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curtisg


angelb

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I saw your post about having your wedding rings mounted for Katie at a later date. I think that is such a grand idea, one that Becky would be very proud of. I think of you often, even though I dont post often, I try to be here at least once a day. It is so amazing how we can continue on, isnt it? I pray for you and many others here daily so that you might find peace, though that seems to be hard to find as all the questions tend to pop up after the ride is over. I look at the picture of Becky and Katie that you have for your posts, it is so sweet and pure. The love is so visible. You must be so very proud. Being a mother myself, I am curious to know how Katie is doing through all of this. It was so soon after that you moved, and threw yourselves back into the business of life and all its maddness. Somehow I know how you are, in this after losing my dad and watching and helping my mom through this. But how is Katie doing? School is going to start soon, and that will bring it all back fresh again.... just hug her tight and love her hard, and tell her how proud you are of her. God bless you! And keep up with the cross-stitch - maybe someday Katie will ask you to show her...

Angela

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She is doing great. We talk about Becky almost everyday, and it hurts, but it is helpful that she feels safe enough to talk about those things. Two nights ago, she asked my mother if she lived with my parents if they would be her mommy and daddy. My mom said no, that they would always be grandma and grandpa. And Katie said that was good because she didn't want my mom to die, and the mommy always dies. My mother handled it very well, which was nice, because I was bawling on the couch. She said that mommies don't always die and that her mommy didn't want to die either but wanted very much to stay with her. So she understands pretty well what has happened and is grieving the way she can. I am gratified by that.

On the other hand, she is a happy thing almost all of the time. Two nights ago, a couple of hours after the exchange above, she had out her stuffed animals and they were doing the hokey pokey. She had the animals singing in their voices (penguin singing honk honk honk honk honk, or the lion singing roar roar roar, to the tune of the song) while putting their paws in and out and shaking all about. It was so funny.

She is excited because this week, she got to move into the preschool room at her daycare, which is a little more structured. And it means she is a big girl. And she loves her Sunday school and our new church in SA, which is cool on many levels, not the least of which is that I am dating her Sunday school teacher. (She is so dreamy!) And she loves getting to spend so much time with my parents in particular.

So we are hanging in there the best we can. Thank you for thinking of us, and keep praying for us, and I'll keep updating y'all on the latest expoits.

Curtis

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I got a couple of private messages about dating, all pretty positive. And so here is a response to all of them:

From your keyboard to God's ears is all I have to say. I don't know that this is at all serious, but I think it could be. I have a ton of affection for this woman. And we have a very strong emotional connection. I posted in the grieving section, I think it was "stuck in a cesspool ..." about how I came to a lot of conclusions on the beach about how cancer so improved our lives together, and how much I desired to take that home from the beach.

Alisa has two children, and they both have fragile X syndrome, which is a genetic cause of autism. Her daughter is autistic but her son is not, but does have some developmental issues. And in raising these beautiful children, she has the same lesson. Enjoy everyday's blessings because tomorrow's are unsure. Live gently and gratefully. So on. And that is the source of our emotional connection. (And she is freaking gorgeous, too!)

I wrote a long letter to Becky on the beach, introducing the two of them, at least in my mind. And I wrote a long message to Becky's mom. I wanted her to know before anything became serious that I was dating, that it might become something special, and that I thought it was honoring Becky. If our marriage had failed or stunk, I would have been reluctant to open my heart again. But the pain of losing Becky is way overwhelmed by the joy of our lives together. And I want more.

Alisa is such a warm and caring person. She cares for her children in a life that is more intense than I can imagine. And when she gets some free time, she goes to the church and teaches Sunday school and works the nursery during choir practice. Do you think she has love left over for Katie? Of course. And the fact that they can get to know each other independently of our relationship is the greatest blessing of the bunch.

So it is an exciting thing. Serious, no. But potentially serious.

Curtis

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Curtis,

I just wanted to say how glad I am to hear all this. I think you put your thoughts in writing beautifully about how it is a testament to your love for Becky that you want that kind of happiness again. Alisa sounds wonderful, and I wish you all the best!!!

