Thursday, September 16, 2010

At a Loss

This week the girls were supposed to get a new cousin. But, in a devastating twist of fate, my step-sister and her husband lost their baby boy just one day after he was born. The pregnancy went well, the birth was long and hard, and their beautiful full-term baby boy was born with serious health problems, and taken from them far too soon. These are concepts I cannot explain to my girls at their age. Concepts I myself can barely grasp. These things are not supposed to happen, with modern medicine and good prenatal care, with as much love and anticipation as these two wonderful people had heading into this experience.

I haven’t even told the girls yet. I can’t think of this stunning loss without crying, and have no words to offer them to make it all make sense. I’ll get there, will have to, but today isn’t the day. The memorial service is this weekend, and I don’t think I’ll bring the girls. Ever since losing her grandpa last month, Peanut has been having serious fears about death. A few times a week she breaks down crying, asking when I’m going to die, when her other grandparents might die, when she will. She cries that she’s growing up, and says she doesn’t want to be a grown-up, as if on some level that triggers a fear of her own mortality. These are heavy burdens for a three-year-old, and I think the loss of her baby cousin might be too much to add to her load right now.

It’s a fine line, protecting your children while educating them about the realities of the world around them. I have no guidelines for this, grieving for loved ones while caring for my girls, trying to accept the unfairness of the world while trying to explain it all to them. It's been a tough week, full of anger and sorrow and guilt, that I have two healthy girls while my wonderful step-sister and her husband are hurting so. I will do my best to explain the situation to my girls, when I can think of the words, when I can talk without crying about it.