I know how hard it is to parent a child in heaven. But sometimes I forget how hard it is to be a sibling to one. Last night the kids were at the table doing their homework and Emma brought in a package that had arrived from gramma. She opened the box and gave everyone their little goodies that gramma had sent. There was something for everyone....mom, dad, the three of them, and the new baby. And she was not happy. After a lot of prying and a couple threats (which I am not proud of), she spilled her feelings to me. She was upset that gramma had not sent anything for Chase. She was afraid that Chase was being forgotten and I could see it in her eyes as her tears began to flow, that this terrified her. She was happy that everyone including the baby had a present in the box, but nothing in there for Chase meant he was forgotten, to her. I explained to her that I didn't like the idea of buying things all the time for Chase as we have a big collection of memories and keepsakes for him and adding more things to that collection, is not something I wanted to deal with anyway. She insisted that it didn't have to be a lot, maybe a photo of him or a letter or note to him. She just wanted recognition of her little brother. That's all. Acknowledgement that he is part of our family and always will be even though he isn't here in our presence. I grabbed her and hugged her and told her that we were not forgetting about him. I told her we talk about him all the time and we will talk about him to his little brother every time we hold him and play with him and that this was her job, too. She knows that we do that....she told me that whenever her friends at school ask how many there are in her family, she tells them "7: me, Karly, Reese, Chase, the new baby, mom and dad." She said she doesn't explain what happened to Chase unless they ask. But she wants to say and hear his name to know that he is remembered by all and is a part of all our lives. It hurts not to feel this confirmation.
Since we were having this conversation and I was including the other two in it as well, Reese got a real sad look on his face and said to me, "I really hope we get to bring this baby home, mom." I told him that we most definitely will and then he said to me with raised up sad eyebrows, "Mom, do you have a different doctor this time?" I said, "Yes, baby, I do and you are gonna love her. She is very nice and is taking very good care of me." To that, he replied, "Good."
Woah. I looked at each of the kids and my heart felt so incredibly heavy. I could see and feel their pain, their worry, their fears and I wanted nothing more than to make it all go away. But I know I can't. I know that, like me and Patric, through all their excitement for their newest little brother and their anticipation for taking care of him and loving on him, they are scared to the very core that this, too, will be taken away. It's like we are all standing here, tightening our guts, just waiting for someone to punch us there again. Because they, too, really just want Chase back. And it's this sadness and longing that makes the rainbow very hard to see, at times, through the dark and heavy clouds in our sky above us.