Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bittersweet.

This pregnancy, this child Daryl and I have created, this wonderful new chapter we're entering into in our lives...it all strikes me as so bittersweet.

Staring at this sweet baby of ours in the u/s picture, I have to swallow down a lump in my throat. As s/he gets bigger and looks more like a BABY (and less like an alien-peanut), I realize just how much I miss my father. And just how much I am angry that he'll never get to hold his first grandchild in his arms and kiss that baby's sweet cheek.

That ache in my heart, created almost seven years ago, is hurting fresh again. Like a scab I've picked off a not-totally healed over wound.

Before our appointment yesterday, I was already feeling slightly melancholy. But once at the doctor's appointment yesterday, when the baby Cashew popped up on the screen, my eyes lit up in delight.

I feigned mock-horror and cried out, "Oh look at that big nose! The baby has my 'Smith nose' My Dad would be so proud!" And almost immediately the baby rolled over, as if we'd offended him or her and we giggled as s/he showed us his backside.

"Look, "Daryl said. "You hurt his feelings!" Eventually the little one turned back around, all forgiven, flailing kicks and waving hands (future soccer player? or ballerina, perhaps?) and both Daryl and I watched enthralled as our love for each other wiggled and danced on the screen.

Today.

I drove to work this morning with tears in my eyes. There is Smith-blood running through that baby's veins. And it hurts me to think he or she will never get to meet such an integral part of our family.

How do I introduce this figure in my baby's life, a figure who is now nothing but a memory, no longer skin and bones to hug and kiss? How do I let him know all about his Pop-Pop who he'll never get to meet? Can I take my baby to my father's grave? Is that too morbid? OR will this baby see the beauty I see in this cemetery, and feel the comfort and peace that stows over me there...up on the hill, in my father's place of rest, as the breeze rustles through the tall Oaks and the warm sun smiles down on us? Do I tell him how his Pop-Pop loved peanut butter cups, black coffee and garlic bagels with strawberry cream cheese? And how his Mommy will still sometimes leave a peanut butter cup or a penny at that stone, as a gift, as a reminder that she stills thinks of him often, misses him, loves him?

I called my Mom a little while ago to tell her that I emailed her the u/s pictures of her grand-baby. She immediately clicked open her email, while I stayed on the phone, and we discussed the baby and his growth and his 'Smith nose'. I hesitantly mentioned how I was feeling sad the past two days, missing Daddy more so than usual.

"That's weird--" She replied, "--because I was feeling that way this morning."

My Mom and I often have this happen. One of us tells the other how Dad has permeated our thoughts only to find out the other has been having those SAME thoughts all day. It's comforting to me, to know that I'm not alone, and that she shares that same ache with me.

Almost seven years. You'd think "Isn't she over her Dad's death by now?"

No. I honestly don't think I'll ever get over it. I think I will continue to miss him more and more every day, especially as this baby continues to thrive inside of me, and wish he was here to go through this experience. I wish he was here, my big, strong Daddy, to hug me again. HIS baby.

I wish....

22 comments:

Stephanie said...

Wow..what a touching story! I cant imagine how you feel right now..but always know that your love will shine through for him and your little cashew will always see that!
I love the little pic of cashew...he/she is getting so big!
Just wait until you start to feel the baby move..its the craziest feeling in the whole world..yet the best!
Thanks for the update, maybe you shoudl bring a pic of the u/s to your dads grave to show him his beautiful pic of his grandchild!!

RCRambling said...

Glad all is going well with the baby!

As for your feelings, I do understand in a way. Growing up, my grandparents lived under three miles from the house where I spent most of my childhood. Barely a few days went past without me seeing my grandfather, and I would say I would talked to them almost daily when I was younger.

My grandfather passed away about three and a half months prior to me finding out I was pregnant. My original due date was calculated as a year from the day he had the stroke that ultimately took him from us.

Although it isn't my dad that I lost, I had many moments like this while pregnant, and I've had many more since he has been born. And like you, I will call my mom and his name will come up (he was her dad), and so frequently, we find we have both been thinking similar thoughts about him at the same time.

