Last Sunday was Father's Day.
A day that I try to put on a happy, life-can-still-be-good smile that doesn't quite reach my eyes. A day that I try to acknowledge with the children in a way that is not morbid. A day that always makes me feel sad.
Not long after I woke, I heard sobs coming from my son's room. This is the child who was 5 when his hero died. This is the child who asks me to help him remember what his Daddy sounded like. The child who loves being compared with his father.
These weren't the sobs I normally hear of "she took my xxxx" and "if I cry and whimper then I will get out of doing chore y that I don't want to do".
No..... these were the sobs that you feel in the pit of your stomach before you hear them with your ears.
When I went in to his room, my darling girl was already in there, comforting her brother. Being a grown-up 11 year old. Telling him that it was OK to cry.
Normally it is my girl who I think of as being sensitive. She is the kid who has a melt down if something is not perfect (God forbid she gets a "B" on something). She is the one who takes on every throw-away comment as being directed at her and every friendship hiccup as being the end of the earth.
Normally it is my boy who sings and hums his way through everything with a "she'll be right" attitude. Who tells it how it is in an honest manner and who doesn't have a trace of malice in him. He takes a negative comment and either agrees with it as a matter of fact, or dismisses it as utter rubbish.
...and yet he is the one who surprises me with his grief. He is the one who can barely remember his father but who treasures every photograph. The child who is determined to follow in his father's footsteps. He is the one who can go from Mr Happy-Go-Lucky to Mr Furiously-Sad because of a date on a calendar.
Navigating grief is hard, but sailing the waters with a couple of grieving children adds another dimension.
...but its a dimension that also allows for sharing and understanding of the loss of a person so loved by all of us.