sibling loss

********** I wrote this a few days before the shelter in place happened.. It was one of those posts I wasn’t sure if it was meant just for me to get it out.. or to share.. Tomorrow that 6 year old turns 7… and it feels right to share******

Charlotte is 6 now.. the baby that has now outlived her sister. I wonder.. I worry how hard this must be on her. .. She used to mention it all the time when she first turned 6.

“Mama.. Im 6 right?”

“Yup”

“And Jennifer was 6 right?”

“Yes baby”

But that’s calmed down since her sister’s birthday.. I never even realized that til right now.. Well I guess until last night..

Charlotte started the questions last night.. randomly driving home from the boys baseball practice. She asked her sister’s last words.. she got mad at me when I told her.

She and Nicholas both wanted more from me. They wanted something beautiful.

So I did my very best to find the beauty in the ugly. I explained to them how our souls can speak to each other. How its a language we all know how to speak.. we just don’t know it.

Nicholas struggled..

“Mom is that what in the heart we have at home” He said it much more than asked it.. I’m not sure he really wanted to know.

“no buddy. no. That’s just part of her body. We turned it to ash when she died. She didn’t need it anymore. Fingers and toes are what make us touchable… our body isn’t really who we are.. That’s not the part of that lives on forever.. That’s our souls.”

“oh”

Damnit. I still can’t seem to protect my child.. my children from cancer can I?

“You know how you feel love. Or happiness. How you can worry and kinda hurt when somebody you care about is upset? Well that’s your soul. It’s your souls voice talking to your brain.

We cant see that. We can’t touch it. But we can kinda hear it.. We can feel it right?”

Nicholas seemed satisfied then.. Charlotte just looked out the window at the world passing us bye..

Jonathan did as he pretty much always has during these moments.. He was quiet. But hanging on every word .. He used to move his head with the conversation. This time though. He just sat still..

you were there too

bridgey was chatting to herself

..or so i thought..

but it was you wasnt it sissy miss

she is goofy like her biggest sister..but Jennifer wanted to be princess in preschool.. Bridgey said a Queen

There is no rulebook for how to navigate any of this.. even if I have been through it with other kids.. They all have a slightly different take at each stage. We were told from the counselors during hospice that as our kids grew up they would hit different developmental milestones and the death of their sister would hit them again.. They would struggle with it again..

We have found that to be very true. Hell we have seen it to be true for our friends.. When they had their first baby.. They understood.. ached for us on a different level..

And when our friends have gone on to give their eldest a sibling.. Well they have hurt in a different way for our four.. for her four.. They understand the love.. the connection once they see it in their home. .

There is always and will always be one missing.. in my car. In our home.. But never ever in my heart.

Yet.. My heart is full.

I hope my kids see that and know that’s what the soul is.

Its the ability to feel love and hurt at the same exact moment with incredible depth and clarity. And to communicate all of that without words.

you made me a mommy

thank you

…until there is a cure..

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