By: Robyn Busekrus
Sibling grief is different than a parent’s grief. The child we lost was meant to be their buddy. The one who was going to be swinging with them, exploring our creek in the yard, and playing chase together. As a parent, we grieve the loss of another child that we were adding to our family to love and nurture. As we continue through life as a family, we will process our grief together.
It may look different, but it feels the same.
The boys are very open in discussing our son Hope. Almost daily, one of our boys mentions something about him. I am glad they have an awareness that it is okay to talk about grief. Drew is so understanding about my grief as a parent. He knows when I see another baby, it can be hard. I can honestly say there is no jealousy. It can be described as an ache in my heart for our son. I choose to be happy for others, despite the grief. Right after we lost Hope, I took the boys to Michael’s to get a picture frame for one of the pictures of Hope I wanted to display. When we were looking for a frame, a baby started to cry. Drew looked at me with this “Oh No!” expression, out of care and concern. I remember looking at him and saying, “Drew, I know you care and appreciate your concern. We do have to be happy for others even though our hearts hurt.” Drew’s response was, “It’s okay, Mom.”
Since we have been open about our loss, that has helped our sons process through grief. But it doesn’t make it easier.
One night we were driving home and Luke said, “I wish Hope could come back.”
“I wish that everyday,” I responded.
Everyone processes grief differently. Our way may not work for others. It is a personal choice. One of the ways the boys remember our son is through little things they do. We were up on the swings in our yard and Drew stepped away for a few minutes and went to one of our trees. He said, “Mom, come here.” There on the tree I see “Hope” carved onto the side. Drew took a stick and carved his name on the tree.
Another special moment was one night, Luke said, “Mom you need a tattoo.”
He said, “Let me give you a tattoo.”
I had to laugh because I thought, Luke giving a tattoo? What will this entail?
Luke took a magic marker and wrote, “Hope you are the best brother ever. Love, Mom” in orange marker.
It is also important to count those joyous moments in the midst of grief.
The boys were playing in the creek the other day and I thought, “What if he would be here?” He would be the last one to climb over the logs and they would be helping him on the way. I can’t live in the what ifs, even though they do cross my mind.
Some books that have been good resources for our boys are: The Invisible String by Patrice Karst and Ethan’s Butterflies by Christine Jonas-Simpson and Karen Friis. Ethan’s Butterflies was sent to us by a sweet family friend, who is a labor and delivery nurse. When she found out about our loss, she messaged asking if she could send a copy of the book to our boys. Her message said, “I give these to my patients who are on the same journey as you.”
I truly appreciated her kindness to think of a tool to help our boys with grief.
They sometimes reference the book saying, “Mom, remember in Ethan’s Butterflies…” I am glad they have a connection to the story. As our sweet nurse friend said this is a journey. It may not be the one we have wanted, but we are going to journey on as a family.
Robyn Busekrus is a mom, wife, educator, and writer who makes her home in Washington, MO. Losing her third son Hope in the second trimester of pregnancy, was an unexpected part of her life’s journey.
Robyn’s blog www.robynsnestofhope.com chronicles the journey of loss and hope. Appreciating the little things in life, while holding onto faith each day is the message she wants to share with others. Her interests include reading, home decorating, vintage markets, and community service.