Our first vacation without dad (or mom)
Today we close the month of July and from tomorrow the holidays begin for many families. People greet each other with more joy and talk about their vacation destination.
But as not everyone likes Christmas, not everyone is happy in the summer. And you have to respect it.
In my case, for example, when the heat comes I cannot help remembering that year in which my husband, the father of my children, my friend and partner died. I just wanted to be in bed, cover myself and forget about the world, but that was not a possible option. The children needed their vacations like everyone else and that year more, because they missed their father, who died a few months earlier.
So this summer, finally, I have decided to share my experience, with the intention of helping other fathers and mothers, widowers or divorced, who this year face their first vacation without a father or a mother. Because it can be done and our children will always thank us.
First reaction: hate summer
Logical, right? You see everyone happy, programming their summer days as a family and you are very, very sad, and your family (at least the one you created) no longer exists, while the others are happy. Or so you think. Because, although there are not so many radiant families of happiness and not everyone enjoys an idyllic holiday, you feel it that way. It’s like when you look for a baby and only look pregnant. Well now that you miss what you lost, you only see parents with children enjoying all together.
We each (and each) live it our way, as we can, because we have no idea what to do or how to face the new situation. When a recent widow asks me what to do, I answer with humility that there is no magic recipe.
“Do what you can, whatever comes out of your heart and you’re sure to be right.”
When I was alone with my children I was, unconsciously, separating myself from those old friends, with whom we all dated together with our little ones. It was not intentional, but I couldn’t bear to see what I had lost so close.
Without looking for it, I began to meet other mothers who faced motherhood alone, like me: mothers from school and daycare, coworkers, friends of friends…
The circle of friendships changed without realizing it. Of course, my lifelong friends were still there, trying to support me! But they didn’t understand how I felt and my children and I needed to be with other children and parents who didn’t remind us how much we had lost.
Of course, my attitude can be selfish, but as I have made clear from the beginning, everyone lives the duel (also separation is a loss) as best they can, trying to get ahead, neither better nor worse than others. I try not to judge, and I would like them not to judge me either.
So yes, I hated the damn vacation, the summer that never ended.
There is always a different first summer
The first and perhaps most important (I think) is to decide that you do want to go on vacation with your little ones, that you want them to live in the most normal in a sad and abnormal stage for everyone.
Sadness will accompany you, always. We are not going to fool ourselves: losing your travel companion changes you. I have never been the casual and cheerful woman of before, but I have enjoyed every moment shared with my children, I laugh with them, with the people I love most, my motor in life.
And leisure time, outside the routines of everyday life, leave unforgettable moments with the family. Yes, in family, because with the passage of time you convince yourself that you continue to have your family, with your children, even if it is not the one you dreamed.
But for that, there is still time. First, we must think about how to overcome the first summer.
Some of my divorced friends went on vacation to the beach with their children, others opted for trips for single parents with children, those who already had teenagers even dared with some organized trip abroad … But there are also those who consumed by grief are unable to get out of bed even to go to work and send their children to grandparents’ house.
Everyone does what they can (sorry to repeat it so much, but it’s my motto). None makes it better or worse.
We all chose to choose the option that came out of our hearts, although it could have been a different one.
My daughter was 7 years old and my son was 6 months old when his father died, so thinking about going with them to a beach place by myself, as we had planned all four together, it was impossible. I didn’t feel strong.
I know I didn’t do it well, but when I lost Arturo, I turned completely at work, the more hours the better, so as not to face the harsh reality. I even worked at night so I didn’t have to lie in bed alone.
I don’t want him to misunderstand, but even looking at my children, with such a great physical resemblance to his father, it hurt, because he reminded me that he was no longer here. Seeing how my baby crawled for the first time or said his first words without being able to share it with his father, it hurt me. Hard to understand? Yes, but it was how I felt, although it never occurred to me to tell anyone when everyone said to me: “How lucky you are, it has left you a decal. You will see your baby grow and he will be like his father.”
But they were my children, and I had to make sure they led a life as ‘normal as possible’. So during the course I took them to kindergarten and school, picked up my daughter from extracurriculars, took her to chess championships, to birthdays, I took pictures at school parties… And when the course ended, I sent them with their grandmother to the village house.
I know that many will judge me for ‘that easy way out,’ but it was not at all. I didn’t want to separate myself from the people I loved most in the world and the only reason I woke up every morning, but I needed to cry everything I didn’t allow myself to do when they were in front of me (although I didn’t always manage to avoid tears in their presence ) .