Saturday, June 28, 2008

Red noses, red eyes

Yesterday was Red Nose Day. Every year I'll buy a pen or make a donation, but this year was different. Because on Monday one of E's little friends at family daycare was buried. He died of SIDS and that is the cause that Red Nose Day funds go to.
I couldn't let the day pass without doing something - neither could R, our carer. She hasn't slept properly since L died. I guess we just were looking for something, anything that could provide some kind of outlet for what we feel at the moment (her even more so than me - she loves all the children that she looks after like they are her own).
And so on Thursday we hit upon the idea of having just a small afternoon tea the following day - coffee and cake at R's house when all the parents arrived after work to pick up the children. We would all gather, eat a little, have a chat and make a donation to the Red Nose Day cause.
We let the boy's parents know we were doing this, and collecting money in memory of L, and they decided to come along.
Their grief is raw.
And how I admire them for getting up and coming out and visiting the place where, just weeks ago, their little boy used to be looked after, and seeing the other children who will grow up and play and laugh when their son will not.
They sat quietly at times while the rest of us talked about work, kids, daily life. But they also joined in, saying things like "L used to do that".
I wonder how I would react if I were in their shoes - would I have met up with the parents of the other kids at daycare if I had buried a child four days ago? I suspect I would not. And yet I realised as we talked that those poor people must go on, they have to remember that L was here. He was here. We knew him, we adored him. We will not forget him. Perhaps when you have lost a child who could not yet speak well, you feel an even stronger need to cling to his presence on this earth ... I'm not sure why I think that; maybe because words inform so much of what we perceive as individual character?
Arriving at R's place we all gave the parents a hug and said how sorry we were. The words are pitifully inadequate yet still we all, of course, offered them. There were lots of tears, but there was laughter too - it's hard to articulate, but in that kitchen there was almost this sense of solidarity, of a quiet kindness that goes beyond words. About 15 of us went, we all lingered, leaving only when the kids were ready to be taken home to bed.
To just be there is all we can do.
Last night I couldn't sleep for thinking about the pain those lovely people have had to endure, but today I feel a kind of warmth when I think of the dozen or so people who just came, looked some fellow parents in the eye, offered a hug and then sat and chatted with them.
It was only a small gesture, but I hope it has helped them ... if even just a little.


Juliette said...

I too had red eyes after reading your post.
My Talen is 18mths old,
I couldnt imagine life with out him.

You, the carer and the other parents did a wonderful thing!!
Alot of people turn away from others grief, you all embraced them and showed you cared!!

daysgoby said...

I've never heard of Red Nose day. What an incredible thing you did.

I'm so sorry. How is E taking it?

kurrabikid said...

E keeps asking "where's L?" because they were good little buddies. We answer that L has "gone away" but now he wants to know where. I think all the kids realise something has gone on, especially since there has been so many years and so much mention of L's name.

Melody said...

How lucky we are to have our children. THe death of a child is the worst. The absolute worst.

Stomper Girl said...

Good on you for doing this, I think people get so scared of grief that they hide away from the grief-stricken and you guys reached out and helped them, it must have meant so much to them.

kim at allconsuming said...

I've been thinking of this family ever since you first posted about them.

I think what you guys did was just wonderful.

I can not even comprehend their strength at being able to come along.

Go read Sweet|Salty - it gives the most generous insight into the mind and life of a mother who has lost a child.

Strange how things can been so maudlin and so fortifying at the same time.

kim at allconsuming said...

Oh, and she says - Kate at Sweet|Salty that is - some wonderful things in terms of explaining to her 3 year old where his little brother has gone - he's with the stars is one.