I remember the first year after Oren died, I was drowning in worry about how the boys would handle their first Father’s Day without a dad.
I can picture myself scouring the internet looking for books that did not exist from 45 year old dads to their young kids...
Instead, I reached out to a few close friends and family and asked them to write something ... about Oren, “fatherly” advice... anything... to make my own.
These beautiful letters and memories and poems became three incredible books for the boys ... works of love from our community.
And while that first Father’s Day was hard, we got though it.
We dug deep that first year to find a new “normal”... and chose to spend the day at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk. Ryan and the boys loved the rides and the games and the Aquarium. “That”, we decided, would become our new “tradition”.
Fast forward a year.
Fast forward Jeff coming into our world. And we were faced with yet another unplanned life altering event... but this time for the good.
So last year on Father’s Day , once again we created a new “normal” because this time we had to navigate different dynamics, needs and personalities to balance the emotions of our past and feelings for our future.
The boys and I decided to continue our “tradition” of games and rides and penguins at Jenkinson’s for Father’s Day. But that night, Jeff and I brought all the kids together for ice cream to celebrate “family”.
I am so grateful we got to do that, because if only for a brief time, Jeff got to have his one and only Father’s Day with all six kids together.
Jeff loves to call our crew the “Brady Bunch”. I made him promise me that he will still call us that... even now.
And here we are once again needing to find a new “tradition” when nothing about suffering two losses in three years...is “normal”.
Nothing about enduring trauma like this is “normal”.
Life without Ryan isn’t “normal”.
After a series of attempts and fails for planning today...my family rallied. Changing plans. Supporting when I can’t. Just being there.
I think what I realized is this year wasn’t about new “normals” or “traditions”... but just about getting by.
Trying to stay present in small happy moments... cousins swimming, talking about camp and upcoming trips... watching the dogs be silly...
Being ok to feel the sadness-to acknowledge its weight as it weaved in and out of the day.
And knowing we got through it- and knowing that in itself is sometimes enough.