My husband passed away 17 years ago, at a very young age. All of our children were still young, ages 19 months through 6 years. Of all of them, I think the youngest was most affected.
Joe wanted a son so badly, but it seemed that fate had other plans. Finally, after 3 daughters and almost 5 years, Jason was born. Joe had so many plans for him, so much he wanted to share with him. But it was not to be. When Jason was 19 months old, barely off the bottle, Joe died at the age of 30 with a massive heart attack.
As the months and then the years passed, I often felt his presence, reassuring me that he was watching out for us. I guess I am not particularly sensitive, because it was always only a "feeling" or a dream or a shadow in the corner of my eye that indicated his presence.
From time to time, though, I would see my very young son, he was probably 4 years old at the most, doing something that a boy would normally have to be shown or taught how to do, wielding a shovel, hammering a nail, some little chore that most people have to practice. I would ask him, "Who taught you how to do that?" thinking that he would answer one of his grandfathers or his uncles had showed him how, although I wasn't aware of any of them taking the time. Jason would look at me with a solemn look in his eye and say, "My daddy showed me how."
This happened often enough, with enough small, complex, unusual tasks that I took to asking my relatives and neighbors who was showing him how to do these things? No one ever admitted to giving Jason instructions, or showing him how to do these things.
Oddly enough, about the time I stopped feeling him around, watching us, was about the same time that Jason started school and stopped "picking up" new skills that a father might teach a son.
Jason is much older now and doesn't remember ever telling me about his dad teaching him. I like to think that he stayed around long enough to give our son a good foundation.