Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Heart soar

Yesterday, while driving home, the LGBB was doing her regular singing of nothing in particular.

"Whez my sister?" I suddenly heard. I didn't answer because I didn't know if I had heard correctly. And then, "Muuuum? Whez my sister gone?"

I braced myself and headed in to the conversation, there was nothing else for it. "Where's your sister? Your sister Ella?" I repeated, clarifying for her as well as me what she had asked.
"Mmm," she confirmed.
"Well, Ella was a baby. She was Mummy and Daddy's baby... just like Lauryn is Mummy and Daddy's baby too," I said. I glanced in the mirror and saw her sitting purse-lipped and solemn, staring straight ahead down the road. I pressed on, trying to think of the simplest way to put it.

"She died."

The car fell silent. It seemed to stop Lolly's curiosity. She doesn't know what death is yet. We saw a bird once at the door of a shopping centre. It had been stabbed and a murderous pool of blood had seeped out from underneath it. Before I could avert her eyes, she had pointed and said Look, the birdie's asleeeeep, awww. And I said, Yes, on a red blanket. It was enough that time.

And the simplicity of those two words was enough too. This time. It reminded me again the importance of a solid base with other adults around Steve and me, when she asked me out of the blue. They too have a very important role to play in terms of rounding off her understanding. It will be hard for those who can't even acknowledge Ella to us. We'll see how they go when the LGBB starts asking them the tough questions. Perhaps I ought to forewarn them that they've already started. And I'm excited, really. Even though it was very confronting, I was extremely proud of her for even forming the question and having comprehension of it. I was caught off guard. But my soul lifted at the same time. Oh that's right, I remembered, we have somebody to share Ellanor with. Her sister. Her dear, rock solid, in tune little sister.

God, I think I'm going to suck at this explaining thing. I simply have to trust that the words will come to me each time she brings up new questions. And that I will find the strength not only to explain it but also support her fully as the realisation hits her too.

Her sister died. That's a reality I'm not sure I'm ready for her to face. But it's not up to me.

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