We read her the book, we gave her “the talk” but up until yesterday we had not taken Faith to visit where her brother’s body lay. The day before I had found a little plastic boot with Woody from Toy Story on it. It would be perfect to hold flowers that we could take to his gravesite.
“No-No’s” Faith said as we purchased the boot.
“No, Faith, Noah is with his Daddy, this is for your other brother, Jonah who is in heaven. Did you know you have a brother in heaven?”
Seven months later and she is still grieving the loss of what she knew of a brother. It’s been one month and we are still grieving what we knew of another boy we had hoped would also hold that same title.
Late last summer Brian came home with a shirt for Faith that said, “I’m the big sister.”
“I know it’s early," he said. Yes, it was, we had only just conceived the idea of having a baby “but I was just so excited I had to get it."
This shirt sat in Faith’s drawer all fall and into early winter as we weren’t spreading the news until I was further along in the pregnancy.
Over the past few weeks whenever I put away Faith’s clothes and I spot the shirt in the back of the drawer it is yet another reminder of what was lost. It wasn’t until yesterday morning that I realized that the statement on the shirt is still true- Faith IS the big sister and circumstances did not change that. He existed, he was a person, she was his sister and he will always be a part of our family. So for the first time she wore the shirt to visit her brother.
Faith was very sweet. She held the boot in her two hands, dropping the flowers as she sauntered to the memorial.
When we got to the Jonah’s stone she kept saying, “Baba, baba” and signing “baby.”
“Yes, Faith this is where your brother is buried.”
“Here” she signed.
“Yes Faith, this is where is body is and we come here to remember him but he is in heaven.”
She had no words for that one.
We read the book, “On the Night You Were Born.” I had came across the book about a week after we lost him. The illustrations reminded me of heaven, and words were clearly written for him. “On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, 'Life will never be the same.'"
I think this is what I want to do every time we visit him, read him books because that is what we’d do if he were here. In the past few months we have found different ways to include him in our daily lives. I started taking pictures of sunrises one morning. When I was a mom to Jeremiah and Noah I found that it was in those early hours that I felt the most maternal. When you are sleep deprived and your child is up before the sun you rely purely on instinct to function. In those wee hours of the morning we'd hear Noah jumping around in his crib as we grumbled about who’s turn it was to get him up. It was in those early hours, when the rest of the house was asleep that I felt most connected to him. It was just to two of us, him and I.
After Noah left I found myself automatically waking at 4:30am, my body conditioned to his early routine. When I became pregnant this patterned continued. I would wake up hours before my alarm was set to go off and I would think about how in a few more months I would be tending to our baby to be.
I have not been able to shake this and sometimes when I wake now I will now go sit in the empty room that was to be his and I will rock in the rocking chair and pretend that he is still with me. I imagine dressing him, giving him a bottle and reading him a book.
Just about this time the sun begins to peek through and I snap a picture.
I wish you could see this Jonah, I say to him. But then I imagine him saying to me what he is seeing is far more beautiful and maybe, just maybe he is also taking pictures for me.
Jen & CO.