June 9th 2009
These are some of the top questions that some of you are asking, so I thought I’d think about them a little and see if I can answer them here.
- How’s Kai doing?
The simple answer is that he’s having a hard time. He daily talks about or asks about mommy. The first couple of weeks his sadness was obvious, and he often would get angry. It tore my heart apart every time, and in some ways I was more hurt by Kai’s frustration and sadness than my own.Lately, he seems to be less angry about her being gone. I’m a little concerned though, because when he says, “mommy’s dead” (which he says every time he talks about her), he adds a little forced giggled at the end. He might say something like, “Hey, those are mommy’s keys. Mommy’s dead. She’s in heaven… (little forced giggle)”. I reply with something like, “Yes, mijo. Mommy’s in heaven. Jesus is taking care of her. We miss her, but one day we will see her again.” He usually replies with something like, “Yeah… she’s dead (little giggle).”On the other hand, he has definitely gotten a lot more whiny and is acting out more than ever before. I think a lot of that is simply him being a 2 year old going on 3, but as a concerned parent I still can’t help but wonder how much of it is his little broken heart.
- What are you going to do?
Typically I think people are asking if we’ll stay in Whittier or if we’ll move back to Fresno where my family lives. Since my main concern is Kai’s stability and ability to cope, I want to do everything I can to keep things as consistent and “normal” for him as possible. That means we are staying here in Whittier. Kai loves his teacher at day care and she has really been great for him. I am so grateful for her and the support and attention the school gives Kai. Actually, the network of people that have come forward to help us through is amazing, and it wouldn’t make any sense to leave.At the same time, as you know, one of my bosses died two days after Monica. Since I worked closely with him, I feel like I need to do everything I can to hold the fort and come through for my co-workers and my other boss. The company that I work for is a small business and we are like family. I could never fill his shoes, but I can certainly do my part to keep things moving. Fortunately things are going smoothly as I take on some new responsibilites.
- What do you need/Is there anything I can do?
This question has been one of the hardest for me to answer; mostly because I just don’t know yet. Today is the 29th day, and I still don’t know. For sure I’ll need babysitters, but otherwise I don’t know. What am I supposed to need? Do I need something that I just don’t see yet? Sometimes I wish people would tell me what I need so I can go after it.I’ve thought about it a lot actually. The first thing that comes to mind is sleep. I’m physically exhausted and it has nothing to do with exertion. I’ve always had a problem sleeping; when I lay down my mind goes crazy. Now my thoughts stray to a more acute awareness of Monica being gone. Even tonight I tried to go to bed early and felt so sad/awkward/scared knowing where my thoughts would lead, that I decided to write this post instead. Hopefully I’m not totally rambling, ’cause I’m so tired even my eyes are blurred. The night before I called a buddy who I know hasn’t been going to bed early and we chatted til it got really late. ACtually, the worst part has been Kai’s new eratic sleep schedule. He’s been waking up several times a night and getting up each day about two hours earlier than normal. His teacher even told me today that he’s been taking wonderful naps at school lately. Hmmm… I wonder why?!The other thing I think I need is a new dream. For most of my formative years, I always had the dream of being a professional musician. As I got older my dreams changed, and I didn’t need a band to feel “fulfilled” or like I was doing something worthwhile. I was happy to move on, and taking care of and growing with my family became my dream. I loved the role of husband and dad. Now, that dream is gone. The role of dad is not the same with mommy gone, and although I still will do everything I can to be the best dad I can be, it doesn’t much feel like a “dream” anymore. In the meantime, I feel lost. What am I doing here; what’s my purpose? Who am I? Who do I want to be? I don’t really know anymore. It’s one of the most frustrating feelings I’ve ever had.
- Are you OK financially?
For the most part: yes. Monica did not have life insurance, but I have a good job and we had saved a little to buy a house, so I’m not in ruins. Since we were a two income family, however, I will most likely have to make some changes at some point. I bought one of those money manager computer programs and sucked in the incoming and outgoing data from the last several months. Without Monica’s income I am currently cash flow negative. I will certainly tighten the belt in some areas and make it work, but I may have to find a smaller apartment or something. Kai will receive a small monthly benefit ( about ~$200) from social security until he’s 16 so that will help.
- How are you doing?
Hmm. How do you answer that? There’s the safe “hanging in there”, or the “some times are better than others”, but I think those are more like polite responses. I don’t think anyone (others or myself) really has the time to answer that in passing anyways, and I’m not sure that most would really feel comfortable really hearing it. When I was in third grade, a local Indian chief from a San Joaquin valley tribe called the Yokuts came to visit our class. He came to talk about his culture, but the one thing I’ll never forget that he talked about was how our society is willing to make a greeting out of an important question like “How are you?” and not expect anything meaningful in return. His argument was that we ought to really care how people are doing, but instead we’re satisfied with just being polite. I don’t think he would be happy with me as I give my safe/polite answers. I don’t mind the question and I appreciate people’s concern, but I’m usually not ready to give an answer without pulling up a chair and a box of puffs tissues.