Sunday, August 12, 2012

Little Boys Don't Understand, but They Do

I have been through some tough times in my life, to include life-threatening, scary situations.  Nothing, however was as bad as the day Brodie had surgery last year.  Worst. day. ever. for me, still.

I would say that I now have had my second worst.  

Lying in bed Saturday morning, I was awake early before the boys, who were still snoozing in my bed.

My mind was racing.  What would I tell them about the night before, the night Nanny died?  I had left in a hurry and not made it back before they went to bed.  I told Doug not to say anything to them.

As I watched them in their peaceful sleep, all I could think is how poignant it was that as long as they slept, and as long as I didn't say anything, it was if nothing had changed.  In their minds, Nanny was still alive and at her house.  

For a moment, I didn't want to say anything.  I wanted to keep some shred of the past the way it was, the way it had been, with her here.

I have said before that she and I were very close.  It was just the same with my boys.  Since birth, she has kept each of them almost every day.  Even in the summer time, when I was off, I would take them there a couple of mornings each week, so I could clean house, run errands, etc.

She ADORED them.

She thought they were brilliant, handsome, and sweet.

She catered to their every need and want.  She let them take over her living room, television,     and her entire day was centered around them.

She kept them well fed, cooking numerous specialties to try to get them to "eat something".  She made her own special mix of Koolaide flavors, customized to their favorite tastes. 

She kept them clean and neat, often bathing them more than once during the time they were at her house.

She read to them, taught them to write their names, and to color, draw, and she was their playmate in all sorts of activities.

She and Blayd had a special connection, because he would pile up in the chair with her for long periods of time while Brodie ran around and played.

But she loved Brodie, too and even after she was sick, would still try to help him with his endless projects.

One of the last clear statements I heard her make in these last few difficult weeks, was when I heard her speak over them saying, "You are perfect.  Perfect."

She kept them up until she absolutely could not anymore.  In fact, the last day she kept them, was the day before she told us she was sick again.  She had held out as long as she could.  And from then on, she didn't get out of her chair much.

So as they began to stir Saturday morning, Brodie looked up and said, "Mommy, where were you last night?  I waited and waited for you."  I immediately felt sick at my stomach.

Doug walked in and I looked over at Brodie and said, "Well, I had to go check on Nana and Lynn.  Nanny died last night."  Brodie said loudly, "SHE DIED!?"  Blayd responded, "She died?  Oh poor Nanny!"

They didn't really get it, but they did.  I was trying follow the recommendations to simply answer questions and not offer lots of potentially confusing additional information.

Brodie asked me why she died and I told him her body stopped working.  He asked where Nanny was.  I told him her body was at the funeral home.  He asked if she would be buried and wanted to know where.

We went downstairs for breakfast and he said, "I can't believe she died."  He wasn't crying, it was just as if he was in disbelief and didn't really know what to say or how to react.  

After a while, he looked thoughtful and said, "But Nanny is Lynn and Nana's Mom."  He looked like he wanted to cry.  I told him it was okay to cry, but he held it in.

We got to Nanny's and he wanted to go right in her room, to see what was (or wasn't) there.  He seemed satisfied that she was really gone, and asked again about where she was.  I reminded him that her body was at the funeral home.  He looked bothered, so I told him since she had died, she was no longer in her body.  He asked me if she was in Heaven and I said, "Yes.  And she is just fine."  

He didn't say much more about it for the rest of the day.  He got busy working on an art project for Nanny.  Blayd, on the other hand, walked around saying, "Nanny died.  Don't worry, Mommy, we fix Nanny."  

It was heartbreaking.

Mother says it breaks her heart that the boys won't remember Nanny, and how much she loved them.

I think they will remember.

I will be sure of it.

I am a little apprehensive about taking them to visitation and the funeral, but I think it will be okay.  I think it will help Brodie finalize the pieces of this process in his mind.  I am going to have the Canadian take them out if it doesn't go well.  What else can I do?  After all, death is a part of life, and even now, Nanny is still teaching us.


  1. I'm so sad to hear this Kerri...let me know if you need anything. And I think the boys absolutely will remember her!

  2. I love the pic of you all. I wish I would have known her - what a truly amazing woman.

  3. I was wondering how your boys would take it because I know they were very close to her. You're doing great at explaining what they need to know, without confusing or scaring them.

    Celia said the cutest things and asked so many questions when my grandmother died. She talked about it for about a week, and then just sort of accepted it and got on with life. Kids are so innocent and understand things in such a literal way.

    You are doing great, Mama. The hardest part is probably keeping yourself together in front of the kids. And I know your boys will remember Nanny. They have a lot of memories of her, and they're old enough that they will always remember her :).

  4. It's so sad & such a hard thing for the little ones to figure out.

  5. My mascara is running! Love you all XOXO's to each of you!

  6. Libby was almost 3 when Drew's grandmother passed away. She asked some questions, but not as many as I thought she would. She, too, accepted it. But, months later she would ask about Sara and she still does when I least expected it. Sometimes she'll even just announce out of the blue, "Sara is in heaven with Jesus." And my heart is greatful that she understands and is okay with it. And you are right, death is part of life and you are doing a wonderful job of letting B and b go through the process.

  7. I am so very sorry to read this.

    She sounds like a lovely, compassionate and wonderful woman!

    Just from reading your blog I suspect you are exactly like her.

    Sending prayers your way.


Kerri says:

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! I LOVE reading your comments.

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