There is no good or easy way to tell your child about death, especially the death of their Baby Sister. Much time is put into teaching them to pray, not preparing for death. “Pray for our Sweet Madeline and for her Doctors and Nurses to take good care of her, so she can come home soon.” We recited a version of this simple yet pleading prayer for 16 months.
Left with no words when our prayers were not answered in a way we can possibly ever fully grasp, we simply said, “God called Madeline home.” “She is an Angel now with God, her cousins and Grandma and Grandpa’s.”
As I have not found even this knowledge to be adequately comforting, I often wondered what The Brothers were thinking. Big Brother is pretty firm in his faith for a little/big guy. He told me with awe, “Mom, she’s like a Saint now!” Johnny, so literal, simply said through tears, “she was so beautiful and now she is gone.”
The Little Brother, maybe was the most like me…………… he simply didn’t seem able to take it. Once all the “doing” was over for her funeral and he was sent back to his “normal” day-to-day routine, you could say the bottom fell out. He to did not know what to do with this knowledge. Knowledge that his Baby Sister he and everyone prayed so hard for, was gone……………..she was now in this place called Heaven and it was supposed to bring peace and comfort. Yet, all around him was great sadness. His response to his great sadness………………..retreat………..retreat under the desk, in the closet, under the Christmas tree and in the bathroom. And we didn’t know what he was thinking because he refused to discuss. However, as they say, actions can speak louder than words so we concluded he was simply as broken and confused as anyone.
Thank to selfless, dedicated teachers going way beyond the scope of their job descriptions, Little Brother began to retreat a little less, and less. He began to talk just a little but just enough. One day, his teacher told me to check his folder. He had written a poem. I was a little nervous as to what he might write. I was thinking his favorite (potty humor) or something angry. I thought…………wrong. The Little Brother had possibly been sold short. He hadn’t been shut down as much as possibly he was giving this place Heaven a great deal of thought. And while under those desks he had been painting this comforting picture………………..
GATE OF FAITH
Just at the gate
Is where you’ll find your fate.
As you see in the bright night
Just coming through
Just follow me and the moon rises
Just come with me
I’ll do as you wish
By the river full of fish
As I lead the way
To the gate of your faith,
Just as we pass trees in peace,
As long as you stay with me
You’ll never be lost,
As the owl flies up in the night sky
You’ll always have your way with me
Just follow me
The gate of your faith
It’s just so hard
To resist the feeling.
(The Little Brother, 2nd grade)
So…………..I wonder, is this what Baby Girl heard when God Called Her Home?