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.