Grief is a strange thing…a fluid thing. The way it manifests itself in adults and kids. It really keeps you on your toes.
Often times Tony and I don’t even know we are struggling with big grief until we start tackling it. We will just turn to the other one and say the words.. The ones that will unleash a landslide of understanding for the fights or explosions or misunderstandings of the last few weeks.
With kids its a sudden twist. I want them to know they can talk to me or other safe adults.
I want them to also know its ok to not be grieving their sister.
Its ok to just be. .
It is a small tightrope to be walking along. That balance between openness and demonstrating healthy big emotions while still allowing them to just be kids.
They surprise us though. They often do it very differently.
Nicholas wants to go the cemetery a lot. Everywhere we go he picks up rocks to “bring to sissy” When we paint them he does so slowly and deliberately wanting to make sure its just right for her. He wants to go alone with me and Tony. He wants to teach Charlotte how to paint her rocks for Jennifer too.
Jonathan wants to not go.
Jonathan’s nightmares seemed to have calmed down. He doesn’t often scream for me in the middle of the night.
Nicholas never has. But he recently told me he has Jennifer dreams. But they are ugly. Not her. Not other people in them. Just the dream itself. “Its just ugly Mommy.” He never calls for me in the night. I had no idea this was happening. What is a ugly dream for a just turned 4 year old boy?
Recently at a “talk dr” appointment for Jonathan his therapist told me he just wanted to talk about Jennifer the whole time. A lot about her. And about how its hard for him to say goodbye to anyone for him now. He has a fear of what goodbye might mean. Since he knows he said goodbye to her once.. Not knowing it would be the last goodbye he ever got to say to her. I wonder what all that really means in his little head. I wonder how best to help him.. since I certainly can’t promise that any goodbye won’t be final. ..
When we got in the car to leave that appointment a song came on immediately. One meant just for him. He asked me to turn it up. And for us both to sing along. Changing the words the way we used to when Jennifer was in the car with us.. using “sissy” instead.
you always liked the final word
i know goodbye wasn’t final
but it sure feels that way to us.
..until there is a cure. .