A brothers love

There is so much thought and consideration given to Declan and Stan and I in the wake of his death; but it is my sweet sons who get lost in the shuffle…I include myself in that category. I am certainly caught up in my own and while I try to be there for and help my sweet boys, I know their grief runs differently than mine so I am careful to not create something that is not there.

We’ve learned (our) children’s grief is more likely to rise up during special events in their lives versus our which is constant. After a particularly rough time with Will around our first holiday season without Declan, we are acutely aware of this fact and try to keep our eyes open for any differences in temper or the tempo of their lives.

Brady is probably my son that speaks about it the most…most likely due to his age and, unlike Will, he doesn’t filter based on what it might mean for us and our hurt hearts.

I wanted to share with you a special thing that happened this week. It is so sweet and made me realize the brotherhood bond is much stonger than the space of time and distance created by his death.

We have story time each night and on most nights we spend some of the time chatting about whatever comes to Brady’s mind. Some of our best conversations and insights come from these chats. On many nights, silence comes and sadness washes over Brady’s face. I know exactly what is coming next…he misses Declan. It is crushing and hard because I know he doesn’t fully get it even though he tries to understand the concept of death. He knows he’s not coming back but the full magnitude of it is tough.

The other night, he became sad and through a tear-choked voice said he missed Declan. (It truly breaks my heart). We always talk and I let him tell me about it. On this particular night, he told me he wanted to bring Declan something. He said he was wanted to give Declan his elephant. I told him we could do it the next morning, truly not expecting he would remember. It was a special elephant given to him by our former au pair, Rachel; something I know is very important to him so I thought a good night’s sleep might change his mind.

Fast forward to 6:15am…
Brady – Ok, Mom I’m getting dressed so we can go to see Declan!
Me – Um, sweetie we need to wait until a few more folks get up here ok? Brady – Ok, but as soon as they’re up, we’re going. :)

When we finally headed out and started talking again about what he getting ready to do. He relayed this story to me.

He has wanted to give the elephant to Declan for a long time, i.e. bring it to his grave, but I gave it to Cole before he could do so. (He even went on a recon mission into Cole’s room to get it back.) He felt that Cole needed it but now he feels like Declan needs it more so he could know how much he misses him. (gulp!) I know what the gravesite does to adorable stuffed animals and tried to persuade him to keep the elephant in a special place in his room to remind him of Declan and on especially hard days he could bring it down and hug or sleep him. He was firm, he wanted to give it to him. (I asked several times.)

I must say it was so adorable and sweet. He was so proud and happy to be giving his little brother his special stuffed animal. My heart (much like the Grinch) grew on that very spot.

I wanted to share my sweet boy and his love for his brother, a love that lives on.


Yes, I watch Survivor…I have for years. Love me or hate me for it, it’s ok I’m comfortable with it. There is just something about it, how the relationships build and break, the joy and sorrow. By far my favorite show is the family show, the one where they bring a family member to join the Survivor tribe member for a challenge. I love it. I love watching their jittery bodies as they wait to hear their name called and find out who has come from home to their far away island. You can feel the pent up emotion, feel the desire building, feel their hearts swelling with anticipation. But it’s the moment they hear their name and the name of their loved one…that’s the moment I love. I cry every year…and tonight was no exception.

Tonight (as I do in so many regular old “life stuff” since Declan died), I found myself imagining that moment in Heaven when loved ones get to be reunited with their family. The pure bliss in feeling that person in your arms again (yes, I know the worldly body is gone but I’m sticking with what I know now). Their smell, their touch, their sound…your family member, two pieces of the whole brought back together again. And then I get really heady with myself…I’m not really that way but this is what I tell myself…if this is what 30 days is like, imagine the mind blowing moments when we reunite with our loved ones in Heaven.

The bond mended. Everything is whole again. Bliss returned.

On some level it is what I envisioned for Declan as he began his journey on the other side, with our family gone before us. So blissful to welcome one of their own. It gives me peace (most days…jealously on some) to know he is with family being cared for by some of my most favorite people.

I wonder if Jeff Probst could orchistrate this for me with Declan…to see him, to hold him, to know he’s ok. All the while knowing it would be short lived…but just enough to tie me over until we are together again. I wonder.