Of course, I'm sure it's a little of all those things and more, but I think the main reason is seeing my daughter struggle through her grief and I can't fix it for her. That kills me. It's horrible, absolutely horrible, to see your six year old daughter crying and sobbing for her baby sister and there's nothing I can do to bring her back. All I can do is sit there and hold her, rock her, stroke her hair, and tell her how sorry I am. I'd have to say that this is the worst part of my whole loss, watching Lexi's pain.
In the first few months she struggled and cried and acted out at times, but adamantly said no when I asked her if she wanted to go see a "feeling doctor." That's what I call a grief counselor. I explained to her it's not a doctor like she's used to, who will listen to her heart or check her ears or even give her a shot! Instead it's a doctor that will help her make her feelings feel better...if that makes sense. Well after the first couple months she seemed to get her little spark back and began to enjoy life again and get excited about those little things a six year old gets excited about, so I backed off the "feeling doctor" kick. She found peace in writing letters to Hailey in a special journal I bought her and going to visit Hailey's place and leaving little notes or flowers or presents she'd found on the playground at school. She was comforted at night sleeping with that life size, cardboard cutout of Hailey. (To each their own I guess!) So I thought she was doing okay. Of course I'm always watching her for signs of something that I may need to be concerned about, but all was going as well as could be expected...until this past couple weeks.
All of a sudden she's been crying everyday for Hailey. If something doesn't go right for her or if she gets frustrated or in trouble or whatever, she completely breaks down about how much she misses Hailey. Now I know some would say that's kind of a ploy to manipulate me, which I could see and I am aware of, however she went through that phase in the first few months and then when she realized that I'd be compassionate, but still firm about our rules, she backed off of using it as an excuse. But now she's back at it again, and even more so because she often cries for Hailey when all is going well, like the other day in the middle of her gymnastics class. So a few days ago I brought up the idea of the "feeling doctor" again and she came back with a resounding, "Yes Mom, I really think I need to see her now." I told her how proud I was of her for being aware of her feelings and when she may need some help to repair them. So now I'm working on getting her an appointment. Apparently she even told one of her friends, who told me, that she said she was going to see a "feeling doctor" to help her feel better about missing her sister so much.
Tonight, after a fun birthday party and then an evening at the park, she broke down again about how much she missed Hailey. We went up to her room and I just sat on her bed with her and held her and rubbed her hair and told her how very, very sorry I was that she had to go through this. She told me it wasn't fair that her baby sister had to go away. Then she looked at me and picked up that cardboard cutout of Hailey and squeezed it as hard as she could, started sobbing, and said, "Mom, sometimes when I miss her so much I just pick this up and hug it as hard as I can and close my eyes and pretend that it's really her." That's when my waterworks went on full force. (My emotions have been a lot more raw lately too...I'm sure there's some correlation there.) Anyways, she continued and said, "Sometimes I also wish it was in 3D, kind of like a doll so it really felt like her." I had to smile at the 3D comment...which probably came from the 3D movie she saw today, but then my heart broke into a million pieces for her.
How am I supposed to do this? I mean, here I am dealing with my own intense grief and on top of that having to watch my precious six year sob and hurt for the sister that she lost. This was her baby sister, her playmate, her "enemy," the one she read books to in the morning while I was still asleep, the one she taught how to do an "arabesque" ballet move, the one she visited in the hospital so many times, the one she played in the tub with every night, the one who was there with her every single day...the one who is now gone.
As I watch her I realize that she is very much like me with her emotions. She doesn't like to show them outwardly very often or cry in front of people, but inside she's always hurting. Hailey is always there on her mind throughout every minute of everyday...just like me. I read a great quote that a friend who also lost a child wrote on her blog. She said, "Please don't think that just because I am laughing or joking about my son, that I'm no longer grieving for him." For some reason I found that to be so profound, because it is exactly how I feel. I still laugh a lot and appear happy and upbeat, but inside I hurt, I cry, I ache for my baby girl. She is on my mind 24 hours a day. And I'm coming to find that to be true for Lexi too.
So for those of you who pray or believe in prayer, I just ask that you please, please remember my little Lexi in your prayers. She is such a good girl, who loved life and got excited about everything. I'm so scared that she's going to lose that to her grief. As a parent it is terrifying to think that I have the ability to ruin her if I'm not careful and help her deal with her grief in a healthy way. At this point the only one who can truly help me is God. I need Him right now. I need His guidance and wisdom and peace, as does Lexi.
Of course, I have about a million pictures of Lexi and Hailey together...I actually made a photo book for Lexi with all the pictures I had of the two of them. Anyways, I wish I could share them all, but I decided to share just some of the wonderful moments these two have shared together:
From The Beginning
Fun Times Together