June 29, 2012

baby faces

I loved this list from the late, great Nora Ephron. I think I have seen ‘When Harry Met Sally’ 72000 times.

It got me thinking what Id put on my list. It got me thinking about the anti-bucket list I developed last year. It also got me thinking about the impact parenting has on me.

Its Red Nose Day today here in Australia. Chrissie Swan wrote a lovely, eloquent piece on what she remembers from being a kid when she first released that people sometimes lose their kids. I was watching a TV show last night and my girl was perched on the side of the lounge. How is it that there can be 3 other seats available but kids have to sit right ON you? The story was about a mum who lost her little boy to SIDS last year. My daughter sobbed for about half an hour after the story – she asked to go in and check on her own brother to make sure he was OK. I kept asking her to talk to me while also thinking why the hell did I let her watch with me – but like Chrissie said I dont know how you hide the world from your kids – do you shield them from it hoping to keep all the yucky stuff out or do you open it all up for them to peer in to. Being asked questions that start with ‘why’ mean that I always stumble for an answer, because after 10 years working in the grief world there will never be an answer for those questions. I talked to her about life and love and we made a list of things that we should be grateful for, the things that will stick out when we’re old and wrinkly, the things that wont even rate…it went something like this.

Wont miss

Waking up early for swimming


Homework (that was me)

Bad Coffee

Bossy people



Merit awards

Friends, best friends


Laughing  until your tummy hurts

Uno (or Unit as my girl calls it)


I calmed her down and she opted to sleep in my bed until I popped her into hers later on. I carried those big, lanky limbs out of my room, around the corner to her bed filled with 100 toys and tucked her in. The face still looks like the baby I used to stare out, like most mums I held my breath after both my babies had started sleeping through the night worried as I stepped in the room that something dreadful had happened during the night. I still check on all the kids at random times through the night. Watching. Waiting. Admiring (and secretly relishing the quiet)

You can donate to SIDS and KIDS or to River’s Gift or just raise awareness where you can. Cliched as it as, hold your bubs tight, talk to them openly and wipe away the tears when they learn that it isnt all rainbows. Im not sure if I tell my kids too much, I also know that I cant take away their empathy for other people. I figure its better to have it, than not.

Share this post if you think that coping with loss is about sharing the message.

Whats on your hit and miss list?


Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. What a lovely post. Kids realise more than we know. My 5 year old speaks about the baby we lost(miscarriage) last year & always includes them as part of our family which is special. I too watched the story about baby River & couldn’t help having a cry while I rubbed my fat belly with my little boy kicking around inside. xx

    • Im so sorry for the baby you lost but how lovely that your daughter includes her in thinking about who is part of your family. Happy days with your soon to be arrival x

  2. At 5 yrs 365 days my twin boys only understand the basics of loss, but not really about their sister who was born still @26wks…before them.
    They ask a lot of questions about dying at the moment and I am working on an age appropriate response.

    • It’s a constant evolution isn’t it? The questions they ask change and get deeper as they grow (as it should) I think involving kids, being available to ask questions and just sitting where they are (and what they need) is the best way to manage that gap between loss and exploring it. Thanks for your comment Trish and happy birthday to your boys x

  3. This is a very important conversation to have with our children, Sarah. Not one I would even know how to broach, so perhaps that’s why shielding them from the world isn’t a good thing. x

  4. Oh wow – such a beautiful post. I love that you made the list together. Explaining grief to my kids scares me (luckily it’s a while off) but it’s so good to read words like this and know it can be done with love and gentleness. Thank you x

    • Thanks Elisa – I think that having to explain divorce and that loss to my kids has opened up a lot more conversations. Thanks for your lovely words x

  5. What a sweet girl you have. Its always a tough one. My daughter lost her dad when she was a baby (shes now 4.5). From the beginning I’ve never ‘shielded’ her from it and have somehow managed to stumble may way through the the different questions she’s put to me at different stages. Always hard and theres never a ‘right’ answer.
    I’ve made my donation and have a nice new red nose key ring too.

  6. I also cried when I saw the bit on The Project about the loss of River.
    My children know about death as both my parents have died but I’m not sure how much my children understand about grief.


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