While I am on the subject......

I've written for the past couple of days about how I believe that Mo (and his future siblings - fingers crossed) can and will have happy childhoods despite the fact that there will always be a missing big brother that their parents mourn and miss.  I have been, in some way, defending my parenting to anyone who believes that I cannot possibly give my children a normal childhood because of the loss that I have suffered.  I've probably also been giving myself a little pep talk while writing all of this - in effect telling myself, "Many others have walked this path before you - you can do this!"

But, while I am on the subject, there is something that has bothered me since the start of this journey.  Why do we feel the need to pretend that bad things don't happen?  Why can we not honestly and with thought and purpose teach our children that pain and suffering exist?  Does it all need to be Princesses and Santa Claus and Happily Ever After?  I mean, are we actually preparing our children for real life?  If we never teach them, how will they grow up to be compassionate people?  How will they manage their own lives when unexpected sorrow or tragedy happens to them?  I'm just putting it out there.

Let me be perfectly clear (yes, I am talking to YOU, "Anonymous"!) - I am not talking about explaining in detail the horrors of death or danger, I am talking about saying "There are children who don't have enough to eat, let's feed them" or "Our friends baby got sick and now he is in heaven, we need to go comfort them because it is so sad."

My nieces understood that Maxie was gone and they expressed their sadness in various ways to their mothers for a long time.  I think that my sister in law and stepsister handled it in the best way possible.  They spoke openly with their daughters about Max.  They put (or kept) photos of Maxie up around their homes.  They spent time visiting and mourning with Ted and I.  There is no way of getting around what happened....I am just not sure I understand the value in pretending like it didn't and sweeping it under the rug.  Children are very smart and intuitive.  My experience is that they handled Maxie's passing more honestly and maturely than most adults.  My nieces still talk about Max all of the time because they want to (first of all) and because they know we like hearing them talk about him.  They are smart enough to know that it might make us emotional, but our emotions don't scare them, like they scare adults.  We could learn a lot from kids.

We are so scared of the bad things that happen, that we try to convince people, who are going through the impossible, that their trials are no big deal.  I am going to tell you something that might blow your mind - heartbreak, loss,  suffering - it's real....whether you acknowledge it or not.  And here is something you really aren't going to want to hear - you will feel it too someday - whether you want to or not.  It may not be heartbreak on the scale that I am experiencing it, but your heart will be broken someday.  You will experience a loss that will affect you profoundly.  I don't think very many people get through this life without it.

I don't believe that I need to shield Mo (or his future siblings - god willing) from all of the hurt in the world.  I know that he will have to experience hurt in some form or another himself at some point as well.  I hate it that he will know pain someday, but I know it to be true.  And, when he does - I will be here for him.  He can confide in me and cry to me and I won't pretend like he isn't hurting.  I don't really see the point in that.  If he is hurting, I want to comfort him, not dismiss him.

I guess I am just saying - I wonder if we would be able to cope better with heartbreak in our lives if we were a little more prepared. 


Tiffany said...


Christina Ward said...

I'm finally leaving a comment -- I have been reading your blog for quite awhile, since whenever Molly Jackson linked to yours a year or more ago (definitely more, I think). I'm sorry its taken me so long to comment and tell you that I am here as a reader, and that I have felt so honored to get to know Max and Mo and your family through your blog. I admire your strength and honesty and I have learned so much about grief and hope that I will always be more compassionate and open to what others are going through because of you. I admire you so much. I have a son just a little older than Mo (about 6 weeks or so) and I think of your boys often. I lit a candle for Max on that day and was too shy to say so. It sounds like you get too many anonymous, negative comments here and I felt that even though I'm a total and complete stranger that you should get a comment from someone who thinks the world of you, from afar. Mo and Max are so lucky to have you.