Ever since my wonderful wife passed away, back in August 2005, one of the things I have been very mindful to manage, is her involvement in our day-to-day lives.
And, unfortunately, as I am not Hiro Nakamura, this has 'only' involved the tasks of managing how we talk about her, how we relate things to her, and what we do because of her.
Subtlety is not usually a strong suit of mine - I think the lion’s share of my refinement may have been thrown from my psyche by means of a metaphorical house brick, through a similarly figurative window - however, delicacy was a trait I wanted to call upon.
Fearing that constant involvement, or frequent robotic mention, would just remind my son of her absence, and eventually lead to my son resenting the laboriousness of the process, and in part, perhaps, even the memory of his dearly departed mother.
There is also balancing this with not instilling a fear of talking about her, the truth of our situation, the reality of her death, making the subject taboo would be equally bad for my boy.
So, I like to think we talk about her naturally, not jumping all over opportunities to ram home what she was all about, but also not shying away from questions that induce a sharp intake of breath from others, like;
“What are you doing for Mother’s Day Max?”
Or the much more direct, and my personal favourite;
“Your mom is dead, isn’t she Max?”
Whenever we do talk about her, or make something for her, I like to remind my son of the positives; the fact that he had such a wonderful mother, one that loved him immeasurably and gave him such a solid start in life, a life forever fuelled with love.
He does ask about her, which I take as an indication that I have got the balance of her involvement right. He also answers questions from others very positively and accurately, without any sugar-coating. Which simultaneously, breaks and warms my heart.
Then tonight, I was glad that he was walking in front of me when he said,
“I’ll help you dad, because you’re the best daddy in the world.”
Which was nice enough, but then;
“and my mommy was the best in the world too.”
However questionable his first quip was, the latter, to even the tense, was absolutely accurate.