Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Me, Myself and I

Monday, August 18, 2014
Posted By: 
Diana Maggio-Gumushian

It’s back to school time, and my sons will be starting 8th and 4th grade this year. The coming year brings a lot of important milestones, and even more important decisions. School starting always brings a sense of reevaluation for me. My oldest started 2nd grade without his dad, a year which included first communion. I was still in a daze when he and I walked up the aisle, and I held back the tears of sadness, feeling the weight of being alone as I placed my hand on his right shoulder, and we stood there, the 2 of us, without his dad. This year, when he graduates from 8th grade, it will be he and I once again. We will both feel that emptiness, that missing person, that hole. Six years later, it will look and feel different, and yet, that familiar emptiness will be there.

Sometimes I forget that my kids experience things in a different perspective than I do. For me, I think about how I wasn’t supposed to be raising two kids alone, how all the important decisions fall on me, how I alone am responsible for the health and well being of myself and my kids. My kids see it from the perspective of their dad is always missing...from the everyday to the really important things. Every once in a while, they knock me down with a random comment. It might be said in anger, or hurt, or frustration, or loneliness, but it feels the same. Like I am letting them down. Like I will never be enough. Like I am screwing them up somehow. I have to remind myself that they feel the same sense of missing, of loss, that I do, only from a child’s perspective. My 9 year old angrily reminded me yesterday “you don’t know what it’s like not to have a dad since you were 3 years old!!” And he’s right. I don’t. It broke my heart in ways unimagineable.

I worry about my children. I wonder if they will turn out to be the same kids they would have had their dad not died? Will they grow up with anxiety, stress, sadness or fear they would not have if he was here? Will they be stronger and more independent? Will they have trust issues? Will they be more or less emotional? It’s a slippery slope to imagine the what ifs of how our lives would have turned out were he still here versus the one we have because he isn’t. So I have to stop myself and focus on the here and now. And it sucks.

In the next few months, I have to decide what high school to send my oldest to next fall. There are financial worries, concerns about what school will provide the best education, logistics of how I am going to get 2 children to two different schools on a daily basis, and the stress it will cause on all of us. The older they get, the harder it becomes to do this “solo parenting” alone. They are getting older, but the responsibility that it brings increases. Yes, they are more independent in the day to day things like being able to make their own lunches or help around the house or complete homework more independently, yet as they get older, they require more guidance on things of more significant importance. They are getting to the age where having a male influence becomes more important. And it’s just me. And I do the best I can, but it often times doesn’t feel like enough. My heart breaks for them.

I am weary. And scared. And lonely. And fearful. It’s just me in all the important decisions to come, all the things I have to consider regarding their future. We have less than 6 months to figure it out. It makes me feel weak, inadequate, and scared I’ll do something wrong that will make it even more difficult than it already has been for my kids. And yet I trudge forward, trying to feel confident in the only person I can rely on: me, myself and I. The three of us have a lot responsibility, and a lot to accomplish. I hope we get it right.


Diana, I have all the same worries, fears, etc. My oldest is a senior in high school so we are entering into the college search, road trips, application process. I am so scared. My husband was supposed to be the one in charge of this...and of course, my daughter wants to attend his alumnus. My other child just got her driver's permit and the youngest is on the brink of teen hood. With every teenage battle, limit pushing, stress, poor decision making, poor friend choices, I wonder whether or not we would be having the same issues if my husband was still here to help steer the ship. There are good kids, but there are struggles, and I second guess myself, a lot. I know we would be doing a better job parenting, guiding and disciplining if we were still a 'team'. I don't know at what point we will be able to look back and think "I did o.k." but I do hope that moment will come the end of all of our parenting alone journeys.

Hi Diana I just wanted to let you know that your post really hit home. I also am raising 2 boys and have the exact same worries, wonders and heart aches. My boys are now 4 and 5. I constantly worry about them and also wonder how they will turn out. I think of them missing their dad and how sad it is to watch my kids grieve. My boys also say things to me out of anger. I know it is their grieve. I feel helpless. I can't fix it. You did a great job exexpressing yourself. I can totally relate. Thanks for posting. Our lives are a mystery and I agree we have a tremendous amount of responsibility. I too feel scared loney and fearful but you are right the best we can do is hope we get it right.

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