My son “Bug” is a very sensitive soul. He is six and he is precious.
Today, he was brought to absolute hysterical tears over a Budweiser commercial. If you’ve seen it, you know which one I’m about to mention. The puppy and the horse? Poor little Bug was absolutely distraught that the puppy kept being taken away from his best friend. (If you haven’t seen “puppy love” I’ve included some links below to articles about it. As a side note, my son is not the only one who got choked up over the commercial.)
Later in the day, he again got emotional about the commercial. When I picked him up from school, his eyes welled up with tears and the first thing he said was “I hope that puppy doesn’t really get taken away from his best friend.”
Then later this evening, as we told his dad about the commercial, Bug started talking about our puppy “Chip” dying.
As he started to get worked up about our puppy dying, my husband patted him on the head. “Buddy, at some point everyone is going to die. But we can’t live our lives constantly being afraid of when that is going to happen.”
It’s true. And yet, it’s hard to get to that place. Especially for children who have so many questions about death. Each day I am reminded how much our daughter’s death also impacted my son, who was old enough to remember when his baby sister did not come home from the hospital. It’s funny how his little mind works, and how it all ties together. How he will randomly climb up in my lap, nuzzle in my arms and say “Mommy, I wish Kathryn was here.” And I’ll just reply, “Me too, buddy.” Today I got the opportunity to see just how much it has impacted him when loved ones are separated.
But not being afraid is also difficult for me. After losing my daughter, I constantly find myself always wondering when something will happen to one of my other children, or my husband, or someone else I am close to.
I want to let him miss her and be sad as he needs to. I want him to always be sensitive and caring in his sweet way. But I also never want him to miss out on life because he is terrified of others dying.
So my son and I had a conversation about the fact that bad things do happen, and life will make us sad. But there is so much good as well. Good that we don’t want to miss. Although I could not get him to move beyond the sadness of the puppy being separated from his best friend to realize that the end was happy as the two were reunited. He could not see the big picture through his sadness. Perhaps because he already knows from life experience that there is not always a happy ending.
And my heart hurt for him.
Did you have other children at the time of your loss? What resources did you use to help them deal with grief?
So sorry for your loss. Many years ago, my own daughter was stillborn and my son grieved with us — I have to say it made him a better man for going through that experience (he was only 7) – when my subsequent son was born I was overjoyed that he was breathing & alive! I was not as concerned with his emotional response to being ‘the subsequent’ as I should have been. They are happily well adjusted (as can be expected) young men who have dealt with their loss in very different ways. My oldest, will be 29 & plans to include a picture of his stillborn sister at his upcoming wedding. My younger son honored the sister who came before him by getting a life sized tattoo version of her on his back…because his stillborn sister ‘ is always with him, and always has his back’. We all find our way to incorporate our loss in our lives…think of it as a tapestry woven from many different threads. May you be blessed on your journey….
Thank you for your sweet words. It is interesting how they take the loss with them, regardless of birth order. You have a very healthy outlook!