I asked my sister if she would want to write something for the blog for infant loss awareness month in October. This is one of the greatest gifts she has ever given me. “Mommy, can we drive to heaven to see Baby David?” I heard from the back seat. This question was both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I tell Emily that unfortunately we can’t drive to see him. She then goes on to ask if Maggie and Mika were in heaven licking Baby David. Kate and I couldn’t help but laugh at that one. (Maggie and Mika are Dave and Mary’s dogs that also went to heaven this year.)
Since March these have been the conversations at our house. We’ve cried and laughed. I suppose its all part of the grieving process.
Two years ago, when she was four, we had to explain death to Kate when her great-grandpa George died. That seemed easy…he was in his 90s lived a full, happy life and went to heaven. She grasped the concept as well as any four-year old would.
This time it’s different. Babies aren’t supposed to go to heaven. We had plans…we had plans to cuddle Baby David. We had plans to take him to the park. We had plans to show him around Lake Washburn. We had plans to have our new nephew/cousin over for slumber parties to give his parents a break. We had plans. How are we supposed to explain this to the girls when we don’t understand it ourselves?
We talk about Baby David almost every single day. These conversations help our girls process the loss but also help us remember the littlest member of our family. Emily asks Auntie Sena (better known as Mary to most of you) about him frequently. Sometimes it makes me cringe a little because I want to protect my little sister. It’s always been my instinct to protect Mary. As her big sister, I’ve always tried to ‘fix’ things for her. Unfortunately, this is one thing I can’t fix. Even if my instinct is to stop Emily from asking questions, I need to continue to let these conversations happen. I think they are healing for both my girls and my sister.
October is Infant Loss Awareness Month. This topic may be more top of mind during October, but for the families of these sweet babies, we remember every day. If you’re inclined, say a little prayer for these families who ache so badly for the little ones.