It still hurts, but I console myself with the knowledge that he is here. Not physically, but I have to believe he has witnessed all of this somehow, and that maybe, just maybe, he and Little Dude met briefly in passing from one world to the next.

But what I wouldn't give to see him holding my son (his great-grandson) in his arms. He would have adored him.

Maybe, as a keepsake for your son, you could write letters to your dad, about everything you are experiencing, and then include them in a book of pictures you may have of you dad. It would make for a great journal - and maybe a way to give you some peace.

I know I keep pictures of my grandfather around, and Little Dude can point out the pictures of "great grandpa."

bekah said...

dont ever feel bad for missing your dad. He is a part of you, and when a part of you is taken away, a void if created. That pain may (and probably has to an extent) lessen, but no one should expect it to go away.

And..for the record, I dont think it is morbid to take the baby to his gravesite. Some people find comfort in things like that, some do not. I for one do, I left my wedding bouquet by my pop-pops grave, it was something I needed to do.

rejoice in the knowledge that a part of your father lives on in your child.

Kat said...

It is such a tribute to your dad that you miss him so. What a wonderful relationship you must have shared. And that relationship will live on in you and the relationship you have with your child. You are such a part of your dad that your child will know your father through you.

My sister died when she was 9 years old, and I wasn't even born yet. My mom and dad kept her such a part of our family that I feel I did/do know her. My mom and I would often (at least twice a week) take walks through the cemetary (which is now only 1 block from where I live) where my sister is buried. I never considered it morbid at all. And now that cemetary is one of my most peaceful spots.

Your dad will be a part of your child's life. Maybe not in the way that you always hoped and envisioned, but he will be there nonetheless.

~**Dawn**~ said...

You know what, April? All of those things you wondered if you should or shouldn't do with your baby? You should do them all. It is up to you to share the legacy of your Dad with your child. Up to you to share the stories & the memories when you flip through old photos or carry on a tradition, passed down lovingly from one parent-child to the next. Up to you to show the serene beauty & peace a loved one's final resting place can & should be, and how love goes on & on, expressed through a trinket left by a headstone or in the sharing of stories. Your baby will learn what you teach him/her, and opening up who you are & the memories & feelings you have will be part of that process. I always listened, rapt, when my Gram or my Gramp or my Dad told me these stories of times gone by, of people I never was able to meet, of memories that took place before my appointed time in this world came around, and I cherish them all as they weave the fabric of my life, each & every one. Your father's love for his grandchild *will* be passed to your baby--through *you*. (((HUGS)))

Aimée said...

What a touching post, and I don't think it is morbid to take the baby to the grave if it is a place that you feel peaceful and would like to share. I can't imagine that you can put a time limit on the pain of such a loss. I can't believe how big s/he already is!

Morgan said...

I'm sorry you are having to struggle with this during such a joyous time in your life. I hope things get better for you sweetie.

Melissa said...

I don't think you ever get over the death of a loved one. I know I miss my gp's every day and they weren't my parents.

I think you did good to remember that you little cashew will be a part of your Dad...not only by whatever looks he or she may inherit but by the stories and memories that you tell cashew. You can make your Dad as much or as little a part of Cashew's life.

Hope never got to meet my grandfather but she's got his eyes and he would be so tickled, we tell her quite often about him and the fect that he had grey eyes.

You will do the same!!

Keri said...

You let your baby know what a great man your dad is. What a great grampa. Show him/her pictures often. go to visit often. Establish a bond beyond the physical.

I show Ava pictures and tell her stories about my Dad... even though she will never meet him

MarciaBrady said...

Ok...where was the tissue warning!!??

I think you should tell your child everything you can about your father. Maybe put together your thoughts now in a journal or scrapbook that s/he can have when they're old enough.

I don't think you would ever stop missing your father. I still have my dad, but he's been sick in the past and I worry about losing him. I already get sad about it and he's still here. I know that's crazy, but I just love him so much and can't imagine him not being here. Dad's are invincible, or so we think!

I never knew my grandmother on my mom's side or my grandfather on my dad's side, but I love to hear stories about them and how I have my grandmother's personality and looks and how my grandfather would have spoiled me rotten and couldn't wait until I was born. Unfortunately, he died a few months before I was born.

