People always say that every child is different and I know that is true even with my own. They all handle things differently and they have SUCH different personalities.
My 4yr old son, I have been told, has a personality much like his Uncle Brandon did (Nathan's brother), so it didn't surprise anyone when, upon being told of his Great Grandmother's passing, he went and hid behind the chair in his room. He didn't want to talk to us. He seemed very mad at us. We just let him have his space and eventually he came out and seemed okay even though he still didn't want to talk about it at all. He seemed fairly normal at the funeral and at the events surrounding it. Since then, he has been very matter of fact about it, even arguing with my 3 yr old who is convinced that her Gran Gran is calling her at night to see how she is doing (and I am not telling her any different. Who am I to know whether she is or isn't being comforted in that way right?). I just figured that Cooper had dealt with this pain in his own way and that he would talk to me if he needed to.
Tonight, he needed to apparently.
As I was saying our bedtime prayers with the kids, it was Cooper's turn, but he didn't start. He just sat there looking straight ahead. I prompted him to pray by saying, "Coop, it's is your turn." He still just sat there. Then he quickly looked up at me and said...
Coop: Guess what?
Coop: It has been 4 weeks since Gran-Gran died.
SILENCE... I was so shocked that he even knew that. It floored me that he had been keeping track and in that short sentence, all of his pain and hurt that he had been keeping inside came rushing out in the look on his face. I went over and sat down next to him because I could tell he was about to cry. He said...
Coop: How did she die, Mom?
Me: Well, baby, she lived a very long life and that night when she went to sleep. While she was asleep, her heart and lungs just stopped working and she went to be with Jesus. She didn't hurt and she doesn't hurt now.
Coop: (very mad and crying now) Well... I MISS HER and I still love her and I want her here, on earth.
This is when Mama was crying too and just holding him and letting him get it all out. WOW. That was all I could think. I was so sad for him and how his little heart was breaking, but I was SO PROUD of him at the same time. He was communicating this with me; letting it out. "What a big boy!" was what I kept thinking as I cried with him and his head was buried in my chest.
Me: Cooper, I am so happy that you trusted me with your feelings. I love Gran too and so do ALL of us. She was a wonderful Grandmother and we are so thankful that we knew her and we WILL see her again in heaven.
Coop: But she won't be at my birthday party in June...
So, needless to say, I have been crying most of the night. He is asleep now and wasn't crying when I tucked him in. As sad as this whole conversation was to have, I still am just so thankful that I got to have it with him; that he HAD the conversation with someone.
I LOVE learning about my children. It is always such a great event to me when something like this conversation happens and I get a CLUE as to how to better parent them, individually. He just needs time. That is how he deals. The fact that he knew how many weeks it had been, tells me that he was processing it all this time. He didn't seem to be avoiding it or suppressing it maybe, but just ever-so-slowly allowing himself to deal with it until tonight when he obviously was ready to talk about it and ask questions and to let it hurt for a bit.
Thank You Lord that you are our comforter. Please comfort my little boy's heart as he deals with this pain. Give him peace tonight as he rests.
Thank You that you give us real glimpses of our children in ways that we NEED to see them, so that we can be your hands and feet to them while they are in our care. I am so grateful for those 15 minutes that I spent on the floor with Cooper today and I pray that I will never be so busy that I brush over them in the future. I love You.