Introducing my kids to my father didn’t go as I had always thought it would. I always planned my dad to be with me and meet my babies in the flesh. But that’s not how it worked out. My father would leave this world too soon. He died three weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer; far too sudden. We at least hoped there would have been time to figure out a plan to fight it, but that wasn’t God’s plan. So three months into marriage and at 24 years of age, I buried my father, who was only 59. I wasn’t thinking of future children at that point or how I would get my kids to know who he was without him here.
Five years later I would give birth to my first child. Being pregnant and knowing my dad wouldn’t meet this little one was a hard thing to process. And then when she was born it was sad to know that I wouldn’t get to witness my dad physically loving on my kids. I always wondered what it would look like to see him giggle, throw, roughhouse, and just plain talk to my kids.
Two years ago I finally decided to try to let them in on more of who he was. I stopped hiding everything, worried about how I would feel, but instead introduced him to them in all the joyful ways I knew how. We started celebrating his birthday together and talking about him. Soon I will start showing them family videos and pulling out his box of stuff I have kept.
Losing a loved one is a hard process to go through, and one that you need to do in your own time. I do wish I would have started earlier though, maybe by putting his picture in a photo album for them to look at and see. I wish I would have talked about him at an earlier age. But I can’t change it nor can I turn back time, so I choose to move forward and continue to teach them about him and who he was.
I made a list of a few things I’m doing and plan to do to incorporate my father into their lives:
- Show family videos
- Show pictures of him throughout his life
- Celebrate his birthday
- Visit his gravesite more often
- Talk about him regularly, not just on special days
What are ways you help incorporate your lost loved one into your kids lives?