BeckyCW

P.S. Who wouldn't want to spend time with your daughter, too?! :D She sounds so precious.

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Curtis,

I wish you all of the best. I am sure that you will follow your heart and that will lead you in the right direction... afterall - you certainly made great choices in your life thus far.

As a personal note, whether or not your current relationship gets serious, I found that the musical SOUND OF MUSIC goes a long way to opening doors to combating Disney's message that all step-mom's are evil. I used it to open a discussion with my daughter about what she thought the captain's wife would have wanted ... ie... of course she would have wanted singing in the house and the captain to fall in love and the children to have happines...

My daughter is too young to discuss my situation personally, but when the time comes she will understand my desire for my husband to find love and for my family to be happy. I think that movie does it so well.

I wish you and your darling daugther all of life's blessings.

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I don't really know anyone here but everyone seems to be so accepting and loving in this thread. Some of the others, not so, but this one is warm and inviting. Maybe too inviting because I am going out on a limb and may be stepping over my bounds.

I would be very hesitant to date anyone whose children might be taking you away from Katie. Please forgive me because I know it sounds awful. It's just that Katie has been through something so traumatic and she needs you so much. I'm afraid that you might be stretching yourself too thin if you understand what I'm trying to say. If your relationship progresses, your girlfriend will expect (and rightfully so) that you will begin to take up some of the dad duties. (I assume you won't just add Katie to her load and go back to the school.) I know it is new and exciting to be dating someone and having new affections, but please don't get so over your head that you fail to notice your daughter's needs. In one forum it said 6 months and the other 5 months, and at this point in this post I don't know which it is since your wife died, but 3 children with special needs may get overwhelming very quickly. Your girlfriend sounds wonderful and sounds like she knows what she is doing, but be careful about adding another child with heavy emotional needs to the bunch. It may be more than either of you expects. Fragile X children have a hard time making connections with other kids and may not be the siblings Katie could be expecting either.

Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way. You sound like a loving father. Katie's qustions about her grandma becoming her mom show that she is still struggling to grasp everything that has happened. It might be a good idea for you to get her some grief therapy to help her adjust. Especially as it becomes time to "audition" new mommies in the mommy role. I sincerely wish you the best of luck and apologize in advance if I have offended you.

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Well Curtis - You already know my thoughts on this. I am so happy that Katie is doing great and being a kid again. Be so thankful that she is able to talk to you about her mom and they way she is dealing with things, thats seems to be pretty healthy way of it. I know my situation is not the same because my daughters' lost their PaPa, it was hard for them as well especially since my oldest had such a strong bond with him, but finally she too is starting to adjust, although she still will not talk about him with me. Please take my good wishes for you and whatever your future may hold with Alisa.

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Jo, I could never ever be offended by anything that looks at things from Katie's perspective. And while we are not looking too far into the future, one of the hardest things that could take place if we became serious is trying to consolidate our families. No question about that. Right now we are simply trying to determine whether the foundation of the family, the loving relationship between the spouses, has potential. So we are spending most of our time together just the two of us. Being deliberate. It is fortunate that Katie and Alisa can get to know each other independently of our relationship, but there is no easy mechanism for me to get to know Alisa's children.

I do think that there is the potential for great gain for Katie. Alisa is such a caring person. Her husband takes the children a couple of nights each week and on Sundays, and she uses those times to volunteer at the church nursery for Sunday school and choir practice. There's tons of affection there left over for Katie.

One of the things I worry about for Katie is that she let this pain destroy her life, that she have a built in excuse for not succeeding or not risking pain. Having Becky for a mother, even for such a short time, was a fabulous blessing to her. And having her grow up in an environment where it is perhaps a little easier for her to see how blessed she is might keep her both from taking those blessings for granted and from using our loss as a crutch.

