The Visit

We did indeed visit my Brother, Zach's, grave site. My children continued to call it "the place where Zachy died", while I continued to correct them.

I have always felt like honesty is the best policy when they ask me about my emotions. If I am crying, I tell them why. If I am angry, I tell them why. So often, when they inquire as to why I am crying I will answer "I just miss my brother", or "I just am sad that Zach will not get to enjoy your grow up". They seem to get it. At least Lilly and Finn do. But now I know they do.

I set boundaries about the cemetery and what it is there for.

Finn asked, "Where's Zachy's truck?"

I tried to explain in plain English what all of the headstones are for and without being too detailed, where the bodies are. Lilly didn't accept it. She needed more.

So when the other children went off to, respectfully, look upon other headstones, she stayed back. Prodding. Asking. Looking. Wondering.

L: "Momma?"
M: "Yes dear."
L: "Mmmmm, I don't want to say it."
M: "Ok sweetie, I can wait. Whenever you're ready."

This happened several times, always followed by a short silence and then the actual question. Such as:

"So, what is Zachy's body in?"
"Does he have clothes on?"
"How did you get him here? He's heavy."

All of the logistics had to be cleared up for her. She needs to make sense of things. Very respectfully might I add. Always looking at me, making certain I didn't need a moment to collect myself. She's so intuitive. Never overstepping those moments. And even having her own. Tearing up and needing a moment before she could pose the question.

The other children were further away now, and Finn was interested in a snack. But I knew. Lilly wasn't done.

So into the car the 3 went, having their snack while I stood looking at Zach's stone with Lilly. She didn't break down. The tears were gently rolling down her face. I broke down. She held it together. Still asking and gathering the information necessary to understand what she could.

Then we went to the car. She hugged me very tight. I thought she would cry, but she didn't. I did.

Got in the car, sat there for a moment. Waited. I don't' know for what....

then I looked in my mirror.

The tears were streaming down Lilly's face as she quivered with grief.

I think she got it. Right then.

The night went on....and was even more difficult than this.


Miss said…
ahhhh! I am so GLAD you are letting us in on this amazingly, intimate, sourful moment.

I am crying reading this. I can see her. I can see you ...I can see the others running around.

Is it HARDER or EASIER that she gets it? For you I mean
Bridget said…
K- I cried the whole time i read that....
The DeJongs said…
This is Kate DeJong. I don't know if you remember me or not - I'm a friend of Melissa's. My husband, Mark, and I rented from your dad while we lived in Cambridge. Mark worked at CCS. Any ways, I stumbled across your blog via Melissa's blog and I'm so glad I did. Five years ago I lost my brother and Mark lost his dad. Sharing our grief with the boys is something we struggle with - always wanting to be honest but not wanting to burden them. I so appreciate all that you are journeying through in this with Lilly and Finn (and eventually the others) and I think you are doing a beautiful job! You are honoring your brother AND your children in your approach and delicate honesty. Thank you for being so honest in your writing.

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