I am the mother of four children. My son was 29 years old when he passed away. He would have turned 30 in August. I also have two sons who are 26 and 23 years old and a daughter who is 21 years old. I haven’t shared very much about them because most of my blog posts are about my journey through the loss of a child. My feelings reflect my own heart and I have wanted to be respectful of their privacy. I would love to share with you how proud I am of all my children.
My children were very close growing up. We did everything as a family. Most of their childhood years involved them all playing tennis. Our family traveled to junior USTA tournaments a
couple of weekends a month for years. My husband and I love those memories of watching them all play tennis. I think it defined us as a family for 16 years. It gave the four of them a bond. My daughter says that she loved sharing the love of tennis with her brothers.
One of my sons is married and in dental school about an hour away. Another son is married and in medical school five hours away. My daughter is a sophomore in college and lives with us. My son passed away on October 1st, essentially the beginning of their school year. I know that this has made for an emotional school year in addition to the actual hard work of going to school. I am so proud of them for continuing to do well in spite of a challenging situation.
When a sibling dies, it is inevitable that most of the attention goes to the the bereaved parents and how they are coping. Something that has been important to me is to try to be emotionally healthy throughout this experience. It is important to me that my children don’t feel as if they have lost a mother in addition to a brother. Whether I have succeeded in their eyes or not, I don’t know, but it is not because I haven’t tried.
I read a lot. I have read about the effects of child loss on a mother, on a marriage, and on siblings. Based on what I have read, it is harder on siblings than one might imagine. The siblings have lost one of their first friends. The bulk of their childhood memories include that sibling. Most of the time when a child of any age has any kind of upsetting life change, they go to their parents for counsel. But in this situation, their parents are just as distraught as they are.
Most of their peers at this stage have not experienced a loss of this type before. They may be good listeners but it is not the same. Also, their young peers may not realize that this is a grief that will never go away. As a result, it would be very easy for them to assume that after six months that the pain of the loss is winding down, if not already gone. After all, the bereaved siblings are showing up for school everyday and look like they did before the loss. I am so thankful that they all have supportive significant others for comfort.
Learning to be an adult in general is hard. Paying bills, working, raising children, having a successful marriage are all challenging enough. That’s when things are going well. When aging parents come into the mix it is super challenging. My children are in the beginning stages of figuring out life for themselves. They will experience loss and I am trying my very best to model coping skills for them. I hope that I am modeling this gracefully.
I have always been very proud of my children but I have been especially proud of them through this experience. I see their kind hearts. I see them honoring their brother’s memory. I see the love that they have for each other.
I want my children to know that they are as important to me as their brother. Their brother will be forever young and handsome. He will not have the opportunity to make life’s mistakes. It would be very easy for the younger three to think that they will never measure up to the memory I have of their brother. Little do they know, they already have. They have 100% of my heart. My children are my greatest life’s accomplishment and I hope they know how much they are loved.
You will always be my babies. The only thing different is you got bigger and my heart grew larger.
Love and peace.
She writes about life, death, grief, and recovery.