To the teachers of our living children:
I thank you.
Thank you for giving our living children a space to play, learn, and grow in an environment that is positive and nurturing. Because some days, especially in the first few years after our loss, I was too bogged down with grief to do anything but survive. Coming up with games and activities, crafts and learning experiences was just too much. Simply reading to them took great effort some days.
In the first few raw weeks after we lost our son, you took our living daughters in and wrapped them up with love. For the hours they were with you, they were able to experience joyful times without the weight of sorrow that could oftentimes permeate our home.
Little do you know how often I’ve driven away after dropping them in your care, finally free to let my locked-up tears flow down my face. Free to let all my sadness flow out without fear of scaring my daughters or making them feel any sadder than they should ever be at their tender ages.
Thank you for listening every September when I write to tell you about their baby brother that died.
Thank you for receiving my note with care and wrapping our entire family up with your upbeat enthusiasm. I cannot tell you what a relief it is to know that they are in a safe, nurturing, warm, and happy space when they are with you.
Thank you for telling me when they have spoken of their brother.
Like the time one said he was out at recess with her, riding around on her shoulder. Or when another one insisted on drawing a tiny angel in the top corner of her family picture. I know it isn’t always easy to tell a grieving mom these things, knowing I might cry, and I usually do. I love hearing that he is still a part of their daily lives and that they happily think of him.
The respite you provide for grieving parents, especially in the first few devastating months after a loss, is indescribable. To know our living children are being lovingly cared for, away from grief and away from sadness for a few hours per day, gives us great comfort.
You will never know how grateful I have been for each and every one of you. I know other grieving parents feel the same. They may not even tell you. You may not even know about their loss. But we all feel a sense of relief when you care for our children while we get to go and grieve for a bit alone. They get to play, while we get to cry.
Me (and other grieving parents with little living children)