It's 10:43 and Riley is still up. With Dad's passing, Riley knows something's different. He hadn't cried or anything indicating that he fully comprehends it, until now.
A little earlier tonight, Riley asked me, "Why did Tai Yeh die?"
Questions like that from the kids immediately get me going. Luckily it was dark in his room. I said, "Because he was very sick and his body got really tired." I told him, "You can always talk to me about Tai Yeh. I can tell you stories and we can talk to him together." I left him and Marci went in to see him shortly after.
I was downstairs and Marci came in wet-eyed, saying that Riley was sad that his Tai Yeh was gone, and that he was gone forever. He seemed to understand that that meant he'd never see him again. Marci told him to tell Tai Yeh his Knock Knock jokes, so he did. We heard him over the monitor babbling to himself, cracking himself up. Then we heard him crying, but we could tell it wasn't his run of the mill cry.
We went upstairs and he was crying, saying he really missed Tai Yeh. I immediately lost it and said I missed him. Marci piled on and she was crying too and we just all cried in Riley's bed for a minute.
Marci had changed her computer desktop to a picture taken last year of Tai Yeh holding Riley. I told Riley I had something that would make him happy and brought him out here to see that picture. We then went through the computer and looked at all the pix of Dad that we had. That seemed to make Rye feel better. We held him and we all calmed down. Then, out of nowhere, he yelled, "I CAN'T HELP IT!" and started crying again. It was so dramatic that it was funny, but our little boy is heartbroken.
Marci scooped him up and took him to our bedroom and held him for a minute. They came out and we all went on the deck to look up at the stars to see if we could see Dad sending any shooting kisses to us. He says he saw one, so I'll be happy for that. I told Rye about seeing a deer by Mom and Dad's house last night, and how Marci and I thought that was Dad's spirit visiting us. He thought that was cool.
I had no idea Riley would be as affected as he showed tonight. I thought he was too young and would just wonder why we were all sad and happy seeing family for the past few days. I thought he was just exhausted from playing with his cousins all day. But, he voiced his feelings to Marci and I, and for that, I am grateful.
My dad really touched those kids and I am thankful for every moment we were able to spend with him. We made an extra effort the past year to go see him and Mom as much as we could, and even so, we didn't get up there nearly enough.
It pains me more now that though Riley did get to see Dad one last time last Saturday, he didn't get to see him again after that, and now, Dad's gone. Rye will get to see Tai Yeh again in a few days, but Tai Yeh will be "sleeping" and I'm sure Riley will be a little confused.
Ah, Dad... we miss you so!
And Riley's asleep now.