Four and a half years. We made it to age four and a half before our little rainbow daughter asked the question all parents know will eventually come…
“How do babies get made? How do they get out of mommy’s tummy?”
With a new baby cousin on the way and plenty of baby brothers and sisters among her friends, the questions were bound to be asked sooner rather than later. We did our best to answer her questions truthfully and age-appropriately. She was satisfied with our simple answers, and she moved on to go play with her Shopkins.
Truthfully, answering those questions were easy. It’s the other questions she asks that are a bit harder to answer.
“Why can’t I go visit my brother?”
“Where is my brother?”
“What happened to my brother?”
Just like with the questions of how babies are made, I try to answer my sweet daughter’s questions truthfully and age-appropriately.
Heaven is very far away. I really wish we could visit him too, but it’s just not possible. If you close your eyes really tight and make a wish, maybe you can visit him in your dreams tonight.
Sometimes when people, even little babies, get sick, they just don’t always get better. When your brother was born he was very tiny and his heart just wasn’t strong enough. The doctors tried to fix him, but they weren’t able to so he died and went to heaven.
I never quite know how to answer her questions. I don’t ever want to scare her or overwhelm her with information that she can’t yet understand.
Trying to explain pre-eclampsia, emergency c-sections, the NICU, and CPR to a four-year-old isn’t exactly going to work. Besides, to really answer her questions I would first have to be able to explain it all to myself, and that is something that five and a half years later, I’m still trying to do.
I know that as she grows, her questions will too. She will want to know more details. She will want to fully understand what happened to her brother. As she grows my answers will get longer and more detailed. I will let her know how scared I was and how much it hurt to say goodbye to him.
I will let her know how her daddy and I prayed so hard for her to be healthy and alive. I will let her know all of the things I did to make sure that she arrived safe and sound. I will explain to her how deeply I love her. And how her tiny little self-saved me over and over again on the days that I just didn’t think I could go on. I will tell her how we keep her brother’s memory alive even after all these years. How I am so grateful that she remembers him, the brother she never knew.