When is Daddy coming home?

Sam now often asks; When is daddy coming home?

It has become a reoccurring question

I remind him that he knows daddy is in heaven, that daddy can’t come back

I know mummy, when can I see daddy again?

I remind him gently, he knows he won’t be able to

I want to see my daddy, he tells me

I know exactly how he feels.

We talk about daddy being in heaven

It has been the right explanation for my two.

When Chris was ill we would talk about daddy having to go to heaven one day soon

It was something Chris was comfortable with talking about

He used to get upset at the thought of there might be nothing after he had left us.

He so desperately needed to believe this for himself.

Now we talk about what heaven might be

How some people believe it’s a place you go to, surrounded by those you love

We talk about what it might be like if it were a place

We talk about ‘heaven’ as remembering the person, keeping those we have lost in our hearts and alive and with us through our memories

We talk about how some people don’t believe in heaven at all

That everyone believes different things after someone they love has died

I ask them what they think, I do not want to enforce an ideal on them

None of this makes any sense, it is unbelievable and hard to understand for adults.

I know our thoughts on heaven will be of help for some, but not others.

I let them lead on what brings them some comfort

Lily thinks it’s a place

She’s not sure what type of place but she knows her daddy has hair, no cancer, both legs and she knows he is with people who loved him.

Films like Coco & The Book of Life, direct her thoughts

Sam doesn’t know whether it’s a place or a feeling, he knows we call it heaven

He’ll tell you that’s where his daddy is. He’s quite blunt about it as you would expect from a then 3 now 4 year old.

Whatever Sams version is, he believes it’s up.

In the sky, above the clouds, higher than the stars

That’s where he points when he shouts, I love you daddy

And where he reaches for when he’s hurt himself or is upset and mummy cuddles just aren’t enough.

That’s where he tells me he’s going to go when he’s an old man and can see daddy again.

The place we’ll all go and have a big family party

We talk about what daddy would think of things if he was still here, what he would say or do.

We talk about things we did, the places we went, the memories they have

I take them back to the places we visited with Chris

To reinforce the memories they have

So they don’t just become stories they are told.

They know it’s ok to be happy

It’s ok to laugh and joke and talk about him freely and openly

They know it’s ok to be mad, and sad and that it’s ok to be upset and to cry when they’re feeling overwhelmed

They feel things that they just don’t understand, at times for what appears to be no reason at all

I am trying my best to help them navigate their grief.

Trying to help them understand that whatever they feel is normal and that they can talk to me about anything

It’s only recently they have started to understand the finality

Nearly nine months without their daddy.

That this, this feeling, this loss is forever

That daddy really isn’t coming home.

No matter how much we want him to and wish he could

No matter how unfair we feel it is

No matter how much we miss him

No matter how much we love him

That’s the hardest part of all.

Posted by

30 something, married, mummy of one. Getting by on chocolate and laughter.

7 thoughts on “When is Daddy coming home?

  1. That is such a beautiful piece of writing xx It’s so hard when you can’t give them an answer. I don’t believe in a God, but I can’t say there isn’t one. My 9 year old says he doesn’t believe in God, but thinks Elspeth is in heaven. My 8 year old always says he isn’t sure, but he never likes to be wrong. I think he’d like to find it’s a simulation, like The Matrix or something. I sometimes feel echoes or hear footsteps, then shrug and wonder if any of us are right xx

  2. It’s so hard to help children understand when you can’t make sense of it yourself. I can’t imagine how incredibly hard the last nine months have been but it sounds like you are doing an amazing job helping the kids deal with their grief. My kids lost their Nan a few months ago and have both dealt with it very differently, Daisy doesn’t talk about it much and Jake sometimes forgets and thinks she’s at the hospital. Thinking of you x

  3. Sending all my love & hugs. It’s hard to understand as an adult never mind a child. I like to think of my dad partying in the clouds with family there. Hugs xx

  4. So beautifully written. We often think of you and the children and how you are getting on. It must be incredibly difficult navigating this new life after Chris, it sounds like you are doing amazingly. I too think of heaven as a party where everyone is pain free and happy, and also have a need to believe in it I think we all do. One of my boys simply said once (he was 4) that when you die you get to be a baby again and when i asked him how he knew that he said simply “because i’ve done it before” – freaky but comforting idea too. Sending lots of love and strength your way xx

  5. Death is such a hard topic to talk about, especially with children but I think you have done amazingly in how your are guiding your children rather than leading them through it and understanding it xx

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