Like the majority of mid-life widows, I have children — a 22-year-old girl and a 28-year-old man. My husband and I put a lot of energy and love into raising those two. He was a great dad who they loved immensely.
The girl was a delight growing up; the boy more of a challenge — particularly for me: prickly, argumentative, overachieving, no-nonsense — in some ways like me.
But since Tom died, my relationship with both kids is genuinely good — full of mutual love and warmth. They are fine, young adults, kind, stable, mature, fun-loving and open. When the three of us get together, we have fun, which I know would make Tom happy. I get great satisfaction from how happy and well-adjusted my kids are. It’s a testament to me and Tom’s strong, happy 28-year marriage.
I had a couple heart-warming, fun, fifty-something birthday nights with them: drinks, dinner, drinks in our ravaged but slowly rising hometown of Detroit. I had maybe the best mother’s day ever last year: a matinee movie, a couple microbrews and a dinner the kids made at my house. Mother’s Day with Tom and the kids was sometimes stormy and not-always-so memorable.
Other outings — Sunday night dinners at my house, restaurant dinners, downtown happy hours, movies, trivia with my son and his friends — reinforce our love, our bond as a family.
The kids have moved on from grief better than me, but it’s to be expected. They have their whole lives ahead of them and much good stuff to come. Their lives have been impacted by the death of their dad, but not even close to how it has changed my life.
But my continuing close relationship with our kids is a delightful positive that has come out of Tom’s death. And it will help sustain me for the rest of my life.