Saturday, August 30, 2008

Maggie's baby sister Allie

Maggie is talking a lot about Allie these days. She tells people about her "baby sister Allie" being in "heaben." She asks me questions about Allie and she is very focused on things Allie liked. She has picked up on the fact that being in Heaven is sad, so, she tilts her head and sweetly answers "in heaben" when asked where Allie is.

At night, she's been going to bed listening to "Allie's music." This just started about a week ago. She's been struggling to go to bed this summer, and loves listening to this music. Since we started it, she has been staying in her room. She sings and plays in her bed, but she's in her room and not crying.

Recently, Maggie asked me if Allie was real. That was a tough question. Doesn't it make sense though for her to ask this type of question? She's never met Allie. Only seen her in pictures. What she doesn't like is to see a picture of Allie with someone that she knows in her life. "That's MY GAGA." "Well, that's Allie's GaGa too." "Oh, no, Mama, that's MY GAGA." You get the point. It really bothers her.

There is a little girl named Allie (not sure if that is the actual spelling) in the classroom older than Maggie's. On the playground, Allie's teacher called out for Allie to come and line up with the other classmates. No sooner had she said those words, my daughter was tugging at her shirt. "No, Allie not here. She in HEABEN."

The other thing she is asking me a lot about lately is "my own daddy." She wants to know all about my dad. She asks me his name, "Mama, what your own daddy name?" every morning on the way to school. This has become our morning conversation. She knows he was sick and is now with Allie. When I picked her up about a week ago, she immediately launched back into our conversation from the morning. "Mama, I don't like your own daddy. I like my own daddy." I, of course, explained to her that she didn't know my dad but would love him very much because he's her grandpa. She asked again his name, and when I told her Jerry Lawson, she exclaimed, "Lawson like my GaGa!"

It's hard to navigate these conversations. I'm truthful with her and always explain as best as I think I can. She of course doesn't comprehend what happened to Allie (shoot, do any of us really?). I make sure to tell her that Allie had leukemia, and not just because she was "sick." I don't ever want her to think that she will go to Heaven like Allie if I tell her she's sick. She did ask me the other day if she would have leukemia. I couldn't help the quick NO!! that I immediately shouted out before I calmly explained to her that she would never have leukemia. Ever.


Chas said...


You don't know me, I'm just a stranger, but I've followed your story for years. Your Maggie reminds me a lot of my Ali. My daughter Alison is 5 and a half years old. I have never had a good relationship with my mother and because of that, Alison does not know her. Alison has seen my mother a few times, but the last time was when she was about 20 months old. When she was around 2.5 she asked me "Mom, who's your mommy?" She was very perceptive in figuring out that we spent a lot of time with her dad's mom and dad, but not with mine. I started out by telling her that my mother's name was "such and such" and answered her questions about why we didn't spend time with her. It is very difficult to explain it in terms that they understand, but you are doing the right thing with Maggie. The answers won't always be easy, and she won't understand it all now, but she will. She is a very smart little girl. My Alison still asks me questions all the time about my mother, but she now understands why we don't visit her.

My thoughts and prayers are with you as September comes and goes. I know it doesn't help the pain of losing Allie, but you and Andrew, in my opinion, are an inspiration. You are making a difference in this world, and that is incredible. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of your family and that sweet baby girl that you shared with the world. Thank you for that.

Debbie said...

My sweet sweet Maggie and Allie! Maggie is so thoughtful and she will help keep Allie's memory alive and well. They are both lucky to have a mommy like you that will tell them the truth and keep memories alive. Love you!

The six foot tall red head... said...

Only one of my three kids remembers my dad. He died just over 5 years ago from lung cancer. My youngest, Molly, was born the year after and my son, Matthew, was two weeks away from his first birthday when dad died. They ask me questions about him all the time, too. My 10 year old will sometimes chime in with something that she remembers about him and then they get mad that she knew him and they didn't. My brother in law and his wife lost their first son three days after his birth (he was a preemie). Benjamin's birthday and 8th anniversary were just two weeks ago so we were talking about how hard it is to believe that it has been 8 years. My kids were asking a lot of questions about how a baby can die and they found it hard to believe that he was born before their other cousins. It is a really tough place to navigate. One thing my husband and I have been trying to do is to be honest with them about life and death, that death is a natural part of life. We may not like it when death comes but it is something that we need to deal with as best we can. Little ones, like Maggie, have such a hard time dealing with these abstract concepts because they are so literal. You and Andrew are doing a really good job of letting her know who Allie was and why she isn't physically with you anymore.

Sending my best wishes your way,

Anonymous said...

We have the same conversations about Grandpa Joe. Lucy will say she only has one Poppa, and Bailey will correct her and say "No, we HAD another grandpa, but he died while I was in mom's tummy".

Maybe I'm biased, but I think having a close relative who has died, while difficult to navigate when they are Maggie's age, can ultimately be something that makes children so much more sensitive and aware. While of course I wish that my kids didn't come to know about death at such a young age, I think it makes them more understanding and aware than they would otherwise be.

Whenever we mention Allie (because as you know, she's known around this house!) Bailey will often say "Allie died from cancer like our Grandpa Joe". I think it helps them understand your family in a way that they wouldn't necessarily be able to otherwise.

Rhandi said...

This is my first comment but I have been following your story. I lost my second child, Andrew, shortly after his birth. My daughter, Allyson, was only 20 months at time. Allyson just turned 4 years old this week. She has always talked about her little brother but in the past few weeks she has really been asking the questions. We even sat down last week and watch his birth video together. I love how you have kepts Allie's memory alive. You are such an amazing