Monday, December 5, 2016

Cousins & The One Lost Too Soon

Ages 11 months to 13 years and they loved
to play together!
Dustin said something to me one night that has resonated with me since. He told me that one of the hardest parts about losing John to him, was that Evan lost what was supposed to be his life long best friend. He told me how he loved growing up with a brother to play with. John was supposed to be his buddy, his 'get into trouble and giggle' playmate. He was the only other boy in a swarm of girls. They should be elbows deep in the Christmas tree together, rearranging Grammy's Christmas village...

We are all consumed in our lives and trying to deal with our grief right now. Sometimes it is hard to think outside of your own heartache and remember that there are others around you trying to deal with this tragedy themselves. Among us, there are the far more innocent and confused...our babies. The ones that are still here, living, in a very hard and confusing time. We forget in the midst of the sadness that they have lost a cousin, a companion, and a very big part of their lives too.

One of the most difficult moments of my life was telling my four year old, pure and innocent to the horrors of this world, that her baby cousin had died. She loved John. She knew there was an accident, and that John was hurt. We explained to her that the brain is the most important organ and that John's brain had been broken, and it couldn't be fixed. The doctors did everything they could but John died. She looked at me for a minute, and I saw every bit of what I just told her process through her mind. She understood, and her cries...It is very difficult to share just how it ripped through me. How it tears me apart now. A four year old should never know that pain.

Just hanging out!
Evan, is still so young. He understands that John is gone. He recognizes his picture, talks about him as it comes to mind. We knew he understood a couple of days after the funeral. Mom had put some pictures of John around the livingroom and Evan pointed one out to us. He looked at me just as serious as could be and told me John was in the ground. I acknowledged that he was, and Evan went on about his business. I'm grateful that he is as young as he is, and sad all in one...and hope that he will remember him.

After Dustin said this, it made me think of my Dad. My dad had three daughters and a wife. Most of our animals were female...he was out numbered for years. He never said it out loud, but what man doesn't want a son? John was the boy he had waited for. He was Papa's boy. And it occurred to me just how hard this must be for him and my mom. John has been in their world every day since day one. His home is their home. And there is a very large empty place there. We feel it when we visit.

I thought about my niece Caitlyn. Caitlyn is 13 years old. She truly understands what is happening. She is at such a crucial developmental point in her adolescence and she has to try and understand such a significant loss. She helped change diapers, feed and bathe John. Loved him just as much as we did...do.

Their heartache just compounds mine. I have nightmares where I hear Angela crying, or Scarlett, or my mom. Their cries seem so real I wake thinking someone is really crying. I will forever be haunted by the sobs, mine included, we heard that day. Nothing will pierce you like that of your family losing its heart and soul, and your babies hurting when there is nothing you can do about it.

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