Natalie and I are gradually adjusting to life without Gary. Other than some nightmares Natalie is doing well. I have been treating the topic of Gary's death exactly like I do her adoption. It is also something that has become part of our daily conversations and is discussed in a simple, honest, matter-of-fact way. I was so afraid that after losing her fourth father (birth, foster #1, foster #2 and Gary) that Natalie would become afraid of losing me too, but thankfully that has not happened. There is a little song that we had been singing for months from the cartoon show "Daniel Tiger" with lyrics that say "Grown Ups Come Back". An hour or so after I told Natalie about Gary's death, she approached me and asked "Daddy not grown up anymore?" I think I felt my heart physically twist in my chest. In order to try to save her faith in me in particular coming back I immediately said, "No Daddy's not a grown up anymore. When you die you aren't a grown up anymore." I didn't know what else to say, but that seemed to suffice.
For me, recovering from the unexpected loss of Gary has been a slow process, but every day the pain is a little less. I am beginning to feel somewhat normal as I craft a new life for myself and my 3 kids (including the 2 giant furry ones :) We have been so lovingly supported by our family, friends and everyone at Natalie's school and that has meant the world to us. To all of you who have held our hands, filled our bellies with wonderful vegetarian food, given us hugs & cards and lifted our spirits you have my eternal gratitude. Even in the face of the biggest loss of my life I find that I have so much to be grateful for. Much love to you all!