We’re open about the death of Melody, we don’t hide the fact that she has died; especially to her older siblings. They met her and spent five weeks with her. Five years on, it is still the case. We can go weeks even months without talking about her, but can also go weeks where we talk about her daily.
It is something we have come to be comfortable with in our family unit. My son struggled just recently, saying how he didn’t want to talk about her; to me I am glad he was open and we as a family respected that. He went on to say that he didn’t want to get bullied about the situation and it wasn’t that he didn’t want to talk about her. We have spoken through this; and he has since brought her up of his own say so.
I would never force her on the children; we have right from the very beginning been led by the children, often even before our own feelings. I know people choose to believe otherwise – but unless you have been through losing Melody (not baby loss as a whole), but Melody then judging has no place in our home.
When I say “losing Melody”, I say this because each and every person’s loss is individual it is personal to them. Baby bereavement is incredibly complex without the need to judge how anyone glues themselves back together.
Being open has played a huge part in our healing process. When you have a baby it is parent’s job to teach that growing baby about life, from walking and talking to colours of the rainbow, everything has to be taught.
For Melody’s younger siblings that is the case, to them Melody is nothing but a fairy tale; a picture in the frame, a name or a letter we include to remember her; headstone that needs to be decorated. The older two siblings however between them they made the decision to not hide Melody from the younger ones, to be open with them, to teach them about the sister they will never meet.
The older out of the two youngest, is 4, she was born 11 months after Melody had died.
She has started mentioning her, when we see garden ornaments or flowers; her sister will say “Aw that would be lovely for Melody.” She is very sweet.
She knows about her, or at least as much as we can explain to her. The painful thing is that her older brother had already learned about baby death at her age now. It wasn’t something we could hide from him.
Today she started asking questions; right from the very first Halloween after loss, we have always included her, we always decorate her grave; this year we haven’t, we haven’t been up for several weeks now – I know I should; but I just find it hard. The children were doing their pumpkins; we always do one for Melody.
“Did she laugh?”
“Was Melody in your tummy?”
“Did she say Daddy?”
“Did she say your name Mummy?”
I had to stop her there.
“No; because you have the biggest giggles now.” I replied.
I always knew what to say before, but now I am not so sure. These are the same questions but they are new. They are new to them.
I don’t understand myself why we never got to hear her laugh or hear her say Mummy and Daddy. I am stumped. My older children knew she didn’t laugh, her siblings knew she never spoke a word. We as her parents have slowly come to terms with never hearing her voice.
Now, these new questions, although I guess expected have caught me off guard. I will be as honest as I can be.
How can I say to her that no, your sister born before you never had the chance to say a word, never felt the first belly laugh from deep within. She never got to leave the hospital, despite the odds being in her favour.
I never got her hear her say “Mama.”
We know that we will answer them in a gentle way, that Melody was here for a little time, but she had to go and live in the clouds (where she thinks she is). I know it will pacify her enough for now, and for a little while longer. At least until she’s older, until they’re all older we get the real questions on why she died.
We don’t know, I don’t think we will ever understand.
If you have missed my recent posts here is the last one I shared…