The mind of a 4 year old

The Super Dada post was written two weeks ago, truth is, since seeing Cinderella, KitKat hasn’t mentioned John. She is playing with my hair and sitting on my lap more than usual-a sign she is feeling insecure. When Izzy and I talk about John, she looks away and doesn’t say anything. She shuts down.

She used to ask “Do you remember our funny dada?” I challenged her to keep her memories alive so they were hers. “How was he funny?” “He would make silly faces and smile.” “Yes, he did that, didn’t he?” “Yes and it was so funny.” and she laughed the way only her father would make her laugh. Other times, she would bargain “If I take a bite of my dinner, will Dada come back?” She would see the coconut water John used to drink and pointed to his middle school when we drove by it.
When Izzy asked me if their wish would come true that John would come back after they threw their pennies in the fountain, I saw KitKat in the background, dancing around, waiting…waiting for Izzy to go back to her and tell her that her wish would come true…I couldn’t watch when she went to tell her no, it wouldn’t come true. I didn’t want to see the disappointment and I am scared she is just tired of waiting and hoping-so tired of wanting her father and wondering why she will never run into his arms again.
We went to the bereavement center last Thursday and I watched her closely. She participated in the opening and closing ceremony and I could hear her interacting with the children.
She isn’t losing herself. She is still KitKat-silly, fierce, funny, brave…but I don’t want her to lose her father because of what is going on. Sometimes, when she says something funny, instead of laughing she ends with “Wah wah wah wah” and we burst out laughing. John would have loved that and for a second, I can hear him laugh with us.
How do you ask a 4 year old what is going on? Last week, when Izzy was at school, I asked her about John and she said no, turned and walked away. I dropped it and let it go, but it hurts.  I feel like one wrong move is going to push John away for good. She has great memories of him and I want her to remember them. I feel like this setback is going to make her forget him and then he will come in glimpses…not whole memories. I don’t know how to fix this and I have too quickly.dada and kitkat

One thought on “The mind of a 4 year old”

  1. The stories you keep telling them, the pictures you keep showing them, the conversations you keep open even if they are silent for days or weeks at a time – those are going to keep the memories alive for the girls. The crispness will likely be lost – it always is – but they are not going to lose sight of him. You are doing a wonderful job honoring their grieving while keeping up with your own. I thought of yall so much when we went to see Cinderella this weekend. Sending love, friend.


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