Jason and Em and I drove to SD last week to see family and friends. Jason spent a lot of time hunting with his brother, friends and their friend’s fathers. His dad died 9 1/2 years ago and hunting and fishing were two things they really enjoyed together.
I missed grief counseling last week. Obviously I wasn’t physically there, but I missed going. Jason and I had borrowed a couple of grief books to take along on the trip and one day I decided to read them. Three of them were grief books for children. I wanted to pre-screen them before reading them to Em. One of them is entitled something like, We Were Supposed to Have a Baby, but We Had an Angel Instead. It was good. It also sucked. It was the most simple of books, from the big brother’s perspective, and I wound up a heap on the floor because of it. I haven’t decided when I’ll read it to Em.
As we met some new people in SD, Em would say hello and then begin sharing that she had a brother. Two women who may have known our story, I’m not certain, cut Emily off mid-sentence. I was shocked but not shocked. It made my heart hurt for Em because it is important for her to be able to share her side of the story. I think two things happened…one, the women came across as adults who don’t address children, at least not engaging in conversation, and two, they weren’t comfortable with how they would have to respond, so it ‘came across better’ as if they just didn’t hear her or understand her. Believe me, they heard her.
As adults we are barely comfortable with our own feelings and emotions, but let us not stifle a child’s expression of those things…they will be healthier adults, let’s give them an advantage and just listen. No, we can’t solve it or put a bandage on a grief ‘boo boo’, but we’re the only ones that think it needs ‘fixing’…Kids are more pure than that.