Since my children were young when all this happened, my biggest fear is that they will forget Ryan. I need to be honest here, only 1 of my 3 children will remember him and that is Ella. But her memory is very limited. She was 5 years old. Stop and think for a minute…what do you remember of your life up until your were 5? Exactly-not too much.
Life goes on and I need it to go on for my children as well as myself. I just want them to have some sort of memory of their daddy. I don’t go overboard. I don’t constantly remind them. I don’t force anything on them. I just do a few things that hopefully will remind them of their daddy.
Pictures and Personal Belongings
You can walk into my home and there is no shrine with candles anywhere. But Ryan is very much present. I have a few pictures displayed. Our bedroom is a work in progress. His belongings are packed away but all stored in his closet. In our garage, his shoes are still where they were from his last weekend and all his hunting clothes are still hanging as well as his tools. I have attempted a few times to start to put the things away and/or give them away. I have been met with a lot of resistance from Ella and Hunter. So until they are ready, my garage is what it is.
The main area that has truly gone untouched is our basement. Ryan’s home office is down there as well as all his hunting and fishing equipment. There are deer antlers, moose skull, a bear skin….just him everywhere. Up until a few weeks ago, has it come up about his office and making it my home office. And it was Ella who suggested it. So I plan on having her help me create my office downstairs but still keep it a little bit of Ryan. What girl wouldn’t want a bear skin hanging on your wall?
Visiting his grave
In the beginning, we went every weekend….Sunday as a matter of fact. We would go to Dunkin’ Donuts and then go “visit daddy”. The kids would leave a munchkin on his head stone. On his birthday, we would have cupcakes and release a balloon. On holidays, they would pick the flowers or plants and place them. On Father’s Day, they would paint rocks or a flower-pot. This is no more. They no longer want to go. I refuse to force it. I continue to offer. It is all I can do. They will tell me what they want on his head stone but will not go with me. I respect them as individuals and I respect their feelings. They know all they have to do is ask and I will take them. Yes it hurt me at first. But it is just a place. My children know Ryan is always with them in their hearts.
Talking about him
I will share stories when I feel it is appropriate. Hunter has begun to ask many questions. Ella does not like this. So I try to limit it when she is around. Perfect example of how everyone grieves differently.
We do a shot. OK….hold on before you jump to any conclusions. Ryan loved his Crowne Royal. As a matter of fact he was buried with some. So in honor of him, I always do a shot of it. The kids laugh at me because they know how much I despise it. So to include them, they do a shot of chocolate milk. It is just our little way. We do go out to dinner or make something special in honor of Ryan.
Release of Balloons
The kids associate balloons and heaven. A lot of times when they get a balloon, when they are finished with it, they “send it to daddy”. This is not something that is done often but it is something the kids have created all on their own. As a matter of fact, when I wanted to get Gracie to stop using her “binky”, she tied them to a balloon and sent them to “daddy in heaven”.
We planted a tree in our front yard that we named “Daddy’s Tree”. There is a rule….only happy thoughts are to be surrounding the tree. However we agreed it is a special place they can go and sit and “talk” to him or just sit when they miss him. All on their own, they have placed various “treasures”.
I have always wanted a tattoo and so at the age of 36, I got my 1st tattoo. The kids thought I was so “cool”. But a close friend actually designed it. I see one more in my future to tie our “team” together.
The name of this blog is Team Sporka and the reason is Ryan. He referred to our family as a team. Whenever we were trying to get out of the house, he would yell “Let’s go team!”. We used this term when teaching the kids how to act properly…be a team player. I can say that phrase and tears or remorse will follow instantly. It is a term that is extremely important to our family.
The little things are what will stay in their hearts. Unfortunately I know they will not remember the person I remember. But as long as I do little things and allow them to decide on what they want to do, I feel I am doing something.