Child grief is like jumping in and out of puddles…

"Child grief is like jumping through puddles..." - illustration ©Anna Jarvis

“Child grief is like jumping through puddles…” – illustration ©Anna Jarvis

You know how they say that child grief is a bit like jumping in and out of puddles, while for us grown ups, it’s more like wading through a muddy river… Well, Olivia seems to have jumped into one of those puddles a couple of days ago, and is still bouncing about in it. (She is 8, but she was only 11 months when Martin died, 7 1/2 years ago…)
I am not sure what triggered it, but I suspect it might be a combination of a lot of things: some sad news about somebody at her school, whose baby sadly died yesterday after being born prematurely, the gloomy weather, me having been away to speak at a couple of child bereavement conferences last week, and probably Alex and John arguing over nothing… Who knows?
She came to me, sobbing, saying that she thought it might be her fault that her daddy had wanted to die – or Alex’s. I explained again, that her daddy did not want to die, and that he did not die by suicide. That his heart had stopped beating, and that he couldn’t stop it from happening. How he loved her very much and how he would’ve wanted to see her grow up. How he did not want to leave her, and how it wasn’t her fault that he died. So hard to see our little ones go through this…
She asked how people get heart attacks, and what exactly happened. I tried to explain…
Then I told her some stories about her daddy, and how he used to call her ‘my little princess’. She got out her little bottle of ashes and her Upsy Daisy doll (which Martin had bought for her for her first birthday, but never had a chance to give to her), and read a book about her daddy, which his police colleagues had kindly made for her. She tried on the t-shirt he can be seen wearing in the picture of him holding her shortly after her birth…
So upsetting that I can’t fix this. But it’s good to know that she is not frightened to talk about him and ask questions.
Sending big hugs to you all.
You know, as happy as we are, we still struggle sometimes. And that’s okay.
It’s okay to be sad, but it’s okay to be happy too…

Upsy Daisy (bought by Martin for Olivia's 1st birthday) with some of his ashes - November 2016

Upsy Daisy (bought by Martin for Olivia’s 1st birthday) with some of his ashes – November 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olivia wearing her late daddy's t-shirt in November 2016, now aged 8.

Olivia wearing her late daddy’s t-shirt in November 2016, now aged 8.

Martin with Olivia in April 2008, shortly after her birth.

Martin with Olivia in April 2008, shortly after her birth.