As many who know me reading this will know have 2 older children besides Elva they turn 7 & 2 this month.
Our 2 year old , Leif, is difficult to explain to. Children are highly perspective and despite many saying our toddler doesn’t understand we as his parents knew different. We nicknamed Elva as Blob so when I would ask Leif where baby blob was he would kiss my belly. The Monday morning as I waited to leave for hospital he came over lifted my top hugged my belly aid “bye bye” and put my top down again. After that morning he’s not touched my belly or hugged it since.
Going back more the Friday we found out that night Leif sobbed a lot. He cried loudly and heartily. He cried how I felt but hadn’t the energy to. He’s a terrible sleeper but for those few days before Elva arrived he cried all night every night.
I know I’m working backwards a bit here sorry. I found out at 630pm, my boys were told by 7pm. Around 730pm Leif was put to bed he pointed to Elva’s cot screaming say no bye bye.
Do you think he didn’t understand now?
Jem, our 7 year old, is a different matter. He knows what’s going on he sees but can’t process it. We are very honest about death and in general it doesn’t scare him.
His first reaction that Friday night was to sit by Elva’s cot and cry. He told Daddy he had really wanted a sister. This sparked off a lot of guilt for me although Jem has never expressed any blame towards me.
He has said baby’s who die don’t need love because there will be none left. To me this was sad its hard to know why he asked is he scared to love Elva? does he feel he shouldn’t because she’s gone? Is he worried we won’t love him anymore?
One discussion I never got back up with was the children meeting Elva. I wanted them to and felt it important to do so. My family didn’t agree that meeting her was for the best and they’d be ok without doing so.
The Wednesday I left hospital Leif came with Daddy to pick me up. The plan wasn’t for him to meet Elva but he did! He wasn’t sure who she was or what was going on. He knew she wasn’t there but he knew she wasn’t a toy. It was very sweet really.
At this point Jem was in school. Once I was home he realised Leif had met Elva. He was upset so I told him if he wanted to he could meet her. Daddy agreed otherwise this would push Jem away being only one not to meet her.
Jem’s reaction to Elva was very different. He saw photos first and instantly exclaimed ohhhh she’s so cute!!!!! aww look at her nose and her hands. He was in love.
On the Sunday (19th October) I took him to meet his sister. It was before this meeting he had made his comment about dead baby’s don’t need love.
Since meeting Elva he talked about her more and asked more about where she was. He believes god and his Great Nannie are looking after her. He was reluctant to touch or hold her because she was cold but he said he was very glad he came. He had nearly not come and I think we were both relieved he had.
Its hard to know for your family what to do. I had to be content my kids would only see pictures that was my compromise. After they met her I was happier I was made up it had worked out they saw her anyway and because she came home before the funeral they have their own memories too.
Again there’s no right or wrong. We didn’t force them to meet her and my youngest never held her but did hug her briefly a memory I didn’t get to photograph but it occurred anyway. He refused anyone else a hug but her.
From this point on we’ve many hurdles. How Jem will react long term we don’t know. What Leif will remember of this time we also don’t know. Jem has already started asking for a baby he wants a sister again but how do I help him through a scary pregnancy fearful the same will happen when I’ll have the same fears I can’t control.
One thing this has shown me is how kind hearted my boys are. They love purely and they’ve taught me a lot.
Jem my first taught me I could love. I wasn’t sure I could and I was questioning what love was.
Leif, my 2nd child and 1st rainbow, is my little light he brought us back from darkness and he brought us all closer too. He injects a lot of fun into our lives.
Elva, my 3rd, taught me I’m capable of unconditional love I just never noticed it before. She taught me how much one person can love and how it is limitless. I’m also slowly becoming a more positive person since her death.