Tag Archives: child dealing with death of sibling

Brothers

Several times a week we go by the cemetery where Bennett is. Parker and I started saying hi as we drive by and now Fletch says hi and blows him kisses. He’s a pretty great little brother.

Darcy’s Song

I was thinking the other day about how many songs I was able to relate to Benny and his life and death.  It really got me thinking.  Does Darcy have a song?  Is there something that stands out in my mind?  Was there something that I used to sing to her.

This question plagued me for days.  And then the other day ‘her song’ came on the radio.  We were in the kitchen making dinner and I looked at her and said, ‘This!  This is your song!  This is what I used to sing to you when I put you to sleep!’  How could I ever forget??  Such an appropriate song if you know my daughter too!

I Hope You Dance

Getting Older

Today was a great day with my family.  We carved pumpkins, watched football (yes, that’s very odd for us), worked on Halloween costumes and just spent time with one another.

This has been a rare day for us because Autumn was crazy.  Parker traveled a lot for work, school started back up and so did dance, girl scouts, etc.  I welcomed this opportunity to be home with my family.

Darcy and I ran to Target and AC Moore to get the finishing touches for her costume.  We had to drive across the parking lot and she asked if she had to buckle up, to which I said yes.  We had just recently talked about how her booster seat in the car isn’t going away just because she’s 8.  She’s just as serious about vehicle safety as I am.

I swear, there are times when I can feel it coming, when I know she’s going to ask questions about the accident.  It’s been nearly 3 years and it’s lessened some, but it still gets me every time.  I cannot describe it, it’s like feeling a ghost, because I just know.

She asked if I remembered the accident as we drove across the parking lot.  I told her yes, bits and pieces.  She asked if Benny had been run over and I answered honestly.  She said, ‘I thought so.’

She asked me if I dropped him.  I tried so hard to explain that it wasn’t on purpose.  At that point we were getting out of the car and she started to tell me how she would have held on tight and hopped out of the way.  To passersby it probably looked like she was doing a dance as we walked into the store while she described how she would have handled it.

I forget she was only 4.  She knew what we told her.  She’s nearly 8 and has had plenty of time to process and look at the situation from her 8 year old perspective.

I looked at her and said,’I don’t think we ever told you, but the police came over to the house with my car and reconstructed the accident.  They timed how long it would take the car to get from the top of the driveway to the bottom.  It was 6-7 seconds.  I ran and the car door hit me and knocked Benny out of my arms.  There just wasn’t enough time to get out of the way.’

She got it.  I think it gave her a clearer picture of what happened.  Her response was, ‘oh, well yeah, a car is much heavier than you.  And now you park the other way so it won’t happen.’

It just seemed like something clicked with her, that she had a better understanding.  In that moment, she seemed so old.  Here’s a little girl that believes in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, yet I felt like I was speaking to an adult.

I never really thought about her looking at our situation as she grew up.  It must be like watching a movie as a child and then seeing it as an adult and being able to identify the adult humor or situations.

I’m glad that she is giving me the opportunity to speak frankly.  I’m so happy to have open lines of communication with her.

I’m so lucky to have this child in my life.  She carries our Benny memories with her.  She’s what keeps us going, she’s what makes us want more of everything that life has to offer.

I’m Having A Moment…

cam02457Of utter and complete happiness.  My daughter, my amazing daughter just found out she was cast as a mouse in the Nutcracker in the Hanover Theater.  This is a big deal!

For weeks it was all that she could talk about.  How she wanted to get a call back.  I cautioned her that the competition would be fierce and told her that I was so proud of her for even trying out.  I told her this was the first time she had ever done anything like this and tried to present realistic expectations.

Then tonight happened and we jumped on her bed and danced around her room.  This little girl whose confidence used to worry me blows me away.  I think back to 3 years ago, when her world fell apart and she was still so little learning the worst lesson about how unfair life is.

I remember the year and a half of therapy.  I remember all of the tough questions and accusations.  I remember the struggle with her and her peers.  I remember how tough it has all been for her and how much it tore her down.  Thinking of it all overwhelms me.

But today I look at that and I am floored by how confident this little girl has become.  She didn’t get there alone.  She is so very lucky to have some of the best, kindest and caring people in her life.  Some of whom were strangers before Benny died and have become lifelong friends.  Her aunties, her uncles, her cousins, her ‘San’s’ and her friends.  She is where she is today because of them.  Because these people have loved and supported her to no end.

It’s incredible to look at how far she’s come.  I don’t often stop to think about it, because it’s so hard.  Thank you to everyone that has helped to shape this confident little lady.  I’m one proud mama tonight!

Communication

We are deep into the second week of school.  Darcy has very hesitantly entered the third grade.  I’m not sure how she grew up on me so quickly.

