Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I recommend this book, "A Guide to Children and Grief"

I was given the opportunity to read a book on how to help a child with his or her loss. The name of it is"A Guide to Children and Grief" and it is thoughtfully written by Miri Rossitto. She is the owner of the web site, Valley of Life. http://www.valleyoflife.com

I think it is an interesting book that certainly has value. It would be very beneficial for a child's caregiver or teacher. I know from experience (unfortunately) that many adults respond inappropriately to those in grief. I can't imagine what it would be like for a child to cope with insensitive adults.

Many points in this book should be heeded, not only in dealing with children, but with adults, as well. For example, in the chapter on things you shouldn't say to a grieving child....

Don't say, "I know just how you feel.
"This implies that the child doesn't need to tell you anything, since you already know. It also suggests that all people experience grief in the same way, which is not true. This sentence can be a conversation breaker.
Instead: Use an open-ended question to express your interest, such as, "Tell me more about how you feel," or "What's that been like?"

I like that the author, Miri Rossitto has written this book in an easy-to-read format. I would definitely recommend this to any one that has children in their life, whether it is in a professional or family situation.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Mostly...I am scared of losing you, too.

In the winter of 1980/81, I was big and pregnant with a baby boy, moving through the days slowly and deliberately. Savoring every moment of uninterrupted time with my first-born son, Ryan, the joy of my life. Ryan was born in the late Indian summer of 1977. That is when I realized what every mother before me knew. Nothing compares to the sheer adoration and love that you have for your baby. He gave meaning and purpose to my life. I melted when he smiled and put his hands out to be picked up.

I spent the last month before Austin was born feeling guilty about Ryan. My heart was so full of love for Ryan. Completely filled up and overflowing. Soon it would only be half full for Ryan. I would divide my heart in two, one half for Ryan and one half for Austin. It didn’t seem fair to Ryan. How could I do that to this wonderful four year old that loves me so unconditionally?

I had no idea what was in store for me.

Austin was laid in my arms and I looked down into his beautiful face. The most incredible thing happened. My heart doubled in size. I simultaneously loved, worshipped, and adored my two sons without either being loved a little less. I couldn’t wait to be home with both of my boys. I talked the doctor into releasing me less than 24 hrs after giving birth. I was excited to begin loving and caring for my two sons. Ryan and Austin.

Ryan asked me if I wished it had been him that had died, not Austin. He said he thought Austin was my favorite.

I have heard that some parents have favorites. Sometimes it is because one child may resemble the parent in personality or appearance. Other times the parent may favor the more “needy” child. Some people say that they love their children the same, but different. I know my sons have different personalities, but I don’t love them different.

I couldn’t possibly change the way I feel about my love for my sons. It has not and will never change since the day they were born. The love has gotten wider and deeper and stronger and unyielding. It is unconditional. I still love Austin now as I did before he died. I always will love him. I will always love Ryan. Even after I die.

My answer to Ryan…no, I do not wish it had been you, not your brother. I would be in the same pain, the same grief; it would not have been easier. I am so selfishly grateful to have you. I do my best not to overwhelm you with my neediness. I want to hug you and not let go. I want you to live near me. I want to talk to you on the phone 5 times a day.

Mostly…I am so scared of losing you, too. So scared I can hardly breathe.