Saturday, November 1, 2008

Aoife is working through this so hard. It slightly breaks my heart.
In the past week it has probably been eight times, either at dinnertime candle-lighting or when she first gets out of bed, and she says it: I'm sad because I miss Charlotte. I want Charlotte to come back and live with us.
First, you must recall that she can't say her "l" sound, so we hear Char-yitte. Which is so cute. Next, you must imagine how little this all makes sense to her.
Last night, after a wonderful, cozy evening of trick-or-treating, she worded it perfectly, in two-year-old lingo: What does Charlotte mean?
What does Charlotte mean? I don't get this, Mama. I don't understand what this all means. Who is this person you are talking about? I don't know what it means to be dead. I don't know what you're talking about when you say I have a sister, because I've never seen one. How can you be born and then not here?
I tried to explain to her, again, to make it as much on her level as I could. A baby had grown, tucked in Mimi's belly, and we were so excited to be her parents. I painted these stars on the nursery ceiling for Charlotte, we set up this crib that you sleep in for Charlotte, we bought her clothes and planned to bring her home to be our daughter.
But something very sad happened, and Charlotte died, which means that her body didn't work anymore. So we couldn't bring her home, and we were very sad about that.
Yet here we sit, under those very stars, and we remember that tiny baby who might have grown, and if she had grown, she would be bigger than you now.
I am lucky, she says, her eyes half closing as she lies in my lap, curled under a knitted blanket. I can look up while I'm sleeping and see Charlotte.
Yes, I tell her, yes you can.
I feel so sorry for her, missing her big sister. I mean not so much now, because she's just grappling with what that means. But she may never have a sister to live with, and I wish she could have a big sister to be there for her. I feel sorry for her later.
I miss you, too, Charlotte.


Meg said...

That was so sweet. I think you explained it perfectly. Maybe she will have a living sister someday and SHE can been the big sister and the compassion she lives with from you and your husband will enable her to be the best big sister ever!

Birdies Mama said...

oh Carol,

how lovely you explained why Charlotte isn't here in body to little Aiofe. How beautifully innocent she took in what you said in her sweet little way.

just gorgeous.
you inspire me in so many ways.