Nature, Nurture and The Memories In Between.

by Lori Dwyer on June 29, 2011 · 16 comments

Some days I wish I could see, all of this, this whole total life change we’ve had, through the eyes of my son. So I would know best how to ease his pain, what i can say that will be of the most comfort.

Other days, I’m so glad I’m spared that pain. Just imagining the pain of my little one is enough to break m. To be immersed it…. the pain would drown, unable to breath through the crushing viciousness of it on my chest.

I watch my son grieve as I do, back and forth, toward and away from the memory of his dad. Unable to watch TV shows or movies we used to enjoy with him, because to become trapped in a memory like that hurts, not while you’re in it- but once you remember that a memory is all it is.

Then, I watch him sleep on the floor, curled up around a pillow the way he used to with his dad. And I see him, mourning as I do. Pulling the memory close for comfort, as much as it cuts ans chaffs at your soul.

My son, he is more like his father every day. Nature, nurture, and the memories that fill in the gap.

In Tony’s eulogy, they mentioned our little boy, and the way he stands just like his father- one arm stretched out to lean against something for support, one foot crossed over the other. He still does that, stands like that… a habit. But he no longer tells me he’s being a man, just like Daddy.

And just recently, my son has developed a strong gag reflex to smell. Just like father had.

Nature, nurture, habit.

In a way, I feel grateful that he is old enough to have absorbed that core of masculinity his father had. I think that’s become intrinsic, his measure of masculinity. The Bump, she will miss her father (I wonder, how old she will be, when she starts asking questions, and realises a father is a generally accepted part of a family?), but, and it’s my own feminine and masculine stigma showing here- it seems less of a blow for a little girl to lose her father, than it is for a little boy.

I remind myself, that while I have a framework to fit his in, my son does not. Suddenly, his best friend, his idol… the centre of his world… was gone. With no explanation, except what I give him, which always seems futile, and never enough.

It seems important to remember the last time my children saw their father. But my memory tricks me, and the details aren’t solid.

I can’t remember if the Bump was awake when Tony came home that day, or if our arguing woke her up. I can’t remember, exactly, if Tony picked her up and gave her a cuddle.

My memory, a vague, shadowy one, it tells me he did. And I like to think of that as the last time she saw her father…. I hope, if she remembers anything at all, it’s that, and not the Other.

My little boy… I just don’t know. Tony put him to bed the night Before This, I remember that. It was Tony’s birthday, and I tried not to get cranky as he stirred up our incorrigible three year old right on sleep time.

I know it was a habit of Tony’s to say good morning to our son, our Chop, as he left for work in the mornings. Chop was usually awake, playing in his bedroom, safely behind a baby gate that served a double protection for our long flight of stairs. Tony would go in, say good morning, and bring the Chop a glass of milk to start the day, giving the Bump and I an extra half hour in bed.

Chop was, thankfully, sleeping when This Happened.I don’t know if Tony did his usual thing, on the 6th of January, if he crept in and had an early conversation with his son, a final goodbye with his best mate. I’ll never know.

But I like to think he did.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Bambi Kay September 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Your little son looks so much like his dad..I think it's the smile. Lori, my heart breaks just reading this post. SEnding you Love and hugs to you.


Krystyna July 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Of course he did.
He didn't think he was going to die that day. It was a day like any other day, so of course he did.


Amy July 1, 2011 at 11:30 am

this is my first visit…you are brave to open up and share! Like @Lynda "sometime words are just plain inadequate" thoughts and prayers for you and your family.


alantybor July 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

This comment has been removed by the author.


Melissa June 30, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Oh Lori, though I visit you here, and keep you in my thoughts and prayers I often fail to grasp the enormity of what has happened to you and your children. You've captured it today. I'll hold you guys close in my heart today. Sending love your way.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos June 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Sometimes words are just plain inadequate for feelings. That’s now for me, Lori. So insanely sorry you have had to go thru this nightmare of unexpected heartache.


Miss Pink June 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Tony did. I have complete belief that he had his morning chat with The Chop and that he had picked up The Bump for a cuddle. That is what they will remember.

It's good for them, but it leaves the burden you carry, the horrific memories, it leaves you alone with them. Such a massive thing for you to hold alone. I wish I could erase it from your mind and leave your last memory as a happy one too.


Eccles June 30, 2011 at 12:01 pm



Hear Mum Roar June 30, 2011 at 10:54 am

I feel so heavy after reading that. All I've got is ((HUGS))


Miss Cinders June 30, 2011 at 5:01 am



Fox in the City June 29, 2011 at 10:16 pm

I agree with Maxabella, it was his routine so he must have gone in and gave Chop those extra morning moments of guy time . . . it was a habit and we all know how hard those are to break.


Maxabella June 29, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Heart breaking, Lori.

I think he did. I really do. x


Thug in a Cocktail Dress June 30, 2011 at 12:15 am


what a rocky place in which your heart, mind, and soul reside.

one day your children will know what became of their father, but there will always, always be unanswered questions on everyone's behalf.

every human feels bewildered in the "not knowing" arena of our complicated lives.

you are not alone.


Crystal Cheverie June 29, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I think your other commenters are right – Tony would've gone in to see Chop, even if only out of habit.

Sigh… This is one of those times where I have no words. It just kills me that some people have to go through this kind of thing.

HUG! Still here, wishing healing, love and happiness for you and your children.


Denwise aka Denyse Whelan June 29, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Tony would not have missed that routine of love and care, you can be sure he went into see Chop. Yes. His Dad was there that morning. To think anything else is playing games in your head too. Tony and Chop. It is a combo that exists for all time in ways us females may never understand. Lori.
You are so careful to do all of the nurturing as a mumma and in place of their dadda. You are doing it just fine :-)
Love and Blessings xxxxx


Rhi@FlourChild June 29, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I'm sure he did too, that is a habit no Daddy would skip ;)

So sad for you and your kids Lori, posts like this one just hurt my heart thinking of you all.


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