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Colin has been processing a lot more lately about things that happened with Scott and with the whole life and death thing. When Scott died we kept our explanation very simple since Colin was only 3. We told him Scott was broken and that the doctors tried really hard to fix him but they couldn't. When people get broken like that they go to heaven to live with God. Now Colin is older he is started to wonder more about people dying and asking a lot of questions. I have been able to put it off for awhile but recently we had to talk about it. He came to the realization the other day that all people die and that he will die one day. When he asked me if he will die one day it so took me and my husband off guard. We were tongue tied at how to answer. Because we should be able to say yes people die but not till they are old. Accept Colin knows that you don't have to be old to die that you can be newly born and die. So we totally botched the conversation with him. We told him all people die after. We told him he will live a really long time before he does die. It was just the most horrible conversation ever to have with my 5 year old besides when I had to tell him when his brother died. I don't want him to worry he is going to die, or that one of us is going to die. I don't like talking about death with my son it's bad enough that i had to watch my other son die. We must have done better than we thought talking to him because he has not brought it up since.
Well a couple days later we were passing the cemetery were Scott is buried. This is a very large cemetery that is located in a spot that we drive past it a few times a week. When Colin asked me after Scott died what it was I said it was a place where people go to remember people who are in heaven. Well we were driving past it the other day and there were people there putting flowers etc. He tells me that is a place where people go to remember dead people. He then asked if they take flowers to remember them? I told him yes people go and take flowers or other small items to remember people in heaven. He then says, " We should go and I can take flowers to remember Scott." So I made the decision then to tell him that there was a special stone there with Scott's name on it. and that me and his dad, and other family members go to remember him. He asked when he could go. So on Easter we took Colin to buy some flowers and he bought a little balloon and we took him to his brothers grave site for the first time. It sucked. It sucked that on Easter I was taking my 5 year old son to visit his little brother in a cemetery. He put the flowers in the vase and his balloon on the stick in the ground. and then he told Scott Happy Easter. He told him that he missed him and what he had gotten for Easter. In our house we like to do group family hugs. So we did one at his grave. Colin now knows that there is a special spot for his brother. He does not know his brother is buried there. That is a story for another time and hopefully really far down the road. Not ready for that conversation yet.
How I wish so many things could be different but I have accept they are what they are and just take it one day at a time. Wish I could keep my son innocent and not have to answer questions about the reality of life.
I'm sorry. Many hugs and a lot of love.
Reading this brought me to tears. I remember vividly when Jadon really started to process the loss of his sister and all that goes along with is. I love that Colin wanted to take flowers to Scott. They sure are wise beyond their years. Hugs to you all!
Sending you guys lots of hugs. I still have trouble finding the right words to use when talking to my girls. I always hope that it will get easier but it just never does.
Nicki - I struggle so much with this too. It doesn't sound like you botched the conversation. I think we kind of learn as we go with this one. Sometimes I've have to end the conversation too quickly because I can't handle more at the moment, sometimes I've said things that I realize I shouldn't have said later (one time I said Randi died because she was very sick...that made Hunter worried that he would die when he got sick, but we later had the opportunity to clarify and now we say she was too small to survive, which seems to sit ok with Hunter), but ultimately as long as we keep talking and letting our other kids talk, I think its ok. I also say that cemetery is a special spot to remember people who died. We have not told the boys that Randi is buried there, we say its a special spot we can go to think about her and feel close to her.
It is so sweet that Colin wanted to bring flowers to Scott.
I am so sorry that your family had to go through that on Easter Sunday and that it was painful. At the same time while I was reading this post I saw a very beautiful image in my mind of a family loving and grieving for a missing member and a little boy who is sweet and kind and giving. I think that your conversations with him are helping him because he seems to have a very firm understanding of how to act and what to do. I too have had these same discussions with my 6 year old about her sister that died before she was born. She always says that she loves her and that she wishes she could play with her.
Love and Hugs,
This story brought tears to my eyes. You're right that these are questions you should not have to answer at Colin's young age, but you handled it well. Sometimes I think that children's hearts are so pure that they understand death in a way we just can't as adults. It's natural that he should take flowers to remember Scott. So simple, yet for us there are so very many complicated emotions in this simple act.
Big hugs (loving the image of a family hug)
I really love the way you explained it to him. It was really sweet of him to want to bring his little brother a balloon and some flowers:) I love that you do family hugs!
Wow, I can totally relate to this story. Last summer we also took our boys to the cemetery to finally see their other brothers gravestone. Our 1 year old passed out sleeping in the car so it was just my husband and I and our 5 year old. it was much more emotional than I was expecting but I think it was really good for him. Since he's been five he has been talking a ton about his brother in heaven. It is always a difficult conversation. Sounds like you are handling your sons questions great. Sending thoughts your way!
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