Rowan turns 6 two weeks from today. Lately he’s been remarking a LOT about missing his brother. The fact that my 6 year old child already has a part of his story that includes death, breaks my heart.
I’m thankful that our efforts to continue being transparent about our own grief as parents, and making sure to keep discussion open about Sloan, has allowed Rowan the ability to both verbalize his feelings on the matter, and know that his brother will always matter in our family. We never wanted Rowan to be the person who “had a brother once that his parents never talked about”. That archaic mindset, that taboo, that shushing, is a thing of societies past. Bereaved parents are opening up, sharing, warning, teaching.
These children need us to recognize the sibling they had and lost, or never met but want to know. They need us to honor their grief, by acknowledging our own. When Rowan tells me he misses his brother, yes there’s a part of me that I have to fight not to spiral into the abyss of despair and triggers. But there is also a large part of me that is glad for that longing, because it means he had something to miss, it means he hasn’t forgotten that something, those feelings, or his brother. Most importantly, it means he knows he can come to us about it and be heard.