Whilst we were with the Son and my daughter-in-law the day after our angel passed, I asked the First Born whether she had told her children what had happened.
They had seen her happy and busy preparing for the upcoming baby shower and now they suddenly didn’t have mummy at home with them much. She wasn’t happy any more and cried a lot. I thought that they must a little confused.
She replied that she hadn’t but that she would talk with them about it later that day.
There are two schools of thought about speaking with children about death. Those who believe children don’t need to know and those that believe a child has as much right to mourn as an adult.
Growing up with my grandmother I attended many funerals with her as she didn’t have a baby sitter during school holidays. I never knew the people involved but my grandmother was open and honest with me that these people had died and that a funeral was a way of saying goodbye. I never feared death and my family always spoke about those who had passed with fondness and honesty.
The First Born texted me later that evening saying that she had told the children that their aunt and uncle’s baby had been born and then died. My grandson (being only 4) just said “Ok” and then went back to playing with his cars and trucks. My grand daughters are much more aware and knew that something was making mummy sad so they asked lots of questions. They also asked to see photos. The First Born shared the photos she had on her camera prompting one of the girls to day “She’s so beautiful but now she’s an angel”.
The funeral was held whilst the children were at school so they didn’t attend but I’m so pleased that my daughter was open and honest with her offspring as it has made it so much easier to discuss things with them now.
This past weekend has seen all three of my grandchildren staying with us. It is always so busy and full-on when they are here that we often are left gasping for air after they leave. lol
On Saturday my son and daughter in law came over to spend time with the children and that was wonderful. The children love them (although I don’t think Master Four has grasped the fact that my daughter in law is married to his uncle as he keeps referring to her as Uncle’s ‘friend’). I was so happy that there was no awkwardness about whether we might say something we shouldn’t about Suzanne. This meant that they all had a wonderful time playing together.
Later that evening, one of my granddaughters followed me into my sewing room where I had a few baby things sitting out that were originally meant for little Suzanne.
“Did you make those things Ma?” I was asked.
“No honey. Not these ones. I bought them.” I replied.
“Were they for baby Suzanne who died?” she responded.
“Yes they were.”
“That was sad wasn’t it?” was the response.
I acknowledged that it was very sad and she then went on to talk happily about other things without any further comment.
There were one or two other conversations with the children over the course of the weekend prompted by things said or items around the house that piqued their curiosity but each conversation was natural and flowed easily.
I was so grateful that my First Born had spoken with them about this.
I spent some time sitting with my daughter-in-law and watching the Son and the children in the pool. We got talking about things (as you do) and the topic of babies and children came up. Tears welled in her eyes and she angrily wiped them away telling me that she needs to get over this.
I reminded her that it has only been a couple of weeks and there are days that I still cry for those I have lost years later. I encouraged her to grieve without thinking she is being soft and I let her know that tears are a natural and healing part of the grieving process.
Then I shared the story that Tric had mentioned in the comments on one of my posts the other day about butterflies being the souls of babies who have left us too early. She smiled at that and told me that she liked this idea very much.
I continued that another commenter (sorry I forget who) had wished that my garden be filled with butterflies.
As we spoke two butterflies flitted into view and landed amongst the greenery of my shade house.
I pointed them out to my DIL and her tears dried as her smile grew wider.
Speaking about death and those who have left us too early is never easy but it should be as natural as talking about the weather.
Maybe it is because our family has suffered so much loss and tragedy over the years that we are more open about talking of these issues. I don’t know.
What I do know is that death is as natural as birth and the feelings that arise from both of these life events are natural also.
Whilst we remember those who have left us with sadness, it is a joy to be able to speak easily about them with others.
This morning as I sat at my computer and gazed out at my garden (I do that a lot lately), I noticed a visitor. Still in my night clothes, I grabbed my camera, changed my lens, checked my settings and rushed outside to snap off a few shots before my visitor flitted away.
Life is full of blessings.