“Daddy can’t come back, can he?”
And the answer is always the same. “No baby, I’m sorry, he can’t”. I remind him that no matter where we are, or how long we wait, people just can’t come back from heaven.
I swallow how much I hate the taste of those words. Not their meaning so much as the look they leave behind. Resigned disappointment on the face of a little boy who knows too much about disappointment already.
Driving home one night, we see Venus; a bright pinprick of light protruding low on the horizon. It’s not a star, I explain. But it looks like one. So it’s good for wishing on, anyway.
The Bumpy Thing wishes to be a ballerina. That’s simple enough.
The Chop wishes for his daddy back.
And again, my heart breaks. I attempt to temper my response with understanding the emotion and still give it the reality of the truth.
It’s not fair. Children should have stars for wishing on. More than that, they should be allowed some hope that their wishes could come true.
While my son still pines for his father, my daughter’s grief is currently focused on something more childlike. It’s still heartbreaking, but in it’s normality, slightly less so.
The Bumpy Girl… she misses her cat.
It’s been weeks since Dim Sum died. Not a day has gone by without my baby girl telling me she misses him, that she wishes he were still here. She sleeps with a photo of him by her bed. She mourns him with all the ferocity of three year old emotions.
Part of me wonders if this is grief refracted and mirrored. Replacement grief, for something she never really got to feel. A way of dealing with the other things that hurt, using something symbolic and tangible to express the pain she doesn’t know how to otherwise.
But maybe that’s reading too far into it. Maybe it really is just as simple as missing the pet she loved so much.
Either way, there’s little else to do but to treat the symptoms of whatever’s hurting as they appear. I cuddle her and chat with her. I do my best to validate whatever she’s feeling.
And I count down the time until I can get her a kitten.
It’s a shallow, band-aid solution. But this kind of pain may be fixable, where other hurts are clearly not.