Saturday, February 4, 2012

sister


I talk about Charlotte around Bennett.  I point out her picture, say her name, mention what clothes and things we bought for her and use for him.  When he chatters at the ceiling I ask, "are you talking to your sister?"  Right now he has no idea what I'm saying, who I'm speaking of, but when he is older he will.

How do I incorporate her into his life?  How do I explain Charlotte to him?  Do we continue to speak of her casually, so he grows up knowing he has a sister somewhere, not here, not alive, but somewhere?  Do we have a serious sit down discussion?  I know there's a book, but it seems tacky to me (no offense to those who have it/use it).
Maybe it just needs better artwork.

Children are perceptive.  I think they often understand heaven and the idea of death better than adults.  Maybe if we say, "you have a sister, she was born before you, but she's in heaven with Jesus now," it will click, he'll just understand.  Maybe believing in heaven makes it easier, because she is somewhere other than gone.

I think/hope/wish we won't have to explain it to him.  I want him to have met her in the passages between life and death where babies wait to become and breathe.  I want there to be a connection between them I cannot understand, if only because I want him to know his sister even if he cannot have her in his life.

It's complicated - all of this - so very complicated.  When I was desperate to have another baby I wish I would have seen the landscape to come, the vast miles of confusion and questions I would have to traverse with a baby in arms and a baby above.

Charlotte is part of us.  Her pictures are all over the house, her rose - still blooming! - and stone in the yard.  Her short life changed us, shaped this family.  Someday we'll find a way to explain her to him.

7 comments:

  1. I agree that the book needs better artwork, but I loved the way it was written. Have you read it? I bought it for a friend, but still haven't gotten my own copy. No idea how we will go about telling my boy about his sister either. I can't wait to hear his perspective though. I think kids are so much closer to that other side.

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  2. It is such a hard subject to approach with children but I think they have a much better understanding then we give them credit for. My situation is a little different as my daughter lost her baby brother (my son passed in December). She is 2 1/2 and although I don't think she understands the permanence of death she talks about her baby brother being in heaven with Jesus. Her favorite book (and one of mine) is Heaven is for Real. She loves the illustration and although it is specific about losing a sibling it is just a sweet children's book. And I think it is wonderful that you talk about Charlotte...it will be great for Bennett to know about his big sister :)

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  3. I agree it is tough. Not only do we have to explain it to our rainbow son, but we had to try to explain it to our older daughter while we were so heavily grieving. It was SO hard. I will tell you I have a student I work with who has a sister who died before she was born, and she talks about her ALL the time. It makes me smile, and I want to ask her mother how she did it. She told me she had a blanket that was her sisters and she slept with it, but lost it now. That made me so sad that she lost it, but how sweet that she slept with it. My oldest knows she has a sister in Heaven, I think, and she will talk about her randomly then not for awhile. I want to teach her that it's ok to talk about her, I want her to not be afraid or ashamed to talk about her, or feel uncomfortable talking about her. I am not such a good role model, I often don't bring my other daughter up because I'm not sure what or how to say it.

    We do have that book, and I actually really like it. The message inside made me cry the first time I read it.

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  4. I am not a usual commenter by follow your blog (and really like it! - thank you, so I should comment more). I think this must be a very hard issue for you and though it's not one I can say I've been in, I thought I might share something we're doing right now with my five year old.

    I am pregnant with my second child but it's in fact our sixth pregnancy. My pregnancies have never made it past the first trimester though which is why I can't compare our situations. Our daughter is very anxious about the baby however as she knows a little of what has happened and we've been working to put her mind at ease.

    Someone suggested making a book yourself, which is what we're doing. Ours is about 'when the baby comes'. If you make your own book (when B is older) you can adjust it to include what you want it to, add photos, etc. Then you can laminate and bind it.. extra special as personal. Just a thought! xo

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  5. This is a tough one. I wonder about this with Allie too. And I too like to believe she has (or had) some special connection to Acacia. That felt more real to me when Allie was inside of me, and I imagined she knew that my womb was occupied by her sister before her and that they somehow knew each other.

    I also really like the "someone came before you" book, but certainly take no offense that it's not for you. I do agree that the artwork isn't the greatest. And ya know, maybe I like the book as much for me as I imagine Allie understanding it when she gets older. It made me cry. It named my feelings. Perhaps it's a book to also give to friends and family to help them understand how a babyloss family can feel?!

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  6. Angela! I know this post explained how confusing it is to for you and for all of us BLM's and families to try and include our babes gone too soon into our very real and present everyday lives. Especially into the lives of our rainbow children. I agree with you on the book mentioned above. It's not quite what some of us would call "helpful". I just read your other post from today (2/5/12) and wanted to bring these two together. If you ever have any interest in writing a better book along these lines....I feel like you of all people have the best ability to get it right. This is something I thought the day you wrote this post, but decided not to comment. Then you posted today (2/5/12) about your writing, so I really felt called to share this with you. I don't comment much unless I really feel the need, but I read every post you write! I believe in your writing and know you have a special gift and talent that has to be shared with the world! Love to you my sweet friend! Thinking of you, Charlotte, B, J and Isabelle.

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  7. I'll offer a different point of view for you. My brother died a few days after he was born. He was never spoken of after that day. I don't know if that was just a part of the times and current culture or if it was just too painful. It always frieghtened me that no one told me where he went or why we couldn't talk about him. It was years before I even knew his name. In my humble opinion, you should talk about Charlotte. It was scary to see my mom or dad crying and being told that nothing was wrong and that everything was fine. To hear them say that they were sad because they missed my brother would have brought great comfort for me and I think that I could have been a comfort to them as well.
    The Holy Spirit will give you the words you need and I am certain you will feel peace when it is time. That is what I will be praying for you, J and B.

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thank you!

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