Sunday, December 9, 2012

My poor little girl

So, I had another post planned for today, already written and everything. But then, this happened...

As I put Rowan to bed tonight, I talked to her a little bit about some of the dates coming up. Christmas. Vacation from school. And I also talked to her a bit about the upcoming anniversary of Aimee's death. We talked about recognizing that day by writing a letter to mommy, and Rowan talked about what she'd say. Then she said she'd draw three pictures of herself: one happy, one sad, and one angry.
This must have been one of the
happy times.

Me: "The happy one for all the times you've been happy the past year?"
Rowan nodded.
Me: "And the sad one for the times you've been sad, and the angry one for the times you've been angry?"
Another nod.
Me, trying to get into what might be going through Rowan's mind: "Have you been angry at mommy?"
Rowan shook her head to indicate that she had not been angry with mommy.
"Oh, that's good. Because I want you to know, sweetie, that it's not mommy's fault she gone."

Apparently, that was a trigger of some sort.

Rowan burst into tears, sobbing harder and longer than she ever has. Usually when she's cried about Aimee, it's lasted a few minutes. This time it went on and on, and as much as I held her and stroked her head, she was inconsolable for some time. When she finally settled back down, she asked, "Why did mommy leave? Why did she go on that [scuba diving] trip?"

This was another instance of Rowan surprising me, as I just didn't expect this kind of question for several more years. But I'm sure it's normal to wonder why the person you love made the decisions they did that ultimately led their death. Aimee decided to go scuba diving, and as a result, she died. So why did mommy make that choice?

I answered her, "Honey, the scuba diving trip shouldn't have been that dangerous. And the more dangerous part, the diving part, went ok as far as we know. The boat should have been safe, and should not have sunk. Mommy should have been safe on the boat."

Rowan seemed to understand this, and we moved into a now familiar phase of Rowan processing grief over Aimee's death - she held onto one of the laminated photos of Aimee and through me, looking at the photo, Rowan talked to Aimee about what she was thinking, feeling, and doing. There were several times where Rowan's voiced cracked as she talked, but eventually she worked through it and ended up happy as she wrapped up her conversation with 'mommy'. She did, however, keep clutching that photo as she settled in to sleep.

And then I, with my head lying next to Rowan, cried for her pain and mine.

On a side note, Aimee has been VERY much on my mind the last few days, even more so than normal. And I can feel this swell of emotion building more and more each day as we get closer to the anniversary. What's more, I anticipate that once December 18 is in the rear view mirror, things will not get better right away. I actually think they'll stay tough until after New Years, which was the point last year when I began to try and pick up the pieces of my life and start over.


  1. Hi Pat, this post brought tears to my eyes. I can't even imagine how hard this must be. Rowan is blessed to have you as such a positive life-force, you have a great attitude. Sending my love!

  2. Dear God in heaven I pray for you and your little girl, Pat. There's just some things that little girls, much less their daddies, should never have to live through. This is at the top of the list. But we suffer on as a living testament to the ones who gave us life and held meaning in our lives. God bless you and God bless Rowan.

  3. Pat, at least Rowan is letting it out, and not holding it in. You are being as strong as you can for her. I know she will have alot of "why's" to come. And doing the best you can to answer them for her at her tender young age. Be stong for her, everyone will keep you in their thoughts and prayers.

    1. Oh yeah, I agree that it's good that she's letting it out. I work to make Rowan feel safe about sharing her grief whenever she needs to. The last thing I want is for her to feel like she has to bottle it up. I know that means I'll be answering her questions for years to come, but I welcome the chance to help her through this in any way I can for as long as it takes.

  4. Pat,
    You should know that you are doing a good job. You are an amazing (very overused word but absolutely applicable in this situation) Father. Letting that sweet little girl process her feelings over and over with you by her side is so good for her. I hate that things have to be the way they are, but that little girl is in loving, competent hands. I have no question of that and Im sure Aimee doesn't either. Thank you for sharing- Becky

    1. Aimee had more faith in me than I did. Now I'm trying to live up to it.