Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lauren's Turn

We all take our turns, in our own time and our own way, to process and understand Camille's death. We all take our turns grieving in our own way. Yesterday it was Lauren's turn.

Lauren was so young when Camille died. She was not quite 3 yet. She did not understand death. I spent the first 14 months or so telling her that Camille would not be coming out of the box - not until Jesus comes again - and that may be a very long time from now - she may go see Camille before Camille gets to come back and get her body. It is difficult for a 3 year old to grasp death and the resurrection especially when she is anxious to have her playmate back.

The last few days she has been asking to watch the videos of Camille often. I think she has them memorized now. They comprise nearly all of her memories of Camille. I think apart from the day Camille drowned, Lauren has lost all her memories of her sister. Any memory she recalls now is a quote from a movie or the image from a picture. And so when she wants to see Camille, when she wants to "remember" her sister, I can't refuse her request even if it hard for me to watch with her.

Yesterday she wanted to watch the videos again. I told her she could watch while I went to work out. When I got back she had watched them all through again. I showered quickly and then tried to get her to get ready to go to a party. Suddenly she didn't like her costume. It didn't fit right. I tailored it on the sewing machine to fit her well. She still didn't like it. She felt she looked weird. I assured her she didn't. Daddy assured her she looked just like a doctor should - and a very cute doctor at that. No luck.

We were already 20 minutes late now for the party. I got her in the car and tried to tease her out of her sour mood. We got to the house where the party was and I walked in. She would not follow. I told her to come see the cupcakes. She would not come. She hid behind a pillar outside the door. I told her if she didn't come in we would have to leave. I fully expected she would come. Who wouldn't want to go to a fun Halloween party with her friends? -- Lauren, that's who. She walked back to the car. I told her we were going to leave then. She said okay and got in the car. I was shocked. It was at this point that I thought, "hmmm, this may be about more than the costume."

I took her home. She cried in the car all the way home. Back home she wanted to rock and watch the Camille slideshow again. I asked if she wanted to hold Noble. She did. So I held her and she held Noble and we rocked and watched the slide show of Camille ... again ... and she cried. Then Noble started crying and squirming. Lauren slid out and went to sit on the couch and rock.

I asked if I could come over and hold her. Sobbing she shook her head "No." And then my heart broke. And there, trying to catch her breath between sobs, she sat and watched the video. I held my arms open to her. She would not come. I waited and hurt with her from across the room. I extended my arms further pleading with my eyes for her to come let me hold her and rock her. And then she came. And we rocked. And it was endurable.

The show ended. "Again Mama," she said.

"Do we really have to watch again?" I asked.

"Yes, Mama. I want Camille in our home. Playing it makes Camille in our home. Play it again." And so we played it again -- one more time. She sobbed into her worn blankie with my arms around her tight and she grieved. She still insisted she was only upset about her costume (which she had taken off 30 minutes earlier) but that is the way it is with kids. They don't understand grief enough to recognize it when it hits.

We will have many rounds of grief to experience with our children as they grow and better understand their own loss. And we will let them grieve, just as others have let us grieve, in our own time and our own way. And hopefully they will let me hold them while they grieve, so that it may be more endurable for us both.

3 Nephi 9:14 "Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold the arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me."

20 comments:

Amy C. said...

I've only commented once on your blog, many months ago, but I always "check in" to see how you and your family are doing. Reading this post makes my heart ache for your sweet daughter - and for you. There's no way to say the right thing here - I'm just sending hope and love your way...

Denise said...

I can't imagine being 3 and losing my best playmate. My heart hurts to read this and hope the Spirit will comfort Lauren(and you), the way it has comforted those who have experienced a loss such as hers. Hugs and loves sent your way...

Olsens R Us said...

If only there was a way to send all the love and compassion I feel for you through a comment on a blog.....but this is what I have to work with, and so I send it hoping you feel what I'm sure so many of us want to express to you- that we ache with you and long for the day when there will be no more tears and suffering...when you and your sweet family are all together again. You are a wonderful Mom and your children are blessed to have you there helping them navigate through their grief.

Sarah s. said...

I hope Lala had a less tear filled day today.

Beck said...

This post makes my heart ache! Sending warm thoughts and prayers your way. You are a wonderful example of a patient, kind mother and I can only hope that your family will continue to be strong in dealing with the grief. God Bless!

She Made Mention said...

I have also left one comment on your blog recently, as I was preparing for the birth of our "daughter" which on the 15th of October~ turned into a "son". BUT, we have since heard from the doctors that his complex heart defects are unrepairable and that he cannot be helped. We decided to take him off his oxygen and the drugs that they were keeping him on. We expected him to pass in our arms last thursday, but he decided to stick around. It is a miracle, but a miracle that has to end. So we decided to take him home and that is where he is... home with his family. Tomorrow he will be two weeks old and we know that he will return home to his Heavenly Father sometime soon, but we don't know exactly when. I have a 2 1/2 yr. old daughter and a 4 1/2 old son who are trying to wrap their brains around why their baby brother can't "stay". I am so thankful to have your example. I love the church, my faith, family, and friends... I cannot imagine where I'd be without them. I heard that you have a blog with parents of "angel babies". As I sit home with my baby, knowing he will be going home to his Father in Heaven... I ache for comfort. I would love if I could access your blog. I hope you understand how inspirational you are. Thanks so much.

