My mom died back in early July and since then, Jesse's been very vocal and verbal about his grief. He talks about his Nana almost daily, and cherishes a blue, shell-shaped bowl she made and a framed photo of her.
His twin brother, Seth, has said little about Nana's death—but that seemed natural to us since Jesse is the family motor mouth and Seth usually deals with his feelings by crying about seemingly-unrelated issues or drawing.
But today, Seth fell off the stoic bandwagon. In the playground after school, instead of doing his usually galloping romp around with his buddies, he plopped down next to a tree and stared into the sky.
For many, many minutes. Maybe 20 minutes.
A long time for a seven-year-old.
When two mom-friends approached Sethie, wondering why he was sitting out playtime, he began weeping. "I miss my Nana," he sobbed.
(Thank you mom-friends, for hugging my little guy).
He wept all the way home (I know this second-hand, via our babysitter--so my stomach is currently knotted up with guilt because I'm still in work), asking some unanswerable questions of poor Juana:
"Is this what life is?"
"Mommy only has her two sisters now; will Mommy and Daddy die and then we'll only be the three brothers?"
(I'm crying a bit just thinking about him trying to ponder such an unfathomable topic.)
In our building lobby, James, a neighbor's child, came up and spontaneously hugged Seth and asked him why he was so sad.
He began crying anew. "It's my Nana, she died and I can't stop thinking about her. My heart hurts."
Our nice neighbor mom scooped Seth up and brought him to her apartment for a playdate, which seemed the perfect antidote to his attack of grief.
I can't leave work just yet, but my mind is with my boy, enfolding him in my arms and telling him it will all be just fine.
But I can't alter the unalterable: Losing those you love is part of life, a lousy, crummy part—and I can't take my little boy's pain away.
I can only help him walk through the emotional fire.