My in-laws came over for brunch the other day. As happens often when we are with them, the conversation turned to Howie. His parents talk about when he was a child, my girls talk about him as a dad, and I usually end up telling stories from when we were dating or newly married.
This does not make any of us sad. I know for my girls, it makes them happy. They both laugh when we talk about the silly things he used to do, and it is so nice for them to remember what a great father he was.
I remember talking with a woman in the first few months after Howie died. She had lost her father at a young age, and sadly, years later also lost her husband. She told me that she was only seven years old when her dad died, and that her mother remarried a few years later. She then said that her stepfather would not allow pictures of her father in the house. Granted, when she was a child it was a different time, she is probably 20 years older than I am. Even so, I remember looking at her in disbelief.
She believed that because of not seeing those pictures, plus not speaking of her dad that often, she had a hard time remembering him and keeping the memories alive. I am sure that she was correct.
My girls were young when Howie died, especially Lily who was only 10.
I want their memories of him to be as vivid as possible.
I still have many family pictures up in our house. I also have boxes and boxes of pictures put away, which they do look at often.
His name and stories about him come up in conversation all the time, not just with my in-laws. I am always telling them which traits of theirs came from him. Lily looks exactly like him, and Amanda has more of his personality.
They are smart girls and they know how to use this against me. I get mad when they are messy, or complain too much, among other things. They always come back with “I got that from Daddy”. They think it will soften me. I have to admit, sometimes it does.
I believe it is so important for all of us to keep the memories alive. The more we talk, the more we seem to remember.
My father in law mentioned the name of a candy store by his office the other day. Howie used to bring me the best chocolate from there for any special occasion. I hadn’t thought about it in years. The minute he said it, tons of memories came back, along with wanting the candy! It was nice for thoughts to come up that hadn’t been on my mind for so long.
Memories can keep someone a part of you after they are gone. As time goes on and they are no longer in every thought, it is nice to keep a place in your mind for them. I hope that my girls can always hold on to special memories of their father. He will always be a part of all of us.
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.