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.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Big Sister, Little Brother

Each December my pink pages get about making nominations for our version of the 'New Years Honours'. There are lots of catergories ranging from the hilarious have a laugh ones to the more serious awards; lots of opportunities to spread the love as it were. Even getting a nomination is a wonderful feeling; that people think of you for something. This year I was nominated for Resplendent Useage of the Scribed Word, for being Inspirational, for Smiling through with Exceptional Courage, for Living to Tell the Tale and for Photographer of the Year (although that was more for Jon!). 

I was nominated for all of that and came second for Smiling through with Exceprional Courage. Jon got an honourable mention for Photography. 

But the one nomination that touched me more than all the others was Anabelle being nominated for the Best Big Brother/Sister award. I wish I knew who was so thoughtful to acknowledge Anabelle becoming a big sister in 2011. 

Anabelle has a little brother, equally Alexander has a big sister. 

I already worry constantly how he will 'know' his sister. How she'll become an appropriate figure in his life despite him never meeting her. I often hear adults, whose parents lost children before them only talk about them as 'The baby that died before me'. I would be devastated if he only ever referred to her as the baby his parents lost before him.  I so desperately want him to call Anabelle his sister; refer to her as his sister who lives in Heaven., to know he is not an 'only child'. 

I know that a lot of this will be down to how we include Anabelle as a member of our family; how we mark and celebrate her birthday as a family each year, how we include her in our family Christmas traditions how we make her an integral part of our home with her photographs and daily mentioning her name. 

I want him to feel some sort of relationship and connection with her. I just don't know how you achieve that with someone you never met and have no memories of. 

How will he understand death? Will the whole concept of his sister not being here make him frightened of death at far too young an age? I'm aware every child goes through this phase, I'm also aware that Alexander will visit a cemetery far more than any child should;  at the same time I don't think we shouldn't take him.  He needs to be a part of visiting his sister too. Death has been part of his life from day one. There is no getting away from it; unless we do not include Anabelle and that can never happen. 

Sibling relationship in this house is going to be a minefield. 

Our family motto is now 'Love like starlight never dies'. I hope this will go some way to explaining why even in her absence his sister is important and so very loved by us; just as he is.  


Hannah said...

Your Alexander will remember his big sister when he'll be older Caz! I hope he will talk as lovingly about her as my Ella talks about her little sister Sterre, almost every day! He will understand death and not be afraid! He will comfort you when you feel sad and he will be proud to be Anabelle's little brother! I'm sure of that!
Lots of love! x

Anonymous said...

Perhaps in time it might be worth consulting a child psychologist or counsellor specialising in siblings after sibling death, in order to find the gentlest and most appropriate way forward for Alexander in the future. As a brother, Alexander can never feel exactly the same about Anabelle as you do, as you are Anabelle's parents and he is her brother, and his relationship with Anabelle will be different to yours, just as it would be were Anabelle here on earth. However as Anabelle lives in "physical" terms through you and what you do to celebrate her, he doesn't have opportunity to develop his own "mum and dad" free relationship with her like he would do naturally. Maybe a counsellor can suggest ways to let Alexander be a brother in his way, which may differ to yours as Anabelle's parents, just as it would always have done. He may not want to join in with the cementary visits when he is older but he may wish to make her a card for you to take. I do think it important that he is "allowed" to develop his own way of thinking about her, again, it is exactly the same as if Anabelle were here - you would let them "get on with it" themselves a lot of the time!! Being brother and sister that is. I hope all this makes sense. PS I don't think counsellors etc have all the "answers", in fact we could reject 100% of what they say, it's just that maybe even one or two suggestions out of 50 may be worth thinking about. Much love xxx

Caz said...

Thank you Anonymous 10:56 - very sound advice and makes a lot of sense. Especially giving him the space to think of her independently from what we do when he is older. In the future I will definitely look for advice on how to manage this delicate set up.

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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