Its August 13th and we lost Bobby 10 weeks ago today. My beautiful, feisty and courageous daughter came up the stairs today to tell me she needed me and how she wanted Bobby. I know that ache, I feel it every single day and today I could feel her little ache. And I could do nothing for her but tell her I loved her and that I understood. We went downstairs and we hugged. And she said it again, Mommy I want Bobby. So I did what people do for me, I followed her lead and I didn’t change the course of the conversation; even though I wanted to.
I followed my intuition and I asked her would she like to see his photos; other than a beautiful canvas of Bobby given to us by dear friends, Lily had not seen any. My heart told me this would give her some comfort. I showed her the picture of the moment she met him for the first time; right after we had told her that he had died and given her the choice to see him or not. I showed her the picture of Bobby in his parent’s arms, alive before he died. She had never seen him alive. I showed her the beautiful pictures that the wonderful charity Now I lay Me Down To Sleep Ireland captured for us; the photos that were so painfully difficult to be a part of back then but so comforting to have now. She smiled proudly; she said how cute and beautiful her brother was. There was so much love and she asked to see more. I just kept following her lead. She asked me could we light a candle and we did and she smiled; we were honouring his existence together and she beamed with pride also wrapped up in pain. Lily decided we were going to make a promise to light a candle every time we all felt sad in the future. And off she skipped asking for her breakfast, making an aeroplane out of paper and being your normal 4 year old.
I had a choice in that moment today; I chose to be brave and slide into the moment of discomfort and of utter pain. I could have swiftly changed the subject. Who knew grieving for your son could be so intensified by the grief of your little girl; we strive everyday to be upbeat for her and not talk about our pain around her. We simply follow her lead and she chooses to brings her brother into daily life and conversation. The words of a compassionate psychologist we had spoken to numerous times during Bobby’s journey rang in my ears; you cannot take away her grief, you need to allow her the space to grieve. I am so grateful for these words as they continue to guide me as I help her deal with his terrible loss.