Her son found him lying face down on the ground.
She thought they were playing around … at first.
She is now living my wife’s and many others’ worst nightmare.
Widowed with young kids.
It’s probably a common fear for women;
It’s an unspoken fear for men, especially fathers of daughters.
Years ago I faced this fear.
Not because my wife was dying; there could have been a medical concern, yet this was more intentional on my part.
So, what did I do?
My parents and grandmother provided a wonderful gift even though our financial situation was around the median household income & there were five of us kids.
They found ways for us to travel, see areas, experience nature & I’ve been in just about every log cabin there is in a Tennessee State Park … They all basically look the same; yet the natural wonders I’ve experienced have been marvelous.
A lesson I learned in all that was anyone in the USA can travel; experience culture and wonder different from your normal & without spending huge money too.
When I face one of my greatest fears: that my wife would die, leaving me with three small daughters … I pushed into that fear.
Our first Road trip fit with a work trip my wife had.
She flew to Norfolk, Virginia where she had an apartment.
The next morning my children and I started driving.
It was not the first road trip; not the first time staying in a hotel; not the first time exploring without a set schedule other than “arrive in Norfolk by bedtime two days from now” … yet it was the first without my wife.
On that first trip, we dropped my wife off at the airport to fly home. She had spent some time with us and other time working a 24 hour shift, a norm for her career. We went to Charlotte, NC instead of directly home and stayed with a cousin of mine for a few days.
Again, this was the first trip, having people around was important – just knowing I would be alone with them for a day or two made it an easier step.
We have done multiple trips since. Just me and my children.
It’s not that we don’t want Mommy to be with us, we do this in part due to the career and travel my wife does without us, but it’s bigger than that.
At this point, my children are 8, 8, and 6 … they have spent significant time in 17 states (either a lot of time, or overnight), and been to 2 more that just don’t quite qualify.
The last big trip added three new states, with diamond mining in Arkansas, exploring Houston, Texas, and wandering around New Orleans where we parked the car and either walked or rode the mass transit that they have there.
Sometimes we stay in hotels, though if we are in a city for 3 or more days we prefer to find a short-term rental (VRBO or AirBnB) so that I can have a seperate room from where the kids will sleep – they still go to bed many hours before I do and that time is important.
My encouragement to you is two fold:
1. Travel as a family – my mother was told she should never worry about her kids being ready for school simply because she traveled with them.
2. Travel with just your kids – there is no better way to help that relationship & prep for a potential scary future, than forcing yourself for a short period of time to have less support, less backup, less normal … at least for a short period of time.
One final piece of encouragement, and this is to me as much as it is to you …
Take care of yourself.
Physically with what you eat and exercise.
Mentally with the media you consume – read a book, listen to an audiobook, take a class, study a new subject, develop a new skill.
Emotionally – be a friend, express gratitude, journal, pray, meditate, acknowledge your emotions, name them, share them with specific people.
Spiritually – you have a spiritual side. Beliefs that go beyond what you can see, touch, and feel. Even if you consider yourself an Atheist, or Agnostic … this is a part of you that if you ignore you will eventually discover a major missing part of your life, or you are rejecting specific words and your actions are still very belief based.
Relationships – relationships make the world go around. Find the right people. Connect with them. Strengthen the relationships, but more importantly, support the relationships between people who care about you.
- You do need a Doctor.
- You do need a Dentist, and other special medical professionals.
- You do need a coach, at least one.
- You do need friends, at least 2, ideally who also care about each other too.
- You do need to contribute to others.
- You do need to grow, regularly – and travel can help that.
- You do need to get stronger.
Then take care of your Significant Other by recording all the little things you do.
Make sure they have access to passwords to log into accounts.
Make sure they know what accounts to really access.
Make sure they know where your Will is.
Have Family Photos captured every year or two; more is better.
Do they know the daily, weekly & monthly schedule for your kids?
If it’s not written down, the answer is no.