Becoming a single parent, like a real single parent, has been challenging. I don’t have a partner to discuss situations with the children, I don’t have the insights he had. I make the dinners, plan the medical apts(most of mine which are missed because my mind these days is not working the way it used to!) coach, clean, plan, model, run errands, manage the budget, walk the dog(when I can find the time) and try my damnedest to help them grieve.
But I am not him. He can’t be replaced. I cannot fix that for the kids. I want too, but I can’t.
I cannot even imagine what it must be like for my children. I’m struggling trying to figure out this grief and the carryover grief from the illness changing him. My daughter was to young to remember him being really sick, but my son remembers more than I would have liked him too. Things that I haven’t told many about because of stigma and not understanding the illness, delusions and behaviours that accompanied the Bipolar diagnosis. If it’s that difficult for me to process some days, I can’t imagine how hard it must be on them.
The other night my son was talking about some of the struggles he’s been having socially and economically. When I asked about an argument he’s had with friends he said, ” Mom, it’s not something I can talk about with you. I just want dad. Now I have no one to look up to. I want to talk to Dad but I can’t.”
I can’t fix that. I can’t replace his father for him. I can try to do my best as his mother, but I can’t fill the role of his dad, their deep conversations and the relationship they had.
I’ve never felt so helpless when it comes to my children. This is new territory and it’s difficult to navigate. All I can say is I’m sorry or what do you need and make sure they know I love them? Even then, it feels like an insignificant effort.
My son’s biological father had very little to do with him as a child. By the time my son was two, his biological dad had abandoned him only to appear and disappear from his life as he grew older. By eight years old, the already fragile relationship had broken, and though now that his dad is older and more mature, my son wants nothing to do with him.
Now this. I can only pray the experiences will make him a better father and stronger role model for his future children. That he will stay unwavering in his battle in becoming a man.
I’ve accepted that I can’t be both parents; I try, but I just can not. I can only be here in ways that I know, as their mother, and try to be the best I can by being a good role model, and keeping and open ear and eye. I pray he’ll find his own path, the right one, and will build a happy life for himself.
In the meantime, I’ll keep making (and sometimes missing and then rescheduling) appointments, cleaning the house, making meals, guiding and modelling and hope I doing and being enough for them to get through this. Even though I know, I can’t fix this for them, I know I can help pick them up when they need lifting and listening when they need to be heard.