November 26, 2012

For Her Sake

Leo had been crying for thirty-five minutes from his pack n play. And not just those tiresome whiny sounds, where more drool leaves the mouth than tears leave the eyes. These were the shrieking, new upper teeth cries, the kind of noise that can be downright debilitating, sending your heart into your throat and your hands into your ears.

I was folding laundry to distract myself. Stella was quietly building a fort. It was 8:30am yesterday morning and we were hunkering down for the long haul.

It wasn’t until he finally fell asleep that I looked over at Stella to initiate some sort of 'we made it' hug. She seemed particularly downcast, more troubled than I’ve seen her in the past. Her head hung low, her eyes staring downwards at her hands as she shuffled her fingers over a small piece of broken balloon, the kind of listless fidgeting you do when you’re down.

It’s hard listening to Leo cry for that long, isn’t babe.

It’s not about that Dad. She says it so matter of factly, so confidently, as if she's three going on fifteen.

It’s about her, she said, pointing to the picture of Margot on our mantle.

I wish I had a sister.

It was the first time I remember her being sad about Margot for her sake. Her despondence wasn’t for our sake and it wasn’t an excuse for having a rough day. I could see the internalization happening in her eyes, the strange feeling of loss, of what could have been.

I pulled her close and we started crying together.

I love you sweetie.

I love you too Daddy, she whispered back.

Will you help me remember Margot? I asked.


Will you help me remember Margot? She asked.



Missy said...

Beautiful and sad for Stella too. Hope Leo gets to feeling better soon!

Mama Bear said...

I'm glad to be reading. And remembering Margot.

Em said...

It wrenches my heart while simultaneously warming it when my kids remember and miss Eva.

Caroline said...

Just as Em said - this made my eyes fill with tears for all that should have been for your family, yet just warms my heart to know that Margot's family loves her so much - and always will.

Hope's Mama said...

Oh goodness. Somedays, babies crying aside, you think you're doing ok with this grief thing then BOOM, your preschooler or toddler goes and says something profound like that. And you feel like you're back at square one all over again. Oh Stella, you precious girl. Your wisdom astounds me.

You guys do such a wonderful job of raising all three of your kids. For weathering the storm with Stella, for easing the teething woes of Leo and for keeping the memory of Margot burning bright, and every other little thing in between.


Brooke said...

Oh my word. Breaks my heart.

Pieces of Me said...

I'm welling up from the love exhibited in your anecdote. You guys are clearly doing a wonderful job parenting your children and integrating sweet Margot. Keep up the good work Daddy.

Renel said...

What I thought when I read this was. I'm so glad she thinks about Margot. My second thought was: good for her for being selfish. I know that most of the time I'm so sad about Camille's death, sometimes angry. But the few times when it's all about me and my loss, my body, my time, my wrinkles because grief gnawed on my face, those selfish thoughts... I feel guilty for those ones. But you know... Stella wants something she doesn't have. There is so much sadness around Margot's death, good for her foR being like: this sucks for ME! I'm glad also that you can both remember Margot together because on of the things that breaks my heart a little is that it will not always be a gripping loss for our children as it is for us. Kids have the capacity to grow and move on in a way we won't ever be able to as parents. So for now I'm happy that you can remember together.

Gwen Jackson said...

Remembering Margot with you. I'm glad that Stella could articulate how she felt. So glad you were there, Josh, to share in that moment with her. Hugs.

surfjams said...

What a gift you have given Stella! For her to have that awareness, but find those words and match them to her feelings, to express them so clearly and to let herself be comforted and share the sadness and the remembrance... All of that is no small deal for such a young child to do, and I KNOW she can only do it because you guys have made such a beautiful thing of your grief, and done so amazing at putting words to it and modeling that for her.

Christina said...

Wow I gasped out loud when I read this. Beautiful yet so sad. Glad she remembers M, though!

Unknown said...

I'm crying now, too, Josh.
Margot will always be remembered.
Thanks for allowing us to not forget her with you.

Groves said...

Perfect, yes: "Thanks for allowing us to not forget her with you." That's right, Holly and Ddog.

Stella, you have always struck me as an old soul. A very lovely old soul. You come by it honestly, too.

Margot in my mind to stay,


Amanda Callen said...

And tears. Thanks for sharing Josh. Oh the way you help her grieve... as she needs to and when she wants to. And how she helps you....

Mary Beth said...

So beautiful. That Stella, she just nailed it, huh? Remembering Margot with you guys.

Laura Beck said...

heart wrenching and touching. my, this is such a complex world/life. as a friend put it once- "beautifully brutal."
Stella is amazing.... all three of your children are. xo

Tash said...

Tears Josh. Your Stella sure is special, all of your children are.
Remembering Margot June with you always.

Dennis Jackson said...

Josh & Kari. I was planning a retreat today and had a "get acquainted" question - "tell us about your family." Couldn't stop thinking about our 6 grands and the one I miss most today . . . Remembering her a ton today. Holding her in my thoughts.

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