Monday, January 23, 2012

She Was a Little Sister

Mondays are devoted to Madelynn.
To share the different aspects and experiences of losing a baby.

Today I want to share what is so easily forgotten.
She was a little sister.
Madelynn has a big sister, Janell, and a big brother, Nathaniel.
Two children who are now experiencing life without a little sister they so wanted and waited for.

As it gets closer to her birthday I start to recall those days leading up to and after as if it was yesterday.
There are so many things I would have done differently.
We chose not to have the kids come to the hospital to see Madelynn.
We were is such shock and I don't think we really thought it through. 
There was really no one there to walk us through it or to share things we might want to do.
We decided to have them come to the hospital Friday after school.
We told them there that their little sister and died and was now in Heaven with Grandma Ethel.
She was sick and couldn't live here with us.
It was the most awful thing I've ever had to do.
They were practically running in the room expecting to see their baby sister.
Poor Jason and I lost it.

Shortly after being home we received the pictures of Madelynn taken in the hospital.
I shared with Jason that I wanted to show the pictures to the kids that night.
There was one good picture we shared with them.
We talked about her and what she looked like.
We made each of them a picture to keep in their rooms.
Nathaniel calls her his "Sweet Angel"
I wrote that on her picture for him.
I found this frame in the closet.
I'm pretty sure it was a gift from my sister to me.
It once held a picture of us together.
How perfect a frame for Janell,
"Sisters: A sister is an angel that you can depend on."

Oh how I wish we would have had them come be with us and with her.
They were old enough to understand.
They needed to be a part of that experience of saying goodbye to their sister.
Kids are resilient.  They would have been okay.
It would have saved them from so many questions that continue to this day.
Nathaniel asks the most.
Such honest remarks like,
"Why does she have to by under the ground?
Can't you just lift up the stone?
I miss her.
I wish I could go to Heaven right now to see her!"

Through all that was going on in those first days home, I forgot to check in with my kids.
You see I had told Janell that when she went to school she didn't need to tell anyone what had happened.
I was concerned about her saying things like, "My baby sister died."
I was worried about what other kids would think and how to deal with it.
She was a second grader.
She went to school the Monday after Madelynn died.
Life continues on as normal.  Wrong!

I remember one day walking to school to pick Janell up from afterschool care.
I needed to get out of the house.
I walked in to pick her up.
The ASA teacher asks, "Where's the baby?"
Gulp, stunned, shocked, what do I say?
"There is no baby," I barely got that out.
I assumed they knew what happened.
I turned around and walked out.
I thought my 8 year old daughter had shared with them.

As we walked away I asked Janell why she hadn't told them.
She said, "because you told me not to say anything."
Oh what had I done?
Expecting a little girl to share adult news to adults.
At that moment I realized that I neglected her feelings of losing a sister and 
watching her mommy and daddy in such turmoil.

I kept her home with me the next day.
We went out to get her hair cut.
I asked her what she was thinking about everything.
Her thoughts, "I miss my sister."
I affirmed her in her feelings.  I missed her too.
I told her it was okay to talk about Madelynn.
She would always be her little sister now in Heaven.
I shared that I didn't want her to ever be afraid to talk about her and how she felt.

It has been almost two years.
It is still fresh in our hearts and minds.
The kids still talk about her and ask questions.
We drive by the cemetery every day on the way home from school.
Today there was a rainbow that looked like it was going right into the cemetery.
We drove in to drive by, "Madelynn's place," as Nathaniel called it.
We made sure her flowers were still there.

It doesn't get easier.
It's painful to think about the kids not having their little sister.
It's hard to hear the comments and questions that come from their young hearts.
I remind myself daily that it isn't just the parents that suffer.
They need extra loving on.
Extra hugs to know they are loved, safe, and protected.

Now when we go out and take pictures we take the "M" with us.
She is always included in a set of pictures.
She is always with us and with them.

The Red Basket is Madelynn's basket.

She was a little sister.

If you know a family that has experienced loss,
would you take moment to say a prayer for the brothers or sisters of that baby?
Maybe get them a little something with the baby's name or initial.
Something that tells them that they are important and their feelings are valued.
To remember that the baby was a little brother or sister.

Finding the blessings,

This post is linked up with Casey Wiegand.
Come see what others are sharing from their hearts.


  1. Thank yo, Denise. I know when I am finally allowed to share with my daughters, the lives of there brothers, this will be relevant insight. And as I walked through this and experienced it with my 16, now 17 year old step-son, it has been a beautil and bonding experience that helped healing to occur for both of us. Thank you so much, Denise for sharing your heart with us.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, that I'm a mom, I can't imagine what it must feel like to lose a precious baby. Janell and Nathaniel are so blessed to have you for their mom. How special for them to know that, not only can they share their feelings of loss, but their feelings will be validated! And it's so precious for their little sister to be part of their lives, even if it's not in a way anyone thought it would be. Thinking of and praying for all of you!

  3. Oops...I thought that link was to my facebook, apparently it's someone elses! So I'll just sign it 'Jenny Rowe' :)

  4. Wow. You write so beautifully on such a difficult topic. I can't even begin to imagine. Thank you for bringing Nathaniel to say hi to Charleigh in church yesterday. It brightened up my day and I loved seeing Charleigh smile at him. He would've been (and is) an amazing older brother :) such a kind heart. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Smile! =) Love you my sweet friend! Renee'