kept his memory very very much alive. I wish I could give you a huge hug x.
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  • Reply
    Mackenzie Glanville
    September 26, 2015 at 5:26 am

    I read this through tears, it just seems so unfair, it really sucks, no child or parent should have to go through what you are all going through. So sorry beautiful, big hugs. Your children are so beautiful xx
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  • Reply
    Mini Travellers
    September 26, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Hey my lovely this is so so hard particularly after a very busy couple of weeks of distraction. Let’s get something in the diary to look forward to as well. I know that won’t stop any of the heartbreak and certainly won’t stop any of those heart stopping questions at the most surprising of times but it’ll be nice to have something fun to look to? xxx
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  • Reply
    Beth Twinderelmo
    September 26, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Charlie’s school have been fundraising this week for Macmillan and Charlie came home Wednesday very upset as he was scared he was going to get cancer and die like Granny. It’s so difficult for them to process but after a while he was off playing yet left me a sobbing mess. I love that Rog is at the forefront of Flo & Sams minds. I wish more than anything that the Stick Man could come true. We all love you Jules xxx
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  • Reply
    Imogen
    September 26, 2015 at 8:09 am

    So sad to read. Children are so matter of fact about it all, and you’re right, they’re far too young to lose their lovely dad. It’s so unfair, and must be so hard to try and answer their questions but it sounds like you’re doing so great Jules xxxxxxxxx

  • Reply
    brummymummyof2
    September 26, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Oh god bab. Kids are brutal aren’t they? I am a teacher and sometimes they talk about things with such a force of honesty it makes me catch my breath. In RE we cover a lot about death and have loads of discussion about it. I can’t even imagine how you feel I really can’t but the Lego Movie song that was sang was pretty amazing and he of course is still very much part of the team x PS on a side note and totally off topic (sorry if totally inappropriate) if that is your kitchen in the lovely photo at the top? IT IS AMAZING! x
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  • Reply
    Laura
    September 26, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Oh Jules, I read this and it just reminded me again what an amazing job you are doing. It’s beyond words how hard it must be. I remember being Sam’s age when my Dad died and trying to find things to say to match up to the ones the adults around me were saying and I remember just not really being able to think what to say or work out how to process it. They seem to be doing a fantastic job of expressing themselves and that’s down to you being such a brilliant mum. They are so lucky to have you and for all the ways you will help to keep Roger’s memory alive xxxx

  • Reply
    Potty Mouthed Mummy
    September 26, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Oh gosh this caught in my throat a little. It’s tough to answer all those enquiring questions, based on childish innocence, especially when it’s all still very fresh. Lots of hugs lovely xxx
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  • Reply
    sarah christie
    September 26, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Oh Julia, I am so sorry you are having a tough week my lovely. Kids deal with thing so differently don’t they, they are so matter of fact about things , I know it will take time but I hope next week is a better week x
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  • Reply
    Our Seaside Baby
    September 26, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Oh Julia, this all sounds so difficult and it’s all part of the grieving process. It must be so hard answering the questions and I felt nervous reading your post. My two year old also mentions the same names and repeats things over & over & also picks up on and copies what I say so it must be so difficult knowing what to say to your children. But you are keeping any memories alive & being completely open and I’m sure your children will appreciate this so much when they are older. Big hugs, Pol xxx
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  • Reply
    Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations
    September 27, 2015 at 12:07 am

    Oh Julia! 🙁 Such little loves, and such a big, abstract concept to understand… Thank you for being open and honest about your grief online. I am certain it will be a help to so many…
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  • Reply
    Lisa (mummascribbles)
    September 27, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Oh Julia, what a mixture of emotions you are having too deal with. It’s interesting to see how the two different ages talk about it so differently but every time it must just bring memory after memory. What a hard balance as well to wanting them to remember and talk about their daddy but probably (I imagine), you just wanting to sweep it all away for a day every now and then. You are of course doing an amazing job and your little people will be thanking you for keeping their daddies memory alive 🙂 Sending hugs your way as always xxx
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  • Reply
    Chloe
    September 27, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Sending lots of hugs and love. I’m sorry you’ve had such a tough week. I don’t know how you’re all keeping it together and I can’t imagine how hard it must be what you’ve all gone through as a family. It’s so beautiful and so sad at the same time that they talk about their dad all the time, but even though it’s tough to hear them say things it’s amazing that he’s still in their memories, especially with your youngest being so small. It’s so beautiful how much love they have for him too and how they know that he was there for them at birthdays and that he was the one that taught them certain things like chess. It’s those things that are precious and will stay with them forever. xx #sundaystars
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  • Reply
    Mummuddlingthrough
    September 27, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    The beauty of children – they, unlike us, unlike me right now, don’t need to worry about what the right thing to say is. Such a beautiful little family, that daddy will always be part of xxx MMT #sundaystars
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  • Reply
    Rachel
    September 27, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Such a heartbreaking read but lovely that your little ones are able to express whatever thoughts pop into their heads about their Dad. much as I’m sure it’s tough for you I’m sure that them being able to talk to you about their thoughts and feelings will be helpful for them. Big hugs xx
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  • Reply
    Rachel
    September 27, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Oops terrible with hashtags #sundaystars
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  • Reply
    Hayley (@hayleyfromhome)
    September 28, 2015 at 10:23 am

