Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Should he know?

Last week I had a play date for my little one with a little girl and her mom and sister. As my little one played with the little girl, her mom was innocently asking him something about a sibling. He answered, "I love my sister Isabel." She (the mom, the little girl didn't pick it up) looked at me confused and said, "Isabel, I don't remember meeting her." I explained that she was born at 21 weeks and 6 days and lived for only 3 hours and 45 minutes. She was apologetic.

The thing is that my little one knows about his sister matter-of-factly. He doesn't even think twice (as I think it should be) before freely speaking of her. Is that normal? I always thought it was not only normal but beautiful. As if he almost has a bond with the sister that he can't share his life with. He always speaks of her in a positive way. I'm just questioning if I made the right decision telling him about her at such a young age.

To people whose lives have never been touched by such a loss, it may seem weird or even morbid. I want to be completely honest but, I just don't ever want him to feel the kind of pain I've had to. It's too late to change anyway.

What do you think?


Tracey said...

I think you would have done more damage had you NOT made her a part of your everyday lives and discussions. To find out that there was once a sister and that you weren't Mommy's first baby would be a shock, I would think. Plus, it would make it seem as though there is something to hide, and there's not. Of course there will be awkward and awful moments when new people find out about your daughter, but that's to be expected. I would rather know up front and in a casual way (as you had at the playdate) than after being friends for years and then finding out in an uncomfortable manner. In my opinion, this can only benefit your family, to speak of her daily.

And it is so terribly sweet that he just drops his love for his sister into everyday conversations...

msfitzita said...

I think it's wonderful. There are so many people touched by this awful kind of loss who are terrified to speak about it at all - to anyone. The fact that your little boy speaks so freely and lovingly about his sister is just beautiful.

Isabel was/is a part of his life and I think it's important for him to feel that she is as much a part of your family as he is. If we ever manage to have another child I will talk openly and honestly about his/her big brother in heaven.

I hope that the frankness with which your son speaks about Isabel will encourage people to be more open about losses like yours, and help those who haven't experienced a tragedy to look at those of us who have NOT with morbid curiosity, but with understanding and love instead.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Boats said...

It sounds like you handled it just right. I had a brother who passed away at 3 months old. Although I was only 7 yrs. old at the time, my parents always told me the truth about everything going on. I think it's actually easier and better that way.

Angel Mom said...

I think it's wonderful that your son knows about Isabel and talks about her as if it is perfectly natural. When our daughter S was born and died, we had an older daughter K. We have since added 2 sons and another daughter to our family. The 3 older children talk about S all the time, several times a week actually. (G, the baby, is only a year old, but I'm sure she will also talk of S when she can talk) Since K was almost 3 when S died, we, obviously, have never had to explain to her about S. She remembers. However, I do not recall there being an exact moment of telling the other kids about her. Our speaking of her has always been a part of their lives and they have known from a very young age who that baby girl is in the pictures on the wall. I think that's how it should be. I think it it precious that your son knows and loves Isabel even though they have not yet met.

I noticed that Isabel was born and died not long after my daughter. Your blog really caught my eye because it isn't often that I come across another mother who lost her baby around the same time I did that still talks about her feelings. I know they haven't forgotten neither have they "gotten over it" but it's nice to come across someone who is at the same "stage" of grief as myself.

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