As a mother, I think we realize pretty early on that parenting is not a task for the faint of heart. We are faced with the fact that even though motherhood may be the most rewarding job that we will ever have, it also the hardest . We realize that we are going to be forced to be teachers sometimes, when we don’t consider ourselves qualified to do so. This is exactly how I felt with the sudden loss of my two year old niece. I literally found myself thrown abruptly into unfamiliar waters, dealing with more emotions than I knew what to do with and such all consuming loss. I struggled with how I would explain this unspeakable thing to my babies. At almost 40 years old it was the first loss of a close family member, that I had ever experienced. While feeling cheated, devastated and lost, It seemed so very unfair that they should have to experience this pain at such an early and impressionable age. I wondered how I could explain something to them that I in no way, shape, or form understood myself.
Coupled with all the emotions already coursing through my body was FEAR. Blinding FEAR.. The kind that made you want to lose your lunch. roll up into a ball and pull the covers of my head and just not acknowledge that tragedy like this really existed. But, luckily for me, my dh stepped in and made me realize that this would help no one. So together we sat in our bed, in the middle of the day, with our tears and our grief and talked out what and when would be the best way to tell our children. At the end of the conversation, spent and not totally convinced in what we had decided, we just laid there staring at the ceiling fan.
There was no way to predict just how our babies would respond, so we decided to wait until the weekend. At least, they would have the weekend to be alone “in their feelings”. I grew a little choked up prior to the conversation, so hubby jumped in. He explained to them what happened and explained that our “sweet girl” would not be coming back to us, but that she was resting with the angels. I watched so many emotions cross over their faces, confusion, hurt, disbelief, all emotions, I was still experiencing. It was hard for them to process. Our youngest is only 5 and I am still not sure how much she really understood. But, my 11 year old took it very hard. She spent the whole day crying on and off, and I honestly couldn’t blame her. This experience in no way makes me an expert, and I pray it is not a subject that I am ever an expert in. But, if I had to share my thoughts with any one of this subject this is what I would say.
- TIME: As adults, more often than not death comes and we are not prepared for it. I am not sure if that is a blessing or a curse. But, as parents, I say take the time you need to prepare yourself for the conversation. Even though you can’t predict what their reaction will be, no one knows your child better than you. So go with your gut and tell them your own way. It’s easy to be influenced by what every one else thinks is the right time or thing to say.
- ACKNOWLEDGE: Even though you may be in pain too. Make the time and effort to acknowledge their pain. Let them know that whatever they are feeling, be it hurt, anger, sadness, etc. is OK. They don’t have to justify the way that they feel. Help them work through their emotions, as you work through yours.
- ACCEPT: Accept the fact that things may never be the same. Life has changed for them. Life has changed for you. Everyone has to grieve in their own way, and in their own time.
- HOLD ON: Hold on to each other. Hold on to your faith. Be their source of strength and allow them to be yours. Family is EVERYTHING, and don’t any of your forget it.
Some of you that follow me via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc… have reached out to me and my family with kind words and sentiments and that means more than you all will ever know.
Our lives will never again be the same, but we are and were blessed to have had Skylar Janae in our lives. She will forever be missed and loved.