Audrey’s grief has started manifesting itself in a few ways; the most obvious is a fear of men. If a man comes to the door, she runs to me screaming and crying- refusing to open her eyes. These are no strange men; they’re people she’s seen many times before- even “grandpa” whom she loves so much.
If I ask her what she’s scared of, she says “beard!” We used to call Dan’s scruff if he didn’t shave for a few days a “beard.” I believe she is missing him very much by now. I’ve had a lot of women coming and going- but other than grandpa- no men. What a huge void in her life- just like mine. She is so used to me saying, “Oh Audrey- let’s go show appa your new dress!” or “Oh appa- look at Audrey jump!” and she smiled with delight as you affirmed her Dan. You were such an active dad- you changed her diaper whenever you were here- usually first thing in the morning so I could sleep more- all while singing your little song, “Daddy’s gonna change your diaper, diaper diaper diaper….” You took her on walks, and went to her library class with us whenever you were home. More important than anything you “did,” was your delight in her- your pure adoration.
I remember before you left, we went to a new playground one Saturday and there was another dad sitting on a bench looking at his phone and drinking a cup of coffee while you were actively playing with Audrey. Later, he made conversation with us and pointed out his little boy- over in the sandbox by himself. When we drove home, you commented on it- how you didn’t even think that man had a child there- and how you couldn’t understand how a dad could be so self-absorbed. Because you were the furthest thing from that. You were a great talent in music- but I do believe you had another true calling— you were an amazing father.