THAT week


Well, THAT week is over, thank goodness – the week where it will always be known and remembered as “they” died.  I’ve struggled with what to write about today.  I don’t want to offend people, I don’t want to hurt people, and I understand that as a remarried woman I probably view the events surrounding this past week slightly different than friends and family do.  I’ve said before, to intentionally focus on my love and feelings for another man, even a deceased man whom I was married to, feels a little like emotional adultery to me.  So on my day I do not go there emotionally.  I remember what that day represents, and I always remember that I was married to him and through four very lively reminders remember that we had children and a life together.  It does no one any good for me to remember my feelings for him in an intimate way.  It would not be fair to Ryan to do that in our marriage so I don’t go there.  Just as I wouldn’t go and try to remember feelings I had for a prior boyfriend in my first marriage, it’s the same sort of idea in this second marriage, and it’s just not healthy to go there emotionally.  Secondly, it’s a bittersweet feeling through it all as a remarried woman.  First, I have my husband and children because of someone’s death and without her death I would not have them.  Therefore, I’m sad because people are hurting because of their loss but to say that I’m sad because someone I never knew died and because of her death I have a wonderful marriage and life?   See my dilemma? That is a hard thing to write and a harder pill to swallow but it’s the truth.  I love my husband and new children intensely, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  That’s the bittersweet of it all.  I hope that as the years go by people can respect the fact that it is different for us.  We don’t have the same pain that others may have, and I apologize if that’s hurtful, but when you remarry that spousal love is replaced. We acknowledge the day for our children but even for them the parent void has been filled and replaced.  Our two year olds may be curious someday about their birth parents but outside of curiosity, I don’t think there will be much.  It was in the grand script of it all that Ryan and I come together in this moment in time, and it was in the grand script that we be mom and dad to seven lively little reminders of them for as long as we are granted the time.  
Just keep livin!! 

18 thoughts on “THAT week

  1. It’s kind of like misery loves company…when some people are grieving and sad over the death of a loved one, they want everyone else who knew that person to be feeling the same way. However, that just isn’t the case. With loss in my life, I am the type of person who mourns and grieves when the day happened. For instance I have lost a nephew, a brother, and a sister tragically too soon. I never grieve and feel sad when that day comes on the calendar. It is just a date. It is not the actual day it happened. I also know those I have lost would not want me to feel sad every year. I believe they would want me thinking of the happy times at other times throughout the year. Little sweet and funny memories here and there. Not a whoa is me day annually that brings everyone down. Just my opinion. Loving your blog!

  2. REPLACED that is the word that sticks out in my mind out of your whole BLOG! You REPLACED THEM. I will share this with you and you dont have to post it or not.. dont matter your blog your choice. But I have read you for a long time since my sister had GBM. BUT being the sister of a GBM and my Former BNL did remarry….. YOU CAN’T REPLACE THEM! You will never be their biological parent of those children. PERIOD! You can love them as your own and I praise you for that! I am so happy for all 7 of the children as they all do need a Mother and Father. BUT you can’t replace the person that gave birth to them. We Celebrate the day my sister got her new house in heaven. We celebrate each birthday with Dairy Queen Blizards on her birthday at the graveyard. We Celebrate her, talk about her all the time. I never want my neice, nephews or my daughter that knew her to forget her…I tell my baby that i was pg with all about my sister and how if she had been here now my baby would be so spoild rotten it would be funny. I want her to know all about someone that loved her before she was even born. So instead of being sad and crying…which I do cry daily at times she was my sister… I celebrate that she is with our LORD and SAVIOR and celebrate the lives she made and touched! My FBNL new wife can never be their mother and unlike you (which I praise you for being the mother figure)she dont try to step into the roll of a mother. I think it is wonderful that you and Ryan step into that roll and teach the children. But No ONe Can REPLACE my sister…. not the new wife.. on one! She was a person to celebrate and rejoice that she is and was a great person. HER CHILDREN need to know where they came from and how hard she faught to be with them and how she took care of them and loved them! I love the movie StepMom as it totally protrays a cancer patient that loses the battle and the New Stepmom that helps the chidren remember and not forget their biological parent! Well enough said. Have a great day and keep livin! Tammy

  3. Tammy, I find it sad that New Wife doesn’t try to step in and fill that role. My step mom didn’t either. I have always truly missed having a mother figure in my life. Bless you for all that you do, Jessica. Because not having a mother role in one’s life creates an enormous void! Jackie

