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.