Posted by: Louise | November 16, 2010


I’m feeling really emotional
whimpered Astro Boy from the back of the car.

I turned to talk to him ( I wasn’t driving), to allow him a space to elaborate on what was causing him to feel like this. My children have met death and each of them has been living with this experience in their own way, at their own pace. They don’t forewarn me when a moment is coming and so my hearing has become more acute to the content of their babble. I turned and asked him what was up.

It was just a bit of drama!! he laughed.

Have I mentioned this child is an actor? He can’t help it. For the past year he has been practicing accents. It would appear now he is developing his repertoire of emotions too.

We went swimming. In the changing room, K and the boys were dressing together. Talk turned to scars. The little boy racer has a pretty good knee scar and K has a prize winning 10″ scar on his back following his dice with death. You should have seen my Dad’s scar, K said to the boys. Apparently it travelled the whole way around his belly and back so would definitely have won this particular competition.

Your Dad is dead, LBR said to K.

Hey, don’t go getting Dad all emotional, came Astro Boy’s concerned retort.

There are so many places to go with this. I want to allow space for my children’s emotions, but I don’t want to drag them to the place of serious stuff when they are just playing. Is it odd that a seven year old can have such a clear understanding of what emotional means? What about a seven year old watching out for his Dad’s emotional well being? And K has been very contained with his emotions around losing Laura. I on the other hand have been very emotional and not buried in a tea towel hiding in the kitchen.

I remember the LBR asking me in his nearly 4 year old voice, a few weeks after Laura died, Why are you always talk crying on the phone to Granny? And then adding – Butterflies will make your sad go away. They have magic powers. He had a direct line to angels that day.

My children have seen me cry.

When I was six my sister died. I never met her. She lived for sixteen days in hospital, isolated from the family who loved her and wanted her, and then she died.

I never saw my parents cry.

They hid, with their tears, in the house while I cried and cried and cried outside. They have often talked about finding me. I expected my children to have the same tears when their sister died. I didn’t hide mine to allow them permission for theirs. Does it work like that? Did my tears stop theirs from coming? Did they decide to be strong for me?

Astro Boy, then six, didn’t allow his emotions to surface for months. Of the three he was the one who had been the most obviously excited by my pregnancy. The moment Laura died he began to plan her gravestone. Dad, help me draw it. I want it to be a carving of a little baby, but with a hole going all the way through it where her heart should be.

We still haven’t got a gravestone for Laura. There is something too concrete about a gravestone, too final, too hard. She is never coming back. And K’s Mum had died only a few months before Laura. She needed a gravestone first. It was two too many. So for Laura’s first birthday, Astro Boy found a piece of slate and made his own gravestone for his sister and we’ve put that on her grave for now.

I think we are doing ok with the kids, but we’ll never know, really.



  1. I think it sounds like you are doing remarkably good with them. The fact that AB did this beautiful thing for his baby sister is proof of how much he loves, and how much he knows love.

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