Being a blended family is not the same for everyone. In fact, our blended family is a bit different. My oldest son lost his Dad. Losing his father makes life complex. Many blended families consist of 2 Dads and 2 Moms or combination of sorts. But for us we have a complicated factor of having the loss of a parent. Today is one of the hardest days of the year. Today marks 12 years since losing Matt Sr.
Matthew was not able to be there. His Dad was on a ship and he was flown to Phuket, Thailand. His family and I all flew to him as soon as we were told something was wrong. Matt had a brain aneurysm. He was never going to recover from it. He died in Thailand and was flown back to the United States shortly after. That was where Matthew got to see him again. Matthew was 4. His father was 25. Losing his father changed us all.
This situation is complicated. It was hard to explain to four-year-old Matthew what happened. It is was also hard to explain to the three younger children what is going on years later. My 6-year-old understands his older brothers Dad is no longer here. My 4-year-old is just catching on. She did not really understand until 2 weeks ago. Then there is the baby she has no idea. But I knew at some point I had to explain to my youngest children where Matthews Daddy was.
When I married my husband, I was noticeably clear how I wanted to handle the loss of Matt. He understood and agreed. I want the house to have Matt’s presence. I also want Matthew’s younger siblings to know who Matt is. We also spend time with Matt’s family, and they all know them. These things help my oldest son feel like his Dad matters. It makes him feel like his Dad is remembered.
Every year is different. Different emotions come up. This year is a bit harder for Matthew and I. When you 16 things are changing. A lot is going on in my oldest sons’ life. It is sad to know his father is not here for all those things. He is missing driving, graduating, first jobs and so much more.
So, what does a blended family do in this situation. Well we include everyone. We all go visit his grave site. They see Mom and brother talk to Matt. We share stories. We share the love of a Man no longer here but still so important. In every blended family there is a lot of making things work. Fitting puzzle pieces together that may not fit perfectly. You have to respect one another dead or alive.
In our case if you came into our home there are pictures everywhere. Some new with all 6 of us. Then there are old ones of Matthew and his Dad. Also, ones of Matt and I. Matt’s flag is in a case with his picture as well. Then if you go into my oldest sons’ room there are items of his Dads that were passed down. We all know which ones those are, even the little kids do. We spend Christmas eve with Matt’s family as well as many other holidays. Just as Matthew and I did before Matt passed. Blended families are all different. They all make choices so that things work. By losing such a huge part of our life we make him a huge part in our home.
It may not happen at first but things mostly even themselves out. With all that said, June 16th, 2020 is 12 years since he passed. Matthew Hicks is in heaven now. We miss and love him. My entire family combines his name with my current husbands to make Shivicks. I try my best to keep his memory alive. I will never forget the last time I saw him or spoke to him. My son and I think of him every day. Please hug you husband, wife, and children a little tighter tonight. Life is a gift. Time is a gift and we should cherish every moment.