o for outstanding

Those sudden surprise moments..

The shock of being unprepared is like jumping into the freezing cold water of grief. ..

It steals your breathe and even when you start to regain it.. its stays sharp and ragged. Your heart is beating hard and fast and you look around disoriented.

.. fight or flight they call it right?

It happened the other night getting Jonathan’s report card. Tony was starting to talk to him about a few things and I stopped him and asked if we could talk privately later about how we wanted to approach it.. To be sure we can be on the same page..

no big deal. normal parenting..

Except.. nothing is normal parenting for us anymore. When will I learn that?

He said “yes good point” .. and looked at our sweet blue eyed boy and elaborated ” That this was uncharted territory for us.. ”

Jonathan is such an incredible biggest brother.
Jonathan is such an incredible biggest brother.

At first he saw my expression and thought I was mad at him for something.. So he asked.. And I just stumbled over words.. choking on the dark, the cold water of grief. ..

“no.. no. Its fine I .. I just.. ”

But then we made eye contact. And he knew. Accidentally I had pulled my husband right into the water with me. And all we could do was look at each other.. Knowing we couldn’t pull each other out. We just had to tread water.



I started to smooth it over with Jonathan… this all happened in less than a minute. A normal moment. . his moment.. But suddenly he was watching us. Both parents with eyes filled with sharp tears and mouths empty..

I looked at him and just told him the truth. I wondered even in that moment if that was the right thing to do..

“It makes me sad. Sad that we didn’t get to do this with Jennifer. Realizing this was new and something we never got to deal with for her.. It was like a sudden sad sissy moment. ”

Sharing the truth with him he got it.. I could see his shoulders relax from the weight of the worry.. Worry of what was happening. Worry of what he had done to cause our angst.

“ok yea. I know that Mom.” And he leaned in earnest understanding into his Daddy.

The truth set him free.. and me too. Because once it was said. It dissipated and lost its hold on me. 

That comfortable lean in .. When we felt like we could protect them just by being good parents.
That comfortable lean in .. When we felt like we could protect them just by being good parents.

“But its ok to be sad like I am. Sad for her.. but so proud of you. .. ” and the conversation comfortably and honestly returned to being him focused the way it should be.

Just a snapshot. One moment. Stolen and reclaimed. The normal in the un-normal world of child and sibling loss we are navigating.. together.

 just a report card

i would love one now.


I’m sure its full.

Full of all “o’s”

for outstanding.


…until there is a cure..

8 Responses to “o for outstanding”

  1. wow, yeah. what a great response to this… so hard. So great he is having report cards and so crappy she didn’t get that chance. take care….

  2. What an incredible moment of parenting in grief. Thank you for sharing Libby. A terrible moment of pain turned into a powerful moment of reclaiming love.

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