So, go on and tell your child everything! They'll love hearing it!

Tabitha said...

April ~ I understand totally!!
My Dad died in 1994 ~ 3 years before my son was born and I felt almost the exact same emotions as you have described in this post.
Both my chidren know that they have a Grandad in heaven ~ they have seen pictures ~ I have told them all about him ~ how wonderful he was ~ all his old stories from his army days. They have visited the grave yard with me ~ laid flowers ~
I know that your little cashew will also know how wonderful your Dad was and although he is no longer here ~ you can still tell him/her all about him.
I miss my dad terribly and my heart aches as if he died just yesterday ~ I will never get over it!
Love and big hugs ~ Tabitha XXX

The Captain's Wife said...

I know it's not the same as your dad...but I feel very similar about my Grandma. I was very close with her and knew I was pregnant (the first time) when she was dying. I chose not to tell her, as I didnot want her to hold onto life any longer...damn it here come the water works again~

What I am trying to say is, he (and she) may not be here to hold our babies, sooth us when we need it, etc..but they are here. They are all around us. They are part of the protectors of us and our little ones while we carry them....

Robyn said...

I'm sure you will do a fine job letting your little one know about your Dad. You are already blogging about it. I thought like a previous commenter, maybe write some letters or something and make one of those blurb books for the little cashew.

Big D said...

OMG NO MORE TEARS JESUS I really think there should be a tissue warning even though I was warned I still am un prepared

kittyconcerto.com said...

I was nearly crying.... until I read Big D's comment above. Guys! LOL.

I want to reach out to you so badly. I know so well how exciting and tragic this time is.

All I can say is that your father's love, kindness and wisdom still live on thru you and your mother, which you can then share with your own child.

And I don't think anybody truly gets over a death of a loved one. Ever. All we can do is choose to live our lives the best we can without their physical beings still with us.

BIG HUGS.

Dianna said...

Good Lordy I'm crying... A girl and her Daddy...that's special stuff!
Things happen every day that remind you of your Dad I'm sure~just make sure when your little one is here that you tell them all of those little quirky, special, wacky, funny, sad, silly, wonderful things that pop up daily. Your little one will get to know his/her Grandfather and see just how much you still think of him and love him.
Hope your heart is feeling better hon.

Stephanie said...

I read your post, and started thinking about what I could write in my comment. Then I read your other comments, and to be honest, so many have said what I wanted to say to you, and so eloquently. I think it is wonderful that you are even thinking about how to make your father a part of yuor child's life.

Heather said...

So I have been laying low and just reading and not commenting however this post really needed me to comment. I have been where you will be. My mother passed away in 1999 so when my daughter...who would have been her first and only granddaughter...was born it was a very bittersweet moment. They handed my little girl to me and I looked down and saw my mother. Therefore her name became my daughter's name. Well the years passed by and you bet I brought my daughter to the memorial garden where my mom's ashes are buried and just this past year as my daughter really started to understand Heaven she is now learning about her grandmother she never met and learning how she looks just like her and has her name from her.

April said...

Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments. While I'm crying again, it's okay, because I know you ALL are right. Only I can make my father "come alive" by the stories I choose to tell my child. I know I can do it, and I like the idea of writing down letters and stories to someday share with our Cashew. I have actually written down some memories of me and my Dad already in the forms of short stories so maybe I'll keep it up in that form.

I know Daryl never got a chance to meet my Dad and while that hurts, I think I've done a good job of telling him all about my father, the kind of man he was and still is to me, and I know that Big D feels like even though he never "met" Dad, he stills "knows" him. And that helps. I will do the same with our child.

Thanks again. I'm off to get a tissue.

Stephanie said...

I am sharing your tears because this post made me cry too. There is one member of my family I would have done anything to have my daughter meet. Unfortuantely that was not to happen.

I have a feeling your son/daughter will know of what a great man your father was and what he still means to you.

Cecily R said...

Something tells me your dad is the one who is sending Cashew to you...and that he knows that little soul already. :)

Jaina said...

I love what Cecily said. Absolutely perfect truth.

::hugs:: Lots of pictures, stories and video clips.