Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

No Matter What

Recently I've been introduced to a beautiful children's book by a lovely Mummy.  A book which has quite profoundly impacted on me.  It is a beautiful story written by Debi Gliori called 'No Matter What'. Small asks Large would he still love him in a multitude of situations and Large always replying he'll always love him no matter what.   The story finishes with Small asking what happens to love when we die;

 Small said, 'But what about when we're dead and gone, would you love me then, does love go on?'
Large held Small snug as they looked out at the night, at the moon in the dark and the stars shining bright. 'Small, look at the stars - how they shine and glow, but some of those stars died a long time ago.'
'Still they shine in the evening skies, love, like starlight, never dies.'

This one little line has stuck with me since; love, like starlight, never dies.  How appropriate for our little family. Death has made no difference to the love we feel for Anabelle.   

We've bought this book for Alexander, his first story book. It arrived yesterday. I'm not going to wait to read it to him, because never reading to Anabelle as I'd planned to do before she was born is one of my biggest regrets. Alexander is awake at the moment and moving around, so as soon as I've finished this post we're having story time.

As Anabelle's first book (Guess How Much I Love You) expressed the expanse of our love to her, his book is going to do the same. Because above all else I want my children know how much they are loved. I hope the gentle reference to death and the stars helps him place his sister in his life and our family, and he'll truely know we'll always love him, and his sister, no matter what.  That love in our family is forever.

Some may feel is it morbid that our little boys first book references death. But the truth of it is, death, like love, is a constant in our family; a very important little persons existence in this family is through her life in us even in death. If that makes any sense; it does to me.

Right from day one I want to ensure Alexander feels a connection to his big sister, that he grows up with her there, and not as someone who is just a name. I don't want the elusive 'we'll have to tell him about her one day when he is older'. I don't want him to be told, I want her to just be part of his knowing, part of his family, someone who was only missing in body, not in spirit. Like a child knows who Mummy and Daddy are, I want him to just know who Anabelle is.

I've no idea how we really begin to achieve this appropriately. It is such a delicate situation. I would never want Alexander to feel he is only here because she isn't. We have to find a way of giving Anabelle her place in gentle and constant ways but never letting her outshine Alexander.  As their Mummy I need to show love to them both. How do we make sure our dead and (hopefully) living child feels they are equally loved and important? How do you bring up a sibling alongside and including a dead one?  How do we get the balance right between the two?  

How do we do 'family'? Another thing to think about in our incompleteness.

Remembering Sterre and Mummy Hannah who shared this story with me. A little star far too soon. 


Twopointfourchildren said...

we have the same book and I love it. We have always spoken about R and have his photos round the house. Buster at 26 months talks about R and every time he sees a graveyard calls it R's garden. R is still very much part of our family xx

Unknown said...

We have this book. It was bought after a series of losses. I read it to my kids and I'm sure it helped.

Marie said...

What a lovely book, I must buy a copy. My eldest girl knows about her brothers and sisters. She's only 4, so they are more like imaginary friends right now, but it was absolutely right that we keep talking about them, about sadness, and about people we miss. To throw it on her later would feel unfair, and in any case I won't deny my other children just because they aren't here with me. We will keep talking about them, have photos etc as my littlest grows too.

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