    It must be heartbreaking to listen to all those questions Julia, it’s heart breaking to even read it but in some ways the fact that they are so willing to talk about him with such honesty is a good thing, it is what will get you all through. I suppose the truth is that there are still a lot of crappy days/weeks/months ahead and the fact that you can always feel free to talk about Rog and have a cry and feel sad is the way you will keep going xxxx
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  • Reply
    Katie LifeonVistaStreet Haydock
    September 28, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    You are doing so well Julia! Don;t forget that. You are totally holding it together to be able to answer them and they have a clear understanding of everything.
    Just keep doing what you’re doing xx xx xx
    #sundaystars
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  • Reply
    Karen
    September 28, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Oh this is heartbreaking. How hard it must be for all of you. I am bombarded with questions about death from Freyja, I can’t bare how hard those questions and comments from Sam must be. And it never occurred to me about reading Stick Man.
    Love to you all, and thank you so much for joining in with #SundayStars
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  • Reply
    Maria Noell
    September 29, 2015 at 9:47 am

    You are doing amazing Julia, honestly so well! I can imagine it is the hardest thing ever when the children have questions and want to talk about things out of the blue. I wish there was a magic way to make this easier for you all. I just want to say that they are going to grow up knowing just how incredible and strong their Mum is and how they can talk to you about ANYTHING! Hopefully that will carry more weight than any fears of getting poorly xoxo

  • Reply
    Silly Mummy
    September 29, 2015 at 11:14 am

    This is heartbreaking, and I’m sorry. You’re right – it is unfair that some children have to face these adult truths when they are too young. I wish that wasn’t true for you and your children. Children are resilient though, their ability to adapt and cope is amazing, it is just a shame when they have to use those skills. It’s lovely that what Florence remembers is daddy’s love and friendship. I can see why a child Sam’s age would talk about it as he does, and ask those questions, too. In a sense, I kind of like the fact that kids will say the sort of things that Sam does to anyone. Really, why shouldn’t they? Yes, it can make adults feel a bit awkward, but so what? Sam lost his dad, it’s the biggest thing happening to him, and he should be able to talk about it however he wants. I think adults can deal with a bit of awkwardness so that a child can talk as they want to, personally. #twinklytuesday
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  • Reply
    Katie / Pouting In Heels
    September 29, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    You’re doing brilliantly Julia. But no you’re right, it’s not fair, in fact it sucks. No child should ever have to go through it. But you know what lovely lady, they’re gonna be just fine, because they’ve got you. So sorry to hear you’re having a tough few weeks. 🙁 Keep on keeping on lovely and in the meantime, maybe get some nice things in the diary to think about?Take care xxx
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  • Reply
    Lisa@intotheglade
    September 30, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    It’s difficult for adults to try to understand, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for Sam and Flo. It just doesn’t seem right that they, and you, have to deal with this already. Sending you lots of love x x x
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  • Reply
    International Elf Service
    October 1, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Oh lovely – it’s hard and I know it stays hard long after everyone else seems to have moved on. Thank goodness they feel able to talk to you and ask questions, even if it’s the same ones over and over. Much love as always xxx
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  • Reply
    Katie
    October 3, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Oh love,I can’t imagine how hard this is for you. Little ones can barely understand waiting till tomorrow, let alone forever and their innocence shows through in the things that they say and it shows that you have made them comfortable talking about it openly, which is a fantastic thing! Sending you big cwtches as always xxx
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  • Reply
    Caro | The Twinkles Mama
    October 9, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Aaah it makes me so sad. You’ve all been through SUCH a lot but, as you say, adults can at least understand what’s happening. Death is an unknown entity for a child. No little person should have to know anything about it until much later in life. I guess you just have to keep answering the questions, as best you can, and keep on being the fantastic mum that you are. Lots of love xx Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
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  • Reply
    Katy
    October 15, 2015 at 8:36 am

    It is great they are talking about him, as hard as it all is. I had to laugh about the chocolate from Santa though. You are doing such a wonderful job Julia and sharing little things like this will help so many people. xxxxx

  • Reply
    A bit of mum and son time - Rainbeaubelle
    October 25, 2015 at 7:54 am

    […] on the inside. When they’re tired and upset, they’re both more likely to cry ‘I want daddy‘ or ‘I miss my daddy’, something I’ve come to expect but it doesn’t […]

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