Recently I have begun to wonder if my son was missing his grandfather more than usual. Dad would come up in conversation with my son in ways that I wasn't expecting. We were talking about going to a certain restaurant for Valentine's Day and my son mentioned the "next big celebration" there, and I had NO idea what he was talking about. Turned out, he was remembering how we celebrated Dad's birthday there last year. For me, that was a one time thing, but for him, apparently, it was supposed to be an annual event. At a school event, we were talking to another parent about a project the kids did in 2nd grade. When it came up, I had a fleeting thought that I had missed that project because I was home taking care of Dad. When the conversation turned to my son he said, "That was a bad day." Then I remembered that it was the day Dad died and that after the presentation at school, my husband had delivered the news.
I wasn't expecting this level of grief from my son after almost two years. I know that Dad's absence is something I am aware of every day, but the ache of it has lessened bit by bit over time. I thought I was the only one still missing him at that depth. But once I recognized the cues, I decided to address it head on. After school one day we came home, snuggled on the bed with the photo book I made after Dad died, and I asked him if he was missing Grandpa.
He dissolved into tears, throwing his arms around me. I was crushed to know he was hurting so badly.
I probably need to do a better job of talking about Dad, and talking about missing him, so my son has more regular opportunities to acknowledge his loss. I am hoping our chat helped siphon off some of the grief that he seemed to be bottling up lately. On a positive note, I think this shows the kind of person my father was and the impact he made on his grandson, considering he lived several hours away from us. I hope his impact will linger as my son gets older.