  4. A few things stand out to me about this comment. I understand your feelings, most people in our culture feel this way but I don’t think it’s necessarily the right way to think and feel. Yes, I will never be their biological mother, that is a fact, but another fact is that I AM their mother, I have the official papers to prove it and I live it every day as I take care of them as their mother. I don’t share this role with anyone else, it’s just me. She can no longer be a mother to them so yes, she was replaced as a mother, not by me but by God. I will not live and act as a step mother because I am not their step mother, I am their mother. Is the same replacement logic used with spouses? Did I not replace her as Ryan’s wife or does he now have two wives? I think of it along the lines of a tree in your yard that dies. Let’s say you have a pear tree that dies. You dig up that tree and REPLACE it with a new apple tree. The pear tree died, it served its purpose well by producing pears while it was alive but because it no longer serves any purpose here on earth, it will become firewood and a new tree is planted in its place and the new tree now serves the same purpose as the old tree (to produce fruit) but just in a slightly different way than the pear tree did with apples instead of pears. Memories from the past cannot be replaced or forgotten, I understand that, but from this point on in their lives all of their memories and experiences will be with the apple tree unless something happens to that tree and it is replaced by yet another new tree. Thanks for the comment.

  5. My Husbands former wife passed away GBM, and as sad as it was, she left behind a 21 month year old baby at the time. What is even sadder is for that baby to have to connect only with a Mother who is not here with anymore, and not a Mother on this earth, who will raiser her, wipe her snot, tears and butt and teach her the ins and outs of being a Woman in this world. As my daughters MOTHER (We also do not say Step) it is clear to everyone that I did not birth this baby. We do not lie to her, and tell her the truth that she came from her Other Mommy who gave her Former husband that best give she ever could ( and me by default). But she is not the Mommy who daughter how to read, talk, pee in a potty, use her manners at the table, laugh at her own mistakes and so on. My Husband would never let someone tell me that I could never replace her Mother, because I can and I have. The truth lies in what my daughter will think. Ask any adopted child from an open adoption (one who knows that they had a bio mom, and they also had an adoptive mom) and they will tell you the truth. They will say something along the lines of “sure, I had two moms, but my Mother is sitting right here next to me, and she is the one who raised me and loved me as her own.”Tammy, I am sorry that you feel that your children do not deserve a Mother on this earth that is alive and well, but I surely hope that the woman who has married your Former Brother in Law, feels differently. While it is true that nothing will ever take away the fact that their Mother passed away before her time, and they are from her (BELIEVE me, they will SEEP out of her, in their actions, looks, facial gestures, personality and so much more, they are of her DNA, and their memories of her are imprinted on their heart and in their mind forever) my hope is that you give them permission to love their new Mother as much as they did their late Mother. Believe me, they need a Mother still, and if you look up loyalty binds you will see that every time you cause (even inadvertantly) them to feel guilty for loving this new woman as their Mother, you are doing them an injustice. Be well. Rita

  6. ……”Believe me, they need a Mother still, and if you look up loyalty binds you will see that every time you cause (even inadvertantly) them to feel guilty for loving this new woman as their Mother, you are doing them an injustice……” Amen, Rita. Afford these children the luxury of having this in their lives. It would be a disservice to your sister NOT to.

  7. What is the purpose of reminding children who have little or no memory of their birth mother about her? When the children are going through life with a loving adoptive mother who cares for them, how does it help to remind them that their birth or “real” mother died? I understand if the children ask, then it may be helpful to discuss her, but otherwise, why peel a scab on a healing wound? Allow the children to dictate how often their birth mother is discussed. That also goes for her former husband. He has found a wonderful woman and mother to commit the rest of his life or her life to, does it help him emotionally to bring up his former wife? To me, doing this is passive aggressive and competitive. Why are you upset with people who are healing and making positive decisions in their lives? Maybe Tammy, it would be helpful to think about how your behavior negatively impacts others. I don’t personally know you, but judging from your response, you may need to go see a therapist to work on healing from the trauma you endured rather than spreading your misery to others and using children as pawns for your grief. Replaced is not the word to describe what has happened. No one can replace another and there is no comparison. After we experience traumas, we become much different people and act differently in our relationships. So the children, wife, and husband are much different people now with different needs in their lives. Why not embrace the new women or man in their lives and support her. It is not an easy task to take on children who you did not raise from day one. Be supportive and treat adoptive parents the way you would like to be treated. You will be surprised how different your experience will be if you are acceptive and adapt to change. Changing is living, being rigid is like dying, becoming a corpse. Be open to change so that your relationship with the living will grow, not die. Don’t make the children chose sides; be the adult and act as role model. Show your courage and kindness by rising above your grief and thinking of others. – Tara

  8. Jess, your role as mom is no different than that of someone adopting a baby or child from either another country, or here in the states, because, you did in fact adopt them and become their mom! There is no difference. Yet, you never hear people saying to those parents that they are replacements. How people can’t recognize and respect that, shocks me. LOVE you guys!! Traci

