Grief is hard for grownups and can be even harder for kids. As we grieved for our lost hopes and our two dead babies, our very-much-alive daughter Eden was going through a very tough time.
[If you reading this blog for the first time and you want to know the reasons for our grief, read our family story in the 3 previous posts in this series: 35-hour Baby, Baby Hope and Another Baby Nightmare.
Eden was 5 years old and could not understand why these things had happened. She was angry with us and we could not comfort her, because we could not comfort ourselves. Most people treated me as the grieving person and did not recognize Gal or Eden’s loss. I was angry, sad, in pain and found it hard to give her answers.
She asked us why we had lied to her and we failed to explain to her that life had lied to us. She asked why we could not prevent our losses and we failed to stop trying to bring back time and prevent them and to let go. I tried to say to myself, “Let go”, but could not let go. She asked when she would finally have a brother or a sister and we did not know what to say. Every second we spent with Eden, she talked about the big loss. Even in the games she played with her dolls, people were sad, angry and had lots of dead babies.
“All babies die”
There was no place to hide. Every photo, every song, seeing a stroller passing by or just going through the baby isle at the supermarket started the bleeding again.
Every time we saw a baby, Eden asked, “When will he die?”
Every time we explained that most babies lived, she said, “Then why did our babies die?” and we did not know what to say. Inside of me, I hoped she would never know what was going on in my head. People in pain do not make sense. Sense and death do not go together.
As I watched my wonderful girl killing all her baby dolls, I realized she was just a mirror of us and she was trying in her young and innocent way to find relief from something her parents could not.
I talked to many people and went to see a grief councilor twice and what I learned was very scary. The statistics about grief were devastating. Some people keep the memory of a dead child and practically stop living. They are so depressed they cannot function or go to work. Many couples divorce due to their pain and the siblings of the dead child are pushed to the side, growing up in the shadow of a child who will never change.
From the dark place of my pain and misery, although I could not see any light, I had an intuition that going through that path of grieving all my life, divorcing Gal because we find it hard to help each other or losing Eden would be worse than losing my two babies. I knew I had to stop the downward spiral. The last loss of my baby girl had taught me I was not immune 2 horrible disasters are in my life were no guarantee I would be spared a 3rd disaster. I had lost two kids and I could not afford losing my one and only living child, the girl who had made me a mother, the wonderful girl who had taught me to love myself.
I needed a plan.
One day, we went to the Scarborough Fair, which came once a year to the Dallas-Fort-Worth area. I looked around. There were many people there and I had an idea.
“Eden, look around. How many people do you think are here?”
“I don’t know. Hundreds, maybe thousands”, she said.
“Do you know that all these people were born and were babies once?”
She looked around her with big eyes, a bit surprised.
“Look at them! They all have a mother and a father and they stayed alive. Look at them, they are still alive”.
I think it helped.
For a long time, every time I took Eden with me to the supermarket, the mall, a fair or a festival, I showed her many people who had been babies once and as I repeated that every opportunity I had, I convinced myself too that one day, I would see the light at the end of my dark tunnel.
Look at her photo. This is our wonderful Eden. She is 20 years old now and 15 years ago, she did not think she would ever smile again (and she was just a 5-year-old mirror of me).
Join me again on Thursday for my way of getting out of grief towards hope.
See you then,