But it is way too soon to be thinking too much about that. Right now, I am hoping we have a nice dinner tonight. Alisa is coming over for some Chinese food, a trip to the pool, and a Disney movie. And once that is over, I will start looking forward to lunch on Thursday.

Curtis

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Curtis,

I am a Child and Adolescent Therapist. My job is not to give advice, but help people look at their options and make better choices. Nobody has the answers for what's best for you, but you. Having said that, now lets look at your situation.

Is there a proper grieving time to start dating after the loss of a spouse? I don't have a 4 year old who needs a mommy. Yet, I would not expose Katie to any other woman right now. How could she not be confused. Does she even understand about death. You stated that she asked if your parents would be her "new mommy and Daddy." What does this tell you. Have you really been there for her? What if You and Alisa don't work out? You have been busy in school and busy with mommy's cancer. Now is Katie's turn, make her the priority. If you need to date, please do it in privacy. When the time is right, and if Alisa sticks around, a gradual introduction would be nice. Curtis, I want for you to be happy too. But, your baby girl should be your first priority. What a beautiful gift from God and Becky she is. You are responsible for this child's life. My husband has a good friend who has gone through exactly what you are going through now. His young boys are paying the price for the mistakes he made early on. Make sure Katie knows that you aren't going anywhere too.

I wish that you could meet the kids that I counsel who have gone through similar circumstances. Please look at the consequences and how Katie will be affected.

Sincerely,

Cheryl

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I appreciate the advice. The reason she asked my parents if they were to be her new mommy and daddy is that they are married. It was when she found out about that that she was interested in them being parents, too, because we were married and parents. I don't think her saying that was reflective of my emotional availability but rather her desire to have a family structure the same as what she is still used to. I could be wrong. But we spend tons and tons and tons of time together, and play and talk and eat and sleep and pray together. She does a lot of those things with my parents, too.

When Alisa, Katie, and I are together, which has happened a grand total of once, it was at church. Completely within the context of Alisa as Katie's sunday school teacher. And when we decide that they should become part of each other's routines, it will be only after we have decided that there is enough depth to our relationship to warrant that switch. Katie is used to seeing me with women friends; our two best friends in Nacogdoches were women and my four best friends/classmates here are all women, and they have been a part of our lives for a while without causing Katie to make an unwarranted emotional conncection. I am sensitive to that now simply because I have so much affection for Alisa that I am sure she can read it all over my face. But when the three of us together, Alisa and I behave strictly as friends for exactly those reasons. I may be cavalier with my heart and my affections, but I am not with Katie's.

Thank you for interesting food for thought.

Curtis

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Cheryl,

I think you said what you said beutifully. I lost my mother at barely age 9 and had a brother 6 and one 3. One thing that I think people need to know is this: the death of a parent causes a great deal of insecurity to children. I don't know exactly about kids Katie's age. But at my age, I feared beyond belief that something would happen to my Dad. My younger brothers became very attached to our housekeeper and when my Dad remarried (someone we didn't hardly even know) they both were deeply hurt by the housekeeper's sudden departure. Luckily for us, my Dad didn't parade a bunch of women around to us. But on the other, hand he made a most unwise choice of mates, which even he would agree were he here to tell you for himself.

It may seem like Katie understands death, but I don't think she does, really. She does know enough to be confused as witnessed by some things you have said she has said. And she is certainly old enough to be hurt.

No one wants you to be unhappy, Curtis, you know I don't, I hope. I don't think there is a right way or a wrong way. I truly don't think in those terms. I, like, Cheryl am just urging caution.

Also, when we lost our mom, it was also almost like we lost our Dad too. So in some ways, maybe if he had been able to be happy or find some happiness after she passed, maybe it wouldn't have seemed like we lost him too. So I don't know, really what the bottom line is..

Back in the day when I lost my mom, little was even considered about the grief kids experience. I think they thought we didn't grieve. A lot more is known now, and I would suggest grief counseling. I wish they would have had that for my brothers and I back then. For my Dad, too.

Count me in as just another person who loves you....

elaine

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