“At rest, quicksand thickens with time, but it remains very sensitive to small variations in stress.
At higher stresses, quicksand liquefies very quickly, and the higher the stress the more fluid it becomes. This causes a trapped body to sink..” national geographic
Quicksand .. an analogy I googled mid post and realized was so perfect I cried at the understanding it seemed to convey to me.
When you are in quicksand you have move slowly. Deliberately. Constantly. It’s something you have to get out of on your own.
But what about when its your kids that are stuck in it?
We are pausing continuing to work on her room. We are concentrating on touching them. We are taking just a moment to listen before reacting. Because that’s what they need from us.
Last night Jonathan just started crying with Tony. That he missed him this weekend.. that he “loves him (Daddy) too much” This is a common saying for him lately. It’s sweet but it’s also dark. There is a yearning.. a fear in him that escapes when he says those words to us. Sometimes his arms are wrapped tightly around us, sometimes he is looking right into our eyes when he says it. But there is a question that comes with it. A scared little 5 year old boy.. searching us and himself and trying to sort out big, huge feelings. Last night it hit him hard.
Tony told him he can always call if they are apart if he misses or needs him. And Jonathan admitted what he obviously felt like was a huge sin.. He forgot about him. “Just for a moment” he said. “But Daddy I forgot about you.”
Before we had kids we spent time trying to talk about all sorts of parenting issues. We studied parents we admired and have tried to use things we have observed. But this is all new. Uncharted territory. Parenting young kids in the aftermath of this loss. It feels to me like trying to run across a sandy beach that has spots of quicksand.
Always difficult. Always hard to keep moving. But we do.
Then we hit the quicksand and have to work so hard to not get pulled in. It’s a sudden change, disorientating and often shocking. These pits of sand always keep a souvenir, a part of us in it.
Everyday we run.. Through a thicker uneven surface than we are used to. We tire often and easily. We feel like we have to be so careful, so many injuries can happen running in dry sand. Step after step we take unsure if what we are feeling is just the normal strain of running in the sand for just under a year and a half or if its about to be a patch of quicksand. One that has to be dealt with in a completely different way..
Nicholas. Only 3. He knew his big sister for two years. I can’t believe that. just two years. Its truly doesn’t seem real to me. If I read that B.C (before cancer) I would be sure that her death didn’t really impact him. But as his Mom I know differently. The way he reacted the thought of us moving her bed was so surprising to me…Jennifer was more than just time spent though… I think I forget that.
Well actually, if I’m being honest it’s because I am married to his father that I know the depth of his pain over his sister not being here. Because for Nicholas it’s Tony, not me, who he needs.
Last night I got him settled and tucked into bed. A few minutes later he called to Tony so I took over getting Jonathan ready. He asked where we were this weekend. Tony explained I was with friends.
“Ones you don’t know”
“Ok but who are they?”
“Other moms that also have kids that moved to heaven”
“How did Jennifer die?”
Then he looked his Daddy square in the eye and said ” I want cancer. I want to die too.. to be with sissy.”
Parenting quicksand.. sudden and terrifying but you have to react.
Over and over again he said he wants to die too. What does that mean to him? What is he trying to tell us? Tony dealt with it incredibly. Slowly and deliberately and by example showed him to just keep moving .. Our poor strong independent boy. He cried with his Daddy using the words we wish he didn’t have to know. “I want to be dead so I can be with sissy.”
Tony then came into me. And looked .. I’m not sure I can describe it. He looked bewildered and lost. Scared but also understood. Because our forever truth is that part of all of us just can’t wait to see her again.
The beach is beautiful, but moving in the sand, it is always hard and tiring and sometimes I just want to give up on even trying to walk in it. Then I hit my own patch of quicksand and wonder if I can actually pull myself out of it when its so deep strong and tight.
When you are in quicksand you have move slowly. Deliberately. Constantly. Its something you have to get out of on your own.
I ask aloud again..but what about when its your kids that are stuck in it?
I guess the same hold true for them as it does for us. We just have to stand at the edge of it and coach them. Tell them what to try and watch them struggle against it. We have to allow them to see us in quicksand and let them witness our slow but constant fight. We have to reassure them that they can do this and we will be here with them every step of the way.
This is childhood cancer. This is child loss. For a whole family.
we will see you one day sissy
never soon enough.
we WILL see you
…until there is a cure..