Brittany said...

Reading how Lauren wants to watch the videos because she wants Camille in your home...about broke my heart. I am so sorry for your loss and I pray that the Spirit will comfort your family.

Anonymous said...

Your sweet daughters aching and your candidness has me in tears. I was at my breaking point tonight. I have had enough of my husband, job and stress. Thankfully my kids are wonderful. As I read your blog the spirit was so strong. I know if you can make it through such a hearwrenching event that I can make it through. We each have our trials to endure but it is what we do with them that makes us better. Thank you

jacs said...

Oh, my heart hurts for you dear Lauren...for your whole family. May Heavenly Father continue to wrap you in His love and be close as you navigate your way through life and all the times you will grieve for your loss.

Love and hugs.

Stephanie said...

What a sweetheart she is. She is so blessed to have you as her mother to help her through the grief of missing her sister.

mummsy's world said...

hi i am so amazed by the intensity of this blog. I have 2 children of my own, a girl and a boy, and they are very close. i could not imagine how much grief your daughter and yourself have gone thru. I'm a registered nurse & work at a cancer unit where almost everyday i encounter death. but it does not get better. death is such a very bitter way of going thru a better place for all of us. me and my children will be praying for you and your family especially lauren.

Amanda said...

My heart aches for your Lauren. It is such a hard thing for her to have to understand why her sister isn't there anymore. Such a hard thing. I wish there was someway to take her pain away...

Anonymous said...

This post absolutely broke my heart. I hope Lauren is able to find peace.

Dawn, said...

I watched my dear friend go through a very similar experience as you have and your family. Her child, a little boy, that also was the closest in age to her daughter that drowned, was only 26 months when the drowning occured. At around 4 her little son had a terrible grief process. She helped her son write letters to his little sister that he missed so terribly. The letters were often just a journal of what he did that particular day. But that little boy is now 8, and he still writes letters daily to his little sister...it has been a wonderful healer... yet has given this little boy a way to not forget his sister and still feel connected. This may be a way for Lauren to stay close to Camille. Often it is the fear of forgetting the sibling that died that is so very terrifying for the sibling(s) left to live without them.

Michele said...

Like the others have said, I am in tears, and can't begin to imagine what you and your family are going through! Sending so much love, and prayers for you, Lauren, Camille, and the rest of your family.

Peace.

tagskie said...

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russell & joanna said...

Last night our sweet stake primary president (who said has faced some very hard trails in life) shared a scripture with us that gave her great comfort during a time really rough time.

D&C 122:7-8

7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the apit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the bdeep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to chedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of dhell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee eexperience, and shall be for thy good.

8 The aSon of Man hath bdescended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

You may already be aware of these verses, but it's always good to have reminders.

God Bless your dear sweetheart Lauren and the rest of your family.

Karisa Lynn said...

I love that your children can openly express their feelings and cry. It is so sweet and so sad at the same time. It breaks my heart.

My prayers are with you and your beautiful little girls.

angee said...

I, too, read your blog faithfully though you don't know me, and I don't know if I've ever commented before. I, too, ache for you and for your family.

I love the last paragraph where you talked about letting your children grieve as they grow older. I lost my little brother when I was 9. It hit me hard then, and there have been moments along the way. And yet, here I am 30 years old, and grieving again. These past couple of months have consisted of grieving for him all over again. For my mom and her loss, because now that I'm a parent, I "get it." For myself and my living brothers, for not having him there through our growing up years. And for my own children, who would have this amazing uncle serving an LDS mission right now, and yet, they don't get that example, those letters, that testimony.

So, yes, let your children grieve. And hold them along the way. Because they may grieve into adulthood, even when they think all of that has passed. They will never forget, as I haven't.

Sending love along your way... Angee :)

abby's photo shoppe said...

Your experiences have made my loss of my baby girl, Sophia, stillborn on Oct 31, 2007 real. No one talks about her much. No one says what they feel. And your child experiencing grief, and you listening to it makes it better for me to feel it. I miss my girl. Who moved inside of me. Who kicked me. Who hiccuped inside of me. Who died before taking a breath. Who only I felt. I miss her. And have ultra sound videos and pictures after her birth. I am heartbroken for you to have to watch your precious Camille on video. I am moreso that you have to watch your children's hearts break. You are so brave. Thank you. You have no idea how much reading your blog has done for me. Our grief is not the same. And yet it is. I will pray for you and your precious child tonight.
You know, they did a study at Duke with two cancer groups, A and B. They didn't know it (the cancer patients) but at some college far away group A was being prayed for. And amazingly their conditions were markedly better than group B.
You are in my prayers.
Abby
(missing Sophia Margeurite tonight)