  9. You sweet honest girl!!! Kaci was one of my very best friends. I miss her and the kiddies but i completely revel in the fact that her heart was adoption and it was yours as well. In a weird way, you are continuing (unintentionally) her dream. Had it been you who passed she would have opened her heart and arms to your children…as her own. If somehow those who pass on look down on us, she is giddy as she watches you love and nurture and vigorously protect Ryan and the kids! This was all so difficult for us outsiders to get used to but anyone who would rather you walk on egg shells after all you have lived through is CRAZY! This is your life and I for one enjoy watching you live it with boldness and grace!!

  10. I think comparing your children’s mom to an apple or pear tree is strange. I was in the same situation as your adopted children. My 2nd mom loved me and devoted her life to me. For that I am profoundly grateful. I call her mom and love her deeply. BUT make no mistake, I miss my 1st mom every day. When I got married, I wished she was there. When we bought our first home, I wished she was there. When I had my babies, I wished she was there. She is always with me in my heart, but man, do I wish she was still with me in the physical sense. My 2nd mom is wonderful and is a great addition to my life, but no one can ever replace my 1st mother. Come to think of it, no one can replace my 2nd mom either!

  11. I think the comparison is called an analogy. That’s all I was trying to do. I don’t know how old you were when you lost your mom but I’m sure her absence did shape who you are and what you became. I’m not exactly sure if you are trying to disagree with me as being an adopted mom who loves my 3 children dearly? Or are you saying that your first mom took priority in your life because she birthed you? Which if that’s the case, I don’t agree with, I believe that an adopted mom can love just as fully and as richly as a birth mother.

  12. I was five when mom passed. I believe that you love all your kids deeply. They probably love you deeple too. I know I love my 2nd mom just as much as I loved my mom. BUT she didn’t replace her. Mom 1st mom is with me every day. She is with me through every new adventure, as is my other mom. It took me a while to learn that I could have 2 moms. I could call my 2nd mom, mom (for a while, I just used her first name). I guess what I’m saying, is I have 2 moms – not a birth mom and a new mom – but 2 moms! Neither one can be replaced in my life.

  13. We probably will not see eye to eye on this because I don’t believe that they are with us after death, so therefore replaced is the appropriate word for how we live our lives. My children may think differently after awhile but we don’t enforce this idea in our family that “they” are with them all the time outside of their memories. I don’t see any Biblical backing that would support this and as a remarried woman, that would mean I have two husbands? that doesn’t work for me and I’m sure it wouldn’t work for new hubby either:-) I appreciate the comment! Jess

  14. Well you may or may not know how I feel about afterlife (so I doubt she’s looking)… Forgive us as we tread this road with you all.. After reading your latest post, I see I am guilty of several offenses though they were unintentional. You all are doing great and I’m learning a lot as I read.

  15. Every family is different. My boys were 12 & 14 when my husband passed. They are now 15 & 17, and wonderful kids, despite the hardship they’ve had to endure watching their dad get sick and pass away. No man can replace their father in their life, ever. They talk about their father all the time. When/if I ever meet someone else, I can’t imagine that person loving my boys as their own or as his own sons, especially if he already has his own son(s). I would not force them to call another man “Dad”, not even “Stepdad” – first name is fine. Jess’s situation is different – the kids are small, and they can adjust to the “new” mom and dad. My boys are too old and have too many memories. So it all depends on the situation. (Sorry for the post almost a year later – I just found your blog today).

  16. Replying to you almost 2 years later — who knows? Maybe you have met someone? I married a widower 2 years ago when his first wife had been gone from cancer almost 3 years. At the time we were married, his kids were 15, 18, 20, and 22. (my 5 were 5 to 15 at the time) and I can truly say I love his children like my own. It is hard to expect that and it is maybe good not to expect that, but when you love a man so much, it was natural for me to come to love his kids like mine — especially when you see and know their beautiful grieving hearts. I think probably the kids don’t REALLY think we love them the same, and there are natural differences in how you treat your biological vs step kids because of history and differing upbringings and relationships, but it has been a tremendous gift to feel that same love for them as my own and to know my husband feels the same. I know I don’t replace their mom — I don’t expect that. And as a result it can hurt because I love them like a mom, but they don’t see me that way. There is a great sacrifical aspect to being a step-parent. It is harder for my husband because my children’s fathe is still alive. He is a lousy influence in their lives, but still alive and they see him so the “competition” for the father role is a lot harder on my husband. Hope for your future! I know my husband said he never thought he would marry again and here we are.

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