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 |
Me: "The happy one for all the times you've been happy the past year?"
Me: "And the sad one for the times you've been sad, and the angry one for the times you've been angry?"
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.