All the time

Julia is in Kindergarten now. One of the consequences of this is that she has graduated from the nursery at church to attending "big church" with me. We have now done big church together two or three times and she does great. The hour is a long time to sit quietly but she enjoys parts of it. I can tell her feelings are mixed on it.

As we were driving to church yesterday she talked about how she liked going to big church with me, but that some things were more fun in the nursery. I explained that I understood that but told her how much I enjoyed having her with me. I explained how it was a time with her that I really cherished. And I explained to her how I had loved spending that time with Nathan and that during church I felt sad and missed him a lot and how having her there helped me feel better. She said, "I miss Nathan a lot all of the time". It wasn't the voice of a little girl trying to one-up me by saying she missed him "all of the time" when I was talking about missing him during a specific event. Julia is coping right now by avoidance. It isn't that she won't talk about Nathan with us. She frequently will make comments to me about him, but she won't talk about it long. For the most part she is outwardly doing well when she is busy with school, church, swimming lessons, her new dance lessons, and etc. Her sweet little voice and the message it carried underneath as she said, "I miss Nathan a lot all of the time" really hit me. It is impossible to explain really, but I feel Nathan's loss every minute of every day. It doesn't really matter what I'm doing. It doesn't really matter if I'm avoiding it or actively wrestling with it. It is just always there. I could be projecting my grieving onto Julia, but I don't think so. I think she was expressing this type of constant ache as best she could.

I'm sure it reads like I read too deeply into one simple sentence from a five year old, but I don't think so. You parents out there know that you can tell from tone and delivery when your kid is trying to just outdo you rather than making a simple sincere statement.


Katie Altmann said...

Luke -- I completely agree with you...in our conversations with the kids, it is the quiet, thoughtful comments that carry the most weight. It is very obvious by the tone of the conversation how deeply something is being said and felt/thought.

I am so very sorry for the pain you all must carry. As you said in an earlier post...this pain is a testament to the strong bond you all shared with Nathan. Nathan was incredibly loved and cherished...there is no doubt about it.

I pray for strength to carry you through these very hard days.

-- Katie

OldMotherHubbardSharesAll said...

Luke, I do not think your reading too much into Julia's comment! What once was very much a part of you is gone, there is a void all the time! I know that it will someday not be as strong of a hurt but it will always be there. One thing I really admire about both you is the fact that your acknowledge the fact that you hurt to Julia, who therefore, can think it's okay for me to hurt to and miss Nathan.

I pray for your whole family regularly and wish there was something I could do to help ease this pain....but short of sharing the walk with y'all there is nothing I can do. May God continue to carry you through this time of rain and into the sunshine.