How can you make a choice that can’t be unmade? How do you introduce a child to death?
Very simply ~ know your children and let them lead the way.
We knew my children and their hearts. We weighed our options carefully and tried to prepare each of them for Amelia’s death. But no amount of talking can really prepare one for the cruel reality of death. We knew that we would all experience this horrible first together.
A friend brought them to the hospital and my husband met them all down stairs to tell them that Amelia had died before she was born.
In that quiet moment of my hospital room before my husband brought in our children, I closed my eyes and tried to image myself in their shoes, bracing myself as I heard a small knock on the door.
And all the doubt and fear I held inside evaporated in a moment. Three little toe headed angels bearing gifts for their sister walked in without tears, fear or confusion. They came in smiling.
My heart filled the moment they walked into my room as I cradled her in my arms. To them, Amelia was nothing to be scared of. After all, they knew her. They read stories to and sang to her, took turns guessing what she would look like, how much she would weigh, what color her hair would be, if she would have mommy or daddy’s toes. They prayed we would get the chance to see her alive, but also prayed that angels would carry her to heaven if her body stopped working too soon.
They each gently kissed and hugged her. They adored her and wanted to take turns holding her. There was no fear, no shock, no misunderstanding about her being ‘asleep’. Their sister was finally on the outside world with them and they each loved her with a simplicity that I am still floored by.
And in that moment, death didn’t exist. In that moment, we were a family ~ complete.
If you have children that have walked the path of grief with you, I encourage you to talk openly about those hardest moments. Bring out photos and memories and let them lead the conversation. It is an important part of the grieving process for children to have opportunities to share their feelings and memories.