Making choices on behalf of your kids is tough. How do you know you’re making the right choice? What if the choice you make is the wrong one? What if they hold it against you later?
When it comes to the tougher stuff I try to do my best at keeping their best interests in mind. It’s a little easier making tough decisions knowing it’s for their own good, that they will be better off in the future.
But when it comes to grief and death it feels impossible to know what’s right.
Do I talk about death too much? Too little?
Should I talk about Melissa more? How much detail should I share about her life and death?
Do the kids see me cry too much? Should I feel less shame for crying in front of them? Why do I feel any shame at all?
What about the loss of family? Friends? Pets?
Do they need to know how people died? Should they go to the funeral?
How do you explain why people die?
So many questions.
After Melissa died I made the choice to be open with The Boss about what happened. I felt that it was important The Boss know and understand she has a sister that lives in Heaven, that Melissa lived and died in my tummy, that we will never really know how she died, that we will always remember her.
I wanted The Boss to know that it was ok to talk about her. That sometimes it’s sad to talk about her and that’s ok.
The Boss was too young to understand what was happening at the time. It’s only within the last year that she’s started talking and asking questions about Melissa. It breaks and warms my heart all at once. It also reminds me that the choice to be open and honest about life and death is the right one. She is comfortable talking about death and asking anything and everything.
Last year the world lost a wonderfully humorous soul that I was lucky to know and The Boss was lucky enough to see not long before he died.
I really wasn’t sure about bringing her to his funeral, but ultimately decided that it was good for her. She didn’t fully understand what was happening, but she understood we were sad because someone died. She gave me great strength and comfort, kids are good for that. A hug from a kid can do wonders.
Since then, every once in a while The Boss will ask if I remember swimming at her friend’s grandpa’s house, ask me why he died – she’s not interested in how, only why, and these questions always come out of the blue and always in the car.
A couple weeks ago she got me good:
Boss: My friend’s grandpa can talk to my other sister, right?
Me: Um, pardon?
Boss: My friend’s grandpa can talk to my sister Melissa because they’re both in Heaven.
Me: Yes, they can talk to each other. What do you think they talk about?
Boss: I don’t know…
I choked back tears the rest of the drive, I don’t even remember what she said after “I don’t know”.
I will appreciate that beautiful moment forever.
Children have such a unique, beautiful perspective. So simple and so beautiful.
This is the moment when I knew that I made the right choice not shielding her from the sadness in life. To her it was simple – Melissa died and went to Heaven and so did her friend’s grandpa, so of course they can talk to each other just like we can here on Earth. Without even trying she comforted me in a way I didn’t know I needed; she brought me peace I had been searching months for. And she reminded me that maybe all those tough decisions aren’t so tough after all – that there is light and love in the dark places too.
She is my Sunshine