I was putting laundry away when I overheard my sons’ friend telling his other friend that ‘Hayden’s mom wanted a girl but it was born with half a heart and died but they had another baby and now they have Hope’. Cute, sad; real.
Cute, that kids can be so open, honest and matter of fact. Something that adults could learn from kids. How they can speak so openly. While adults tip toe around the truth.
Sad: because at some point in their friendship my son told his friend about his sister that died.
Real; because that is the reality of our situation and kids don’t mask, hide or have weirdness talking about certain topics the way most adults do. The four boys were playing upstairs they saw a picture of lily and one friend asked about it, about who she was, why was it there (its in the corner with angel statues and candles) so the other friend answered him. Simple.
Thinking back, I wondered if the friend that answered for my son, if it was because he knew it was hard for Him and he didn’t want his friend to get sad at having to answer. You may think I give these young kids too much credit but after having witnessed the understanding way in which they have spoken about their sister and the sad reality of what happened, the way they’ve come to question other things has also showed their young intelligence and sense of understanding of the subject.
Unfortunately though we do not think kids are able to understand or accept death, we treat them and their grief very differently. Some do not like to bring kids to funerals because they think they will not understand. Or will tell a child there pet went to a farm instead of allowing them to grieve the inevitable loss that is death. I think most kids handle the truth better than some adults. Perhaps the younger we teach about life and death the better they will cope as adults after life has taken away their resilience.
Here is a link on tips to help kids through grief.
I do believe that yes kids are resilient, that they can move on from one difficult subject to the next much easier than adults. They also reflect as we do a times, though we assume kids just forget. There are nights I have fought back tears as my own kids ask I their dad will die soon, often out of the blue. The random mentions of their sister at bed time. The hugs so freely given with silent understanding when mommy is sad. Kids do get it. Kids feel deeper and accept more than we give them credit for. Maybe more than adults.
Every December, Lily’s birthday looms in the back of my mind, I secretly count down the days every night in my mind so I guess it is in the front of my mind not the back. The routine keeps spinning, nothing waits for my grief to subside.
I wake up, take the kids to school, buy groceries, complete other tasks and drive home until I have to retrieve them. But at times after driving I feel a tug in my heart, my eyes hurt. Remembering all the drives to and from the hospital. Often I don’t remember crying, I don’t think I notice anymore it seems common for me to be crying and not to realize, I cry at the gym, at school, in the car. As I walk downstairs and stare at her 11×14 picture on the wall the biggest I could get without thinking people would call me a crazy person. I remember when I brought it home and put it up in Lily’s room, my husband freaked he said he couldn’t look at it because it was too big, I spent days in her room staring at it, kissing it, apologizing to it. I wanted it to feel like she was there.
Lily would have been almost two when I wrote this back in 2014. Now she would be turning six this December 30 2017. There was a little sister of one of my boys’ friends who loved ‘my baby Hope’; she was around two when Hope was born. She was so adorably sweet to Hope. She truly loves her. Then it struck me, I had a thought that when she was hugging Hope telling her she loved her. Would that have been what lily would have been like? I mean she is a few months older than she would be but essentially the same age/stage that she would have been had she lived…should have been… I wish hope had her big sister. I always wanted a sister.
But, no Lily would not have ever walked or talked or eaten. Had she lived and then survived all her surgeries, she was to have a tracheotomy to be able to breathe, she already had a G-tube that fed her through her gastro intestine, she had delayed development because of seizures at birth, they said she wouldn’t walk though I always doubted that they knew anything. They being the “specialists” She was going to be the one that surprised them the one that beat the odds. But she still would never have walked or tasted food. I struggle with what would have been her life, thinking that perhaps she died because she just didn’t want that life, maybe two months was what was meant to be her life, maybe it is just me, and I am feeling guilty. If I had waited for the anesthesiologist and had a c-section maybe she would not have had so many problems. The breathing issue (small trachea) would always have been there. The reflux problem may not have always been there it was caused by her brain stem damage at birth, but the congenital heart disease would and she would still have needed surgery, I don’t know. I suppose I will never know.
Wishing you a peaceful December.
Thank you for reading