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Monday, April 26, 2010

Living On The Moon

One of the hardest parts in dealing with Phineas' death has been helping the girls deal with it. Being 4 and almost 3, the idea of death is hard to approach.

When I was pregnant, the girls knew that we would have a baby soon and that he would come out of me. Cordelia was a bit resistant to the idea because she has been the baby for so long. Eventually, they were both excited at the prospect and they would talk about him and then they would use Baby Phineas as a character in their games and play. I knew they would be great sisters.

Then, when I was in labor, the girls were sort of confused, but they got the idea that the baby would come soon and that the midwives were there to "help push the baby out" as Cecily said. Cordelia was particularly interested in what was going on and wanted very much to be a part of it. They were up late and my sister was with them and entertaining them. I was excited that they would be present for the birth.

But, instantly everything changed. My sister, thankfully took them downstairs to play in the basement with their toys while the commotion of the emergency vehicles and moving me out of the house happened. They were none the wiser and they eventually fell asleep.

When I arrived home in the morning, not feeling great and without a baby, they were confused. Eventually they started asking questions about where Phineas was. We told them the hospital but didn't have the heart to tell them much more.

Unfortunately, they were not able to meet him. I think that is one of my greatest regrets, but I am still unsure of how they would have reacted. I thought they would be confused and wonder why he would not, or could not wake up. That their requests to bring him home would be more frequent. Those would always drive me to tears.

After he passed, they continued to ask for him and about him. We told them that he had gone to live with Jesus. I think it would satisfy them, but they could sense how sad we were. Phineas continued to be a part of their playtime. An imaginary baby, really. We showed them pictures to help the understand, but I am not sure how much they get.

Then, Cecily started to talk about how Phineas was "living on the moon with Jesus" and I wondered how she got to that conclusion. Then I remembered a movie that had a character die and her essence floated up toward the moon. In Cecily's mind, that is what happened to Phineas. I am grateful for this.

Still, every once in awhile, the wounds feel raw and open again. We have to remind them about Phineas. Last night, we watched a movie where a character had to say goodbye to his friends and go back to normal life. Cecily started to cry about this, and then started to cry about how she wanted her brother. I felt my heart break once more. We all wanted him so much. I think I underestimated how keenly they feel and know about our whole family's loss.

Sometimes I feel like I have let them down, like I have deprived them of their brother. I hope though, that this is not the case. They have a brother forever.

I hope they continue to keep Baby Phineas in their play. That he will always be a part of us. Even if he now lives on the moon of their imagination.

4 remarks:

Danny, Julie, Jack and Mari April 26, 2010 at 9:52 PM  

I'm so very, very sorry for the death of your beautiful boy. We've said goodbye to two beautiful boys and know the heartbreak that comes with trying to explain it all to two little ones waiting at home.

You are not alone and if you ever need someone to listen you're in good company at glow or you can email me at

Again, I'm so sorry.


Cristin April 27, 2010 at 6:41 PM  

I had no idea that you had planned a home birth until I read this post. For some reason I thought you were going to a birth center. This post made me cry thinking about Cordelia and Cecily's sweet understanding of death.

Erika April 29, 2010 at 2:31 AM  

Young children always amaze me at how much they understand. I'm glad that she has the image of her baby brother on the moon with Jesus and that he lives on through their play. It's very sweet to read that.

loribeth May 3, 2010 at 9:07 AM  

My husband & I helped facilitate a pregnancy loss support group for 10 years. One children's book that several parents found helpful to read to their other children was called "We were gonna have a baby, but we got an angel instead." I can't remember the author, but I'm sure you could find it on Amazon. (((hugs)))

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