Saturday, March 17, 2012

A few words about Rowan

One of the areas where I have had the most fear is in the arena of caring for Rowan through her own grief. I have NO idea how a three year old grieves the loss of her mother. I've got her seeing a therapist that specializes in childhood grief and trauma (and she's not cheap, either). But Rowan only sees her every other week, and I'm with her pretty much every day. I've been worried I might do or say the wrong thing, although after three months, I am starting to get a little more comfortable in navigating this with her.

Aimee and Rowan walking
and holding hands in Key West
But counseling or not, one thing is for sure: Rowan is starting to open up more. For most of these first few months, Rowan has not initiated conversation about Aimee hardly at all. If I've initiated a conversation on the topic, she'd respond, but not work to continue it. In fact, she'd been reluctant to talk about Aimee or her death too much, so I didn't push it. But that's starting to change.

Over the last week or so, she's starting shifting a lot. Several times now, Rowan has said, "I miss mommy." This is big because she used to never say that unprompted. Now she is. She's started talking about seeing mommy when she gets to heaven and "jumping onto mommy's cloud with her." Rowan has also talked about 'pulling mommy back down' from heaven so she could see mommy again. And then a couple of days ago, she pretended to do just that, and then asked me to pretend to be mommy so Rowan could talk to her. I obliged her, and it seemed to make her happy. (On a side note, I am used to pretending to be princes, kings, unicorns, pirates, mermaids, giants, Angry Birds and Piggies, and characters from any number of Nickelodeon Jr shows. But pretending to be Aimee was quite a stretch for me.)

Oh, and Rowan did the sweetest thing the other day. She saw a framed picture of the three of us (me, Rowan, and Aimee.) on a side table, and she walked over and kissed it. When I asked her what she was doing, she answered, "kissing mommy."

On the one hand, I'm happy to see Rowan progressing and starting to work through her loss outwardly. It's easier for me to discern what to do or say when Rowan's emotions are being manifested outwardly. On the other hand, it makes her sadness and grief more visible, which is heartbreaking for me to see. Seeing her tender, sweet little spirit so upset is wrenching for me, and it's hard not to get very angry that my little girl has to go through this. It is incredibly unfair that Aimee was taken from us.

And dammit, my little girl should not have to grow up without her amazing and incredible mother.


  1. Your daughter is so fortunate to you have for a father and for you to have her as a daughter. I wish I could change the fact that you lost your dear wife and Rowan lost her mommy. Even though it is hard, I have to believe that Aimee was called to heaven for a really, really, really good reason. Thinking of you and your daughter and sending good wishes your way, always.

  2. My heart is deeply touched by your courage to share your innermost emotions here – thank you!

    Sweet Rowan has painted a beautiful image of “jumping onto mommy’s cloud” when she goes to heaven, as well as “pulling mommy back down” so she can see Aimee. In her precious innocence she has ministered to me - with images that I can personally draw upon to comfort myself as my mommy is gone too… a very long time ago – much too young and tragic as well.

    Although we have never met, I am absolutely certain of this; that you are indeed the very best prince, king, unicorn, pirate, mermaid, giant, angry bird and piggy that your baby-girl could hope for! And I believe wholeheartedly, that you also make a good ‘mommy’ when Rowan needs to talk to Aimee.

    I pray God’s comfort and healing for you and Rowan… and thank you again for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much Zelda. One of the reasons I keep sharing my experiences, thoughts, etc through this blog is in the hope that someone else will get something from what I'm going through. Maybe even just the knowledge that someone else may be experiencing the same things they are or have gone through.