Loving Daddy, Missing Daddy

I don’t know what it’s like to lose my dad.  Thankfully mine is still here. So I don’t know what it’s like to grow up without one but everyday I just watch my daughters to get a taste of what it must be like. To see them look out at the world and see that world as different to their own can be heartbreaking. When Evie lies in bed at night asking “why does Tess have a daddy and I don’t?” or when she says “it makes me sad that daddy isn’t here but Erin says I can share hers” – well it makes me shatter into tiny little pieces while I cuddle her and kiss her and try to make up for all those cuddles and kisses she misses getting from him. When Isla conjures up her tall tales about what her and daddy used to do together before he died it’s equally shattering. For Christmas I made each of the girls a baby book heavily featuring as many pics as I could of Daddy. This was quite a task when it came to Isla because he died when she was only weeks old. Now she goes to sleep every night kissing every fuzzy daddy pic I’ve cobbled together in her wee book and she tells me about each picture: “In this one daddy has just finished reading me my story – see there that’s the story book beside him on the sofa – and that’s me in my buggy waving to daddy, you can’t see him because he’s faraway  – and that’s me and Evie on daddy’s knee and he’s just fed us our milk.” Every photo has a narrative elaborated by Isla who bases it very loosely on the truth she sees within the image in front of her. This week I found a Flip camera that Col and I bought when Evie was tiny, before we upgraded to iphones that had video on them. There are 54 short videos on it. The majority of them are of Evie in her stream of firsts: Her first smiles, her first bounce in the door bouncer, her first rollover and her first sweet potato feed. Col’s hands, Col’s voice and the back of his head appear but few of his face and his smile. I wish I had had the forsight to nudge the camera his direction a few more times just so we would have had more of him to remember. When I showed Evie and Isla the clips Evie was so excited and poor Isla was excited for her too. And then she said, where are the clips of me and daddy? I have none. Not one. Gutting. She’ll have to continue to elaborate on the few still images we have of her and him instead. Here is my favourite though. It’s the one that brought on the tears, of course. And it’s the one that makes me ache to give my girls back the daddy that adored them so that they wouldn’t have to grow up without him. 

Col & Evie Sleeping from Widows Don't Wear Black on Vimeo.

*Video being tricksy so trying to convert it to play

8 Replies to “Loving Daddy, Missing Daddy”

  1. What a powerful message on the importance of fathers. Although your daughters have a grandfather and, I assume, other male figures in their lives, there is nothing like the actual thing. I applaud you for the incredible efforts you have gone through to preserve their father’s memory. I wish that every man who does not pay enough attention to his family – or is contemplating leaving his family – could read your post and realize the importance of his presence in his childrens’ lives. You are a remarkable woman and mother!

  2. Hi, I have been a widow for 2.5 years. Have no family. Feel so lonely and still cuddle on the sofa crying. When do things start feeling better ….. I can’t keep doing this on my own …. It hurts …..HELP

  3. Hi I lost my dad to a heart attack 14 years ago when he was 58 and I was 32 and I still think about him every day. I lost my husband 2 years ago next week to cancer when I was 44. I am grateful that my daughters were old enough (22 & 19) to have some wonderful memories of their dad that we can all remember together. It must be so difficult for you with your daughters being so young but it sounds like you’re doing amazingly well at keeping those precious memories alive xx

  4. YOU always manage to put my feelings of grief to paper so well, your words always help me not feel so alone. Thank You for being a comforting source during this crazy grief journey! As you know it is always the elephant in the room that everyone thinks gets easier with time 😦 I lost my husband in 8/13 and have 5 kids now 9, 8, 7, 4 and 3 with such similar actions and feelings.

    1. I have 5 kids too!! I just lost my husband right before New Years. Today was my first day to go it completely alone and I think I tromped through it well…I mean we did all survive one more day. Any words of wisdom from another mom of 5?

  5. this hits home, the 2 year anniversary of my husband’s death is coming up in 2 weeks. My daughter was almost 2 and is now realizing many other kids have moms and dads around.

  6. i lost my dad very suddenly when I was thirteen. My parents were married 21 years and my mother was just 41. I recall hearing songs and watching movies like Father of the Bride that would suddenly bring me tears. I soon became my mother’s ‘partner’ accompanying her everywhere and doing tasks my father would have done (turns out I’m pretty good with a hammer). She never remarried. It was difficult watching her be so in love with a ghost for so long. I only have one grainy video of my father taken at my cousins wedding the day before he passed. It’s a bit surreal…don’t really know what it’s like to have a dad. I now take tons of pics and video of my husband and in laws with my kids.

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