School scares me. She’s had good teachers and she’s had great teachers.  She’s not just another kid in that classroom, but someone that needs extra attention.  We’ve struggled with our love for school when her teachers just don’t get it and her emotional needs are not being met.

I understand that classroom sizes can be huge and with IEP’s and grading papers, there is a lot of work for teachers to deal with.  What I don’t like is an unresponsive teacher and a child who doesn’t want to go to school.  A child that I know is hungry to learn and create and become a part of her classroom community.

Darcy’s a great student, a huge classroom helper and takes direction well (from her teachers), so all that I ever hear is what a joy she is to have in class.  She’s one of the easy ones and sometimes that causes her emotional needs to be overlooked.

So I am sitting here right now with the HUGEST feeling of relief because we are 8 days into the school year and I have heard from her teacher twice already.  Nothing bad, just trying to test the waters and see where Darcy is at with things.  There’s nothing better than knowing that she is willing to reach out at the slightest bit of trouble.  This woman has no idea how much better I already feel about third grade.

And guess what?  This must translate into her teaching style because Darcy is LOVING school!  She comes home happy, excited to share stories and of course some drama from her day.  She’s feeling confident again and it’s so nice to see her excited for school.

And all it took was a little communication.

Sibling Addition & Subtraction

When Darcy was three and a half (almost to the day) we welcomed Benny into the world.  Darcy was so excited to have a sibling, not sure about the brother part, but nonetheless a little person to call her own.  At three and a half she was super helpful, getting me diapers, wipes, grabbing me stuff while he was nursing and fending more for herself.  She truly doted on Bennett and was a loving and caring older sister.

But she was still only three and a half.  She was still too young to voice her emotions and how this new baby had affected her place in our family.  Because I was the youngest child in my family, I never went through this transition.  The night terrors that had disappeared started up again, so Parker was up with Darcy while I was up with Benny.  She started giving me a very hard time because I was home on maternity leave with her and Benny throughout the summer.  She became physical a few times, hitting, biting, which is not like her at all.  She was a frustrated and jealous three and a half year old and expressed it in the only ways she knew how at the time.  She very rarely took anything out on Benny, mostly on me or Parker.  I think most kids go though an emotional time when a new sibling is born.  It’s normal.

We finally got into a groove and she was able to adapt.  As Bennett grew older, they played together all of the time.  She was the most patient big sister and he rewarded her with his antics that she laughed at.  They rarely fought and got along extremely well for siblings.  Yes, she tried to control him, mother him, smother him sometimes with affection and rules, but their relationship was one to be envious of.  I rarely had to break up a fight.  She was happy to share her toys with him and play with him all of the time.  She would distract him when I needed to pull something out of the oven.  She was an incredible big sister, she was born to nurture others.  I’ve never seen two closer siblings.

I now have an almost six and a half year old that has known the emotions that come with accepting a new sibling into their lives and then losing them.  I’ve written previously about Darcy’s behavior issues, night terrors and therapy and what an incredible turn around this little girl has made.  She is incredibly strong to have made it where she is today as a child.  I am so proud to call this little lady my daughter.  She is bright, out-going, kind, nurturing and able to own her emotions.  It’s been a long road with a lot of work over the past year and a half, but we’ve all grown as a family.

Fast forward to present time.  The night terrors have started.  The behaviors are ramping up at school (a little) and at home.  She is beginning to display her emotions through her behaviors again and not her words.  This was easy to watch when she was younger, but she’s going into second grade next year.  We just started back to monthly therapy.  The first session we went to she was over the top, interrupting, asking tons of questions, trying to run the appointment so that she wouldn’t have to talk about her feelings.  Her therapist even said at one point, ‘sheesh I haven’t seen you in a few months and I think you’ve forgotten how to talk about your feelings.’  I can feel the regression going on.

I don’t know if it’s the time of year, because this happened last May before Benny’s birthday too.  I have a feeling that she’s struggling big time with the whole new baby, but can’t quite figure out yet how it’s affecting her.  I have a child that went from only child, to having and loving a sibling, to only child and now she’s going to have a sibling again.  I know that she’s older and the transition to sibling should be easier, but she doesn’t trust it.  She actually said to me the other day that she hopes that the new baby doesn’t die too.  I tried to explain that what happened to Benny was a freak accident and that it wouldn’t happen again, but I make no promises.  I told her that I was pretty sure her brother Fletcher would grow old with her.  She’s going through so much of the same feelings as I am.  I just want to bubble wrap this little guy to make sure that nothing EVER happens.  The difference is that I’m 35 and she’s 6.

It’s making me crazy that she’s going through this.  That she’s scared to love Fletcher because of what might happen.  That she can’t express herself because she’s too young to truly understand much of it anyway.  No child should have to go through this ever.  I’m angry.  I’m sad.  I want so much more for my daughter.  She will never just be Darcy again, she will always be the little girl who’s brother died.