My oldest daughter, Audrey, is 11 years old and was recently given an assignment at school to write a personal narrative. One of the options was to write about a day that changed her life. I asked her if she would be willing to share her story with all of you as my guest blogger!
It was THE worst day ever!!!!! Well, it started ok, but it went downhill QUICKLY. It was July 14, 2017, and me and my sister were going to Arizona for an awesome vacation with my cousins (they had just moved there).
We were going to go to the Grand Canyon and go camping. It was going to be amazing. My new brother, Andrew, was just born a few days ago. He was born 3 months early so he was a little sick. That’s why I was hesitant about leaving him, but I decided to go on the vacation. THAT WAS A BIG MISTAKE!!!! We were headed to Arizona. We were having a great time until we pulled over on the side of the road. My aunt was on the phone and said for me and my sister to get out of the car for a minute. We got out of the car, and my dad was on FaceTime. He told us that we had to turn around and come home. My brother wasn’t doing so good, and there was a very, very small chance of him living.
So, we were headed back. It was pretty much tears the whole way (me included). Once we got to the hospital everyone was waiting in the waiting room for us. Everyone started crying, and it was sad the rest of the night. After we waited for a few minutes my parents came in and brought us back to see Andrew. I had regretted leaving SO bad at that point. I was so upset, partially because he was my brother and I was going to lose him in the next few hours. Also because me and my family were so excited and so was everyone else that knew about him. Then, the rest of the family came in, and we all started crying and loving on each other. There was a waterfall of tears from everyone. I’m pretty sure I lost about half of my fluids that night. I was going to miss him sooooo much. About an hour later my mom got to hold him, but he was still hooked up to a bunch of tubes.
After she got to hold him for a while the doctor came in the room. He said that we could take off all of the tubes hooked up to Andrew. He’d have about 30 minutes to live, and he could die comfortably. The other option was to leave all the tubes on. He would have a little bit longer to live, but then he would die with all of the stuff on him. Can you guess what they chose???? If you guessed to take all tubes off, then you are right. They unhooked everything, and my mom and dad took turns holding him. During the whole time, everybody sang songs that they would sing before bedtime like Jesus loves me. Now it’s hard for me to hear those songs without crying. After a little bit he passed away, and then I finally got to hold him. He was so soft and adorable. I never wanted to let him go. It has been horrible ever since that night.
Since that horrible day, everything in life is harder and can end up sad, but I just have to trust that God had a plan for Andrew. I also believe that Andrew is in a better place now, and that he isn’t sick or hurting. Even though we miss him so much and we doubt sometimes, we still trust God and will love Andrew forever.
Guest Blogger: Audrey Chase
As a parent of a grieving child, I believe there are several insights that can be gained from Audrey’s narrative:
Children understand more than we sometimes think they do.
I knew that Andrew’s death had a huge effect on Audrey, because we talk and cry together regularly. I was, however, surprised that she was able to recount every detail of that night. Talking to your children when you have experienced a difficult loss or stressful situation is so very important. It’s easy to wonder if they are even thinking about it. If they don’t outwardly show their feelings then you worry about bringing up the subject and upsetting them. What we have learned is they are always thinking about it, just like you are. It will pay off to be open and honest about how everyone feels.
Children emulate their parents’ response to grief.
Audrey has been listening to everything Peter and I have said since Andrew’s death. This is apparent to me from the last paragraph of her narrative. Children hear and see how we, as parents, respond to difficult situations. Every trial and tribulation we face is an opportunity to show Jesus through our actions and guide our children in their own responses to difficulties that life will surely bring.
I am so proud of my daughter in the way she was able to describe this very difficult experience and for her courage in sharing. This is just another example of how God is “working all things for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).