"I don't have a brother"

A place for those bereaved to receive and offer support

"I don't have a brother"

Postby sckitzo » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:51 pm

Ever since our son Chance passed away in Oct 2006 we have been very open with our daughter about how she has a brother and we send balloons up to him on his birthdays and walk for him each spring. We have a cabinet in the dinning room with his urn, and mementos. So we still try to include him in our life as much as we can. Well Brianna was not even two yet when Chance was born and Died, so she does not actually remember him. Now she is 5 1/2. Tonight she was showing us a butterfly she made at school. My hubby said "why don't you give that to your brother" she immediately said "I don't have a Brother". This broke my heart, she knows she has a brother, but not in a tangible way. I know she did not mean anything by it, and could not know how much that comment would hurt me, but it did. We talked a little longer and she remembered that she has a brother in heaven named Chance. But this still just stings a little. I wonder how she will handle this question in the future. It is really important to me that she knows she has a brother, and that we love him just as much as we love her. But I fear that it will never feel quite real to her. Just sad, How have others handled things like this with siblings?
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Re : "I don't have a brother"

Postby annes » Thu Jun 03, 2010 08:55 am

Amber, we have had similar situations, Parker was only 2 1/2 when Griffin died, he was not allowed into the NICU so he never saw him in person. He has no memory of me being pregnant. He went through a period when he was four when he was obsessed about Griffin and talked about him all the time, to the point that we were a little concerned. Now he is almost 7 and now has a little sister around and it is like he forgets about Griffin. I find it upsetting too. I also don't want things to be forced, I want him to feel what he feels and act naturally. So, I have no real advice except to just keep doing what you are doing, and wanted to let you know that you are not the only one dealing with this. My next big hurdle is how to deal with Clover who was not around until well after Griffin died...
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Re : "I don't have a brother"

Postby kbunsey » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:57 pm

This topic is also very sad for me too and I have no idea how we'll tell Kyle about FB, his big sister, who helped us find our incredible MFM and good hospital so we could have him. She's like our family guardian angel. I don't know how to talk about it, or when or what...so I'll just listen now and hopefully find my way without overwhelming him when we get there.
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Re : "I don't have a brother"

Postby wrennie » Fri Jun 04, 2010 00:06 am

oh wow, i didnt think about this ever happening. I definitely want aylah to know her sister elodie. Hmmm, wow, hard. I am so sorry. thanks for sharing though, i am glad to have this perspective.
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Re : "I don't have a brother"

Postby rosefern00 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:33 pm

For me, it's mixed feelings. My daughter has brought home some items from school that she has made that include her brother. It makes me happy that she does, but it also makes me sad at the same time.
It makes me happy that she acknowledges him, even though she never met him. Her pre-school class also acknowledges him. They think it's the "coolest" thing to be in Heaven!
But, for me I'd rather by son be with me, than in Heaven..
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Re : "I don't have a brother"

Postby shierman » Mon Jun 14, 2010 03:12 pm

My husband and I were talking about this particular post the other day and he asked me how everyone was making it known to their living children that they do have a brother or sister who is in heaven. So, my bigger question is, is anyone doing anything specific to communicate that? Or are we just talking about general conversation? It is still very difficult for us to talk about Gabriel together, so I know it will be challenging to talk about him with Tommy.

Any helpful hints or suggestions?
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Re : "I don't have a brother"

Postby annes » Tue Jun 15, 2010 08:42 am

Well, my son does know that Griffin was alive and here on earth, and that he died. This was not one conversation, it was more like an ongoing dialogue about death, which we still have on occasion. He sees pictures of Griffin, which I think helps with making him "real" to Parker, if that makes sense. We have not started telling Clover about Griffin, she will be two at the end of the month though, so I think we will start with showing her pictures and seeing where it goes from there.
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Re : "I don't have a brother"

Postby timelessbeauty » Tue Jun 15, 2010 09:47 am

I think whenever there is a passing in the family, if the children are young when it happens, it is hard for them to understand what has happened. I have talked with many families where it is still a taboo subject. My daughter was 6 days from turning 2 yrs old when her father passed unexpectedly. My family would talk about him on occasion but it wasn't a daily topic and she didn't appear bothered that he wasn't there anymore, it was just different for her. It didn't bother me because I was actually grateful at her innocence and distance from the hurt. It was hard enough for me to cope at the time in losing my husband.

She remembers when we lost her brother when she was about 8yrs old and I know that hit her hard, I believe harder than it hit her new daddy and I. We have gone on to have three more kids since he passed and neither one of them really knew about our son Ben until they recognized our oldest would be talking about a sibling they didn't know. It wasn't that we didn't talk about him but typically it was a talk between the three of us that witnessed his existence. The questions would come from the little ones about "Ben who?". And feeling horrible because we had not purposefully left them out of the conversation, we gradually started to fill them in as to who he was and how he ranked in the family (second born). They all talk about him now with great respect and love. And our sense of humor pops out on occasion to talk about him such as when I asked my oldest if she had forgotten to rinse her plate at the sink. She replied with a smirk that it was Ben's turn to do the dishes and I had to smile at the creativity and inclusion of her brother. The talk to him now and wave "HI" to the sky believing him to be up in the Heavens.

We do have pictures of Ben and that has helped to put a face with the name. But even to know that a certain piece of clothing that they wore worn or purchased for their brother puts a bit of tangibility to his existence for them. That a certain stuffed dog was his or that his name is here in this small Bible given to us by a very nice group from the hospital.
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Re : "I don't have a brother"

Postby sckitzo » Sat Jun 19, 2010 00:48 am

We have always had an open dialogue with Brianna about her brother, how mommy got sick and had to have him too early and how he was too sick to live. We always do special things to memorialize his life. Like we send balloons to him on his birthdays, and buy him a small xmas present at xmas, We walk in the walk for Babies walk in his memory each spring, and the hospital has a memorial service once a year for all the nicu babies that have passed. So there is something that we do for Chance every few months, and that is were we remind her of who he is and what happened. But she will also randomly bring up death/heaven/Chance and then I basically TRY to answer her questions. We don't talk about him everyday, and I don't want to throw it in her face, but I do want her to know about him, know what happened, and her to always feel free and open to talk about him. I know after we lost our son people expected us in a way to forget him, or at least not talk about him. But dead or alive he is my son, and I want to talk about him, and I want Brianna to never feel ashamed or scared to talk about him.
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Re : "I don't have a brother"

Postby annes » Sat Jun 19, 2010 03:15 pm

Amber, I am right there with you! I refuse to be "ashamed" of having a baby who died, but I also don't need to talk about him all the time to validate him. What I want is for my living kids to know that they had a brother who we love just as much as we love them, and for them to know that the topic of death and life is open in our house, and they can speak openly. It has been really nice to have this discussion with you all, thanks Amber for opening it up by sharing what was going on with you.
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