“Your big brother loves you,”
I often tell my other children, though I question if they understand.
They were not here when he both lived and died.
He was my first. He is the big brother, they are his little sister and step sister.
Talking to what many call my “rainbow” children about their big brother is something that has always been important to me.
I want them to know about him, but parenting after loss offers challenges.
I want them to know the love we still carry in our hearts for their big brother, the brother they will never meet.
I often hear others question when and how to talk to their children about the siblings that came before them. I wish I had some concrete answers. But the truth is, there is no right or wrong. Parenting after loss is a never black or white.
You should do what feels right for you and your family.
Every family is different. Each holds different beliefs about life, death, spirituality, and everything in between. There is no handbook for how to cope with parenting children who come after the devastating loss of a child. So, my advice is always to do what feels right in your heart. This is just my choice and my experience so far, but again, there is no right or wrong.
I started talking about their big brother right from the day I met my step daughter and from the birth of Summer J. I would show pictures of Jack and say “this is your big brother Jack.”
My step daughter knew all about Jack and what happened to him and until lately Summer was too little to ask questions. I always wanted them to grow up knowing who this sweet little boy was that came before them.
My step daughter is great when it comes to Jack. She talks about Jack all the time, especially to her little sister Summer, she is friends with Jacks friends and she keeps his memory alive with us.
Lately Summer has started say she wants to hold Jacks hand and give him a cuddle and I would be lying if I didn’t say that this made my eyes well up and I didn’t really know what to say. I haven’t come out and said that Jack has died as Summer does not know what death is yet but she knows that Jack is a part of our family, and is starting to grasp that there is a missing piece.
Summer often draws or talks about all the different family members, she lists us all off and casually, without missing a beat, she will always have Jacks name in the list.
That right there is why I choose to talk about my first born to his younger siblings who never got to know him.
While there are some details that I will not share with his siblings, they will always know that they have a big brother.
While parenting after loss is heart-work, they will know how much he is loved.
How much they are loved.
That a life, no matter how brief, matters.
And that they have a big brother who loves them
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