How will I ever begin to explain your death to your brother? How can I not begin to discuss it now...now that he is forming words and sentences? Now that he understands who that blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy is in pictures who looks so much like him?
And, how do I not scare the hell out of him?
Tonight we were snuggling on the couch watching "The Pajanimals" just like we do every night before bedtime. The Pickle dances, bounces, sings and laughs throughout the episodes, but is always ready for sleep time by the end of the 15-minute show. Momma loves the messages reinforced by this show that is the creation of Jim Henson's kids (creator of The Muppets). They use singing, dancing and harmony to help kids understand they don't need to be afraid of new activities like baseball tryouts, first day of school, or looking for a lost toy under the bed. They also address issues like bed-wetting and bullying. More than anything, these four little Pajanimals never go to sleep with unresolved issues - they help each other cope. They "Bundle up, snuggle up, huggle up, and goooo!"
So, back to tonight. The episode dealt with fear of bad things happening while they slept and their wishes that Mom and Dad could be with them, or that they could sleep in Mom and Dad's bed. The message in the show was that bad things don't happen when you are safe in your bed, because The Moon is watching over you. And, Mom and Dad are not far away. Bed is safe.
Yep. That's what Momma always thought.
I felt like a liar, a fraud, watching that episode while holding your little brother and encouraging him to fall asleep. How can I let him think that I believe that, when I know it's not true? At least, not true for us...the 1 reported instance out of 100,000 children across the United States on an annual basis (which we know is under-reported thanks to jurisdictions like St. Louis County who refuse to acknowledge SUDC). Bedtime - nighttime - is the most frightening time of all for Momma.
Which leads to a larger question: How do I begin to explain you and your death to him? How do I help him understand the beauty and magic of your life? And how you live on in everything I do, every kindness I extend, every smile, every laugh...everything. And that lightning hopefully won't strike twice?
I want to tell your brother that bedtime is his safe time. That his bed should be the warmest, most comforting place he knows outside of my arms. Because I want to believe that. Maybe if I say it enough times, it will be true, right?
Peanut, I am struggling with this one. I know an answer will come, and I know I will feel your hand in it.
Until then, I gaze at a picture of you and wonder what you would be like today. My brain has an image, a vision, that will continue to grow as you should be growing up here on earth. But my heart continues to remember you just as you were in January of 2011. It hears your bellowing laugh, sees your mouth crowded full of new teeth, feels those precise fingers pressing at my eyelashes, and smells the scent of your blonde curls washed in lavender bath time bubble bath. I still feel your breath in my ear as you whisper, "Momma..." I still feel your tight grip around my neck as you offer a famous Peanut hug. In short, I still feel you in every fiber of my being. Thank goodness.
My arms ache for you. So does my heart. Missing and loving you more than I can ever express. To the moon - and back.
|Peanut sleeping at just 5 days old. When sleep was still safe.|