Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Aimee's Missing...

The big news in the Rhoads household this week - Rowan lost her first tooth! She'd been excited about it ever since it first started to wiggle, and on Sunday, in the middle of eating her cereal, it came out (and was immediately swallowed, causing no small amount of consternation on her part). I had to assure her the tooth fairy would still reward her for the tooth, even if it was M.I.A.
Rowan showing off her missing tooth

But this event, like many others, deeply underscores Aimee's absence. Every single time Rowan does something really cool or passes another key milestone in her life, I miss Aimee all the more. "She should be here for this" is the common refrain running through my mind. Aimee would be so proud of all the things Rowan has accomplished in the last 15 months:

  • Moving from crib/trundle bed to 'big girl' bed
  • Being weaned from using pacifiers
  • Finishing her first year of preschool
  • Starting ballet classes
  • Starting to learn to read and write
And more I'm sure I'm forgetting at the moment.

And that's just the beginning. Rowan turns five years old soon. For some reason, that number seems like an especially big deal to me. I wish Aimee was going to be here for it. Next fall she starts Kindergarten. In the next year or so she'll read her first book, learn to ride a bike, and so many, many more things.

Aimee will miss every single one of them. And that is just not fair, for any of us. 


  1. Pat,
    I too lost my young wife, Jessica, about 7 months ago. I have a son, James, who is now just over 3. I have read a few of your posts and all I can say is thankyou for writing this blog. It makes me feel a little more normal to hear what you have been experiencing and I feel as if I am writing your posts for you. The similarities in how you are processing and feeling the emotions of your experience are uncanny.
    I too feel that every experience and milestone for James is going to have some sort of gap, something missing, for him and for me. He is always going to miss his mom (she died of cancer, diagnosed shortly after his birth) and is always going to think of her during important moments of his life. And you are right, it is not fair, for you or for your beautiful daughter, but life goes on, or so I am told.
    I just took James to his first swim lessons this last week, so very hard to do this all on my own, so hard to let others help me (I am very independent).

    I wish I would have found your blog months ago, I plan on going back and reading everything you have posted over the next few days and I hope that you keep writing, give us other guys a little behind the curve what it is like to date, become intimate again, maybe no juicy details, but how you feel, etc. I just changed my facebook status from Married to Widowed today, I have been looking, but don't feel any desire to make a move towards another woman, kind of thinking also of trying a dating site on the web.

    Thanks again,
    Jason, Widowed in Spokane.

    1. Jason,
      I am so terribly sorry for your loss, and for your son's (not to mention Jessica's family and friends). I am so glad that you found this blog, and that it's helpful to you. All I can say, from someone who's about 7-8 months further along in this process, is that :
      1. It does get easier,
      2. Focusing on the needs and well-being of your child will help number 1 be more true more quickly, and
      3. Don't focus TOO much on number 2, at the expense of processing your own grief, or it will come back to haunt you later, big time.

      I actually am preparing to write a blog post about the whole dating thing, but it's been hard to write, and may take some time yet before it gets done. (Or, as sometimes happens to me, it may suddenly come together in one fell swoop, and be published a day or two from now.) In any event, know this much: it is possible to begin building a relationship with someone else, but you really have to make sure you're in a place where you can let her into your heart. You may still have strong feelings for Jessica, but there will be a point that it'll also be ok to let someone else in.


      PS, I tried eHarmony, and found that process, while a bit detached and clinical, actually let me have some control over the pace at which I got to know people, and meeting them in person is delayed while you get to know each other online. I think for people in our situations in particular, that aspect of it may be very helpful. Just a thought.

  2. Hi Pat- This post (like so many of yours) really hit home. Last week I took my son to his first Mets Spring Training game and somewhere in the middle of the game he turned to me and said "I miss daddy". It seemed to come from out of nowhere, but it also made perfect sense. I can't help but think somehow Joe was there with us in the moment as just a few minutes later the bullpen catcher came over and threw one of the balls to my little guy who had been patiently waiting and calling out for one. Even as young as he is (2 1/2) he had a connection with his dad through baseball and through the Mets and we find in these milestones those bittersweet moments of happiness and pride as parents mixed with pain and longing for the one who is so obviously missing. Praying for you and Rowan...

    1. Anne,
      Your story of the Mets game with your son was so bittersweet. On the one hand, I can totally relate to doing things with your child that they used to love doing with the now deceased parent. And you know that deep down they really appreciate it. But it also brings out that missing of the parent in them as well. I do believe that's a GOOD thing, but I know it's hard. Either way, you and I both clearly understand how those activities and those milestones will probably always have at least some feeling of loss attached to them.