Friday, August 30, 2013

Child Grief

I keep learning in all of this.

With time, the full weight of the loss seems to grow less heavy. It falls away a bit. Or maybe it just becomes easier to bear. For me.

But for my little one, it is quite different. With each new developmental stage, Erika seems to uncover more of what this loss means for her. More of her life and her future is touched as she grows. Age brings understanding. And with it, new grief.

My grief is old grief. A feeling and re-feeling of the many aspects and reaches of the Chris' death. Healing comes bit by bit--and sometimes even in bunches.

But for my baby girl, grief is a new and different thing. A growing brain discovering and feeling new aspects of the loss at every turn.

It seems to come about every 4 months or so. Conversation about Daddy heats up. Lots of questions. Lots of pretend play and phone calls to Daddy.

This week she is grappling with the finality of death.

"When Daddy comes back, we are going to play hide and seek."

And I don't know what to do. I probably say the wrong thing. I tell her Daddy is not coming back--he can't come back. We will see him when we go to heaven, but he will not live here with us again.

Maybe I should just let it go. Let her talk. Let her pretend. Because when I tell her the sad news, she runs to her room and won't come out. Won't let me touch her or hug her or even talk to her.

I--along with every other parent in the world--can't bear to see my child in pain. I want to rescue her. Stop the hurt. But there is nothing I can do.

Pray for my sweet girl?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Family Vacation

"Is that our lake, Mom?"

It's everybody's lake, Baby.

Here we are again--in Bayfield for the week for the annual Seifert family vacation. And the kids love it. Maybe because their parents love it so much.

What a perfect way to end the summer. State fair, work, and preschool await. But for now, we are soaking up "our lake." And wishing Daddy could be here too.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Two nights ago, I took Erika on a date to the little local restaurant after I got home from work. This new full-time schedule of mine seems to be a bit of an adjustment for her (and me too!). She needed some one-on-one time with me.
She, of course, charmed every last one of the servers and customers on that patio. And I felt so proud of her.  She has this magnetic personality that draws people to her. And last night she was joyful and sweet and polite. And she finished the last of her dinner snuggling on my lap. And I wished in that moment—more than I have in a long time—that her daddy could be there with us. That we could smile at each other across the table—so happy with our little family.
Sometimes it’s hard to feel like “family” with just Erika and me. I find that now when I say “my family”, I mean what I meant when I was a teenager. Erika is “my daughter”, but I rarely refer to the two of us as “family”. Chris seems to be the missing link to the “family” chain. I know it’s not true. But it feels true.
I’m not sure if it is because we are only TWO, or if it is because the loss of him makes such a void that it is hard to figure out what we are without him. And our car conversation on the way home deepened the ache.

“What’s my last name?”
Drager. Just like Mama’s. And Daddy’s.
“What’s Gus’ last name?”
Seifert. Just like Uncle Matt and Auntie Julie.
And so we went through the family names for most people in her life. And I explained to her that families share the same last name. We have Daddy’s last name. And then she reminded me.
“But Daddy’s not here anymore.”
No, but we are still a family, Baby. (I’m saying this to myself mostly.)
We miss him, don’t we?
So the two of us cuddled up in the chair in her room and watched “Daddy movies” for a while. To hear and to see and to remember. And Erika touched the iPod screen at one point when she saw her Daddy on it and whispered,
“Come back”
My silent tears fell into her beautiful blonde hair; and I held her soft, sweet body a little tighter. Family.
Pour your heart out before Him; God is a refuge for us.
(Psalm 62:8)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Time Away

My room's sunrise view
At a very wise woman's urging (my dear mother), I am away for a couple days in my beloved Bayfield (Wisconsin). Change is on the horizon (the very near horizon), and it seems I needed some quiet reflection and relaxation time.

On Monday, I accept a promotion and begin working full-time. It feels a culmination of my career pursuits and a perfect fit for me. Yet, this life does not look the way I imagined. The way I dreamed. All this mixture of sweet and bitter things have come together to make up this life I share with my best girl.

And I feel filled with emotion. Gratitude. Grief. Hope.