I used to plan my life five year ahead of time. I imagined it like a chapter book, with every stage of life being a new chapter. High School, College, Dating, Engagement, Marriage, and so on . If you had told me five years ago I would be a single dad raising two little girls solo, I would have said you’re nuts. However here we are wondering how it all happened. This is not a new chapter, this is an entire new book. This is Life 2.0, a new beginning.
My first decision was to continue this blog or end it after Molly’s death. I was planning on closing the blog, but then I realized no-one writes about their lives afterword. Why not write about life after losing a spouse, being a single dad, etc.?
Toward the end of Molly’s life, we were overwhelmed by the amount of kindness we received from friends, schools, neighbors, and my family. I was how ever warned though the attention will stop after few months as people will go back to their normal lives. This did happened in some levels, but I am still amazed by the amount of kindness we still receive.
My parents and my family have been a crucial part of our survival. My parents cook, clean and drive the girls around so I can spend quality time with my children. I am still the only parent and more than ever I need to be there for them. This support has also allowed me to go out and be an adult and enjoy my new cult (read on).
I live in an affluent educated community smack middle of Silicon Valley. When Molly died I was afraid that other parents in order to protect their children may distance them from the girls. Not only it did not happen, the mothers of Menlo Park adopted my children. I jokingly call this group “The Village”, as it takes a village to raise a child. I am a very capable parent, but as a man I can not give the feminine attention children receive from their mother. The weeks following Molly’s death I noticed that the girls were missing this unique attention. This could be as simple as clipping their nails, brushing their hair or even putting suntan lotion on their faces. The Village has taken turns treating the girls like one of their own children. Nobody will ever replace their mother but they love getting the simple motherly attention most children take for granted.
That being said, it still sucks. Nights are the worst, the house is a constant reminder that we are three now. Shoes, dresses, water bottles, plants in the back yard all scream “She is not around anymore” Survival guilt can be overwhelming, and just as the guilt takes a break the fear gladly take its place. How the hell am I gonna raise two girls? One is turning twelve soon and has lost her mother at the most crucial time of her life, the other one sleeps with a picture of her mom in her arms. This is not a movie, this is real life. Real life is a lot more complicated than a Disney tearjerker.
Going back to work after months of being gone was a blessing even though at first working seemed unimaginable. It took few weeks to clear out the cobwebs in my brain, but once I was back to normal it felt good to have control over something again. Plus my coworkers actually missed me. After three months of absence I thought I would be replaced by my company’s beloved robot Pepper. Take that white boy!
As for my social life, fortunately my most of my friends stuck around, at least the ones I cared about did. This includes the old ones and the ones I met through the cancer world. Only one decided to bail on me and chose the worst time to do it too. Not very nice at all.
The interesting part of life is that I am single now, and being single at my age is like being member of a secret cult. There are four types of members in this cult:
A. Singles who use their personality as birth control (mostly men)
B. Singles who have just dumped A (above) or are just happy being single (mostly women)
C. Widow/widowers, and
I have my own category because I don’t really fit in any of the above categories. Why? I just don’t. I hate the word widower, I am happy, yet I am grieving, and last I checked I don’t use my personality as birth control. I have always been a social person and I am enjoying meeting new people. Dillan and Madison are perfectly happy for me to have daddy “playdates”, but I have to always be a phone call away. Few weeks ago I had to cancel a much anticipated trip because Madison was worried my plane would crash.
Bottom line is that Life 2.0 has started and I didn’t have a choice. Life gave me the sourest lemon possible, and I am trying to make lemonade here. My choices are not necessary accepted by everyone, but I am just ok with that. As long as M&D are happy, I am doing a good job.