It has been a year since our loss. Quite a feat, considering what we have experienced. My T is a warrior. He appears so sensitive, and he actually is. During our “hibernation” this past week, T had some tough questions/ comments for us. Discussions ensued, and, of course, we think “What do we say?” I remember the hospital chaplain giving me advice, stating “Always speak the truth. Do not lie, do not sugar coat. He is not coming back. Do not put ideas in his head that will confuse him more. Everyone will die at some point.” I really was in awe by what I was told. Yet, later, I knew he was correct. We cannot say, “Well, B was sick.” This will make T be afraid to get sick or tell us he is sick, thinking he will die too. We cannot say, “He was old or he was sleeping or it was his time.” Again, he won’t want to sleep, or he will fear his grandparents will die…And what does “our time” really mean anyway? Adults are afraid to discuss death; imagine children.
That horrible morning, we simply sat him on the front porch, with a houseful of people inside, and told him his brother had died. It was something along the lines of, “We can’t see him anymore, B is not breathing like us, and we don’t know why he is gone, but we are sad too.” No reaction…confused look and wanted to play. A natural reaction for a child. So, throughout the year, the questions came out, as expected. He speaks to us, and others actually, quite openly about his dead brother. Uncomfortable for some? Probably. Yet, not for us. I am proud of him. We never deny or ignore a discussion or question. We embrace those moments.
So, the photo shows T’s journal. He writes and sketches about his brother. He writes down pictures, questions, or statements. My husband and I also each have a journal; journals have saved us. Writing is very therapeutic. I have come to rely on mine often.
You know T will always have his tank watching over him to proctect him. You should also know that my boys have always considered him their little brother. Stay Strong…
I am so sorry for the loss of your son. I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer on November 16, 2008. I’ve found that kids do feel loss and deal with it in their own way. At the time of my mom’s death, my son was 9 and my daughter was 2. My son was very close to my mom. I remember the day I told him his grandmother might die. She looked healthy on the outside, but was fighting a horrible disease on the inside. I had no idea how long she’d live and I didn’t want him to be caught off guard, so to speak, by her death. He was devastated, but mostly kept his feelings to himself. He will talk about his grandmom, but has never really shared his feelings. I know he feels the loss in his own way. I made my mom a promise that I would keep her memory alive for her grandkids and I try to honor that promise. My daughter doesn’t really remember her grandmom since she was so young. Her memories are mine. But a few months ago, she came to me and said “it’s not fair that Matt had so much more time with Grandmom Angel than me”. I was surprised. Even though she didn’t really know her grandmother, she too feels the loss. I know the loss of a son cannot compare to the loss of a mother. Again, I am sorry for your loss. Take care, Kathy
It is difficult for you, too, because you lost a mother and had to help your children with the loss of their grandmother. I wonder how we find our strength at times! Sorry for your loss and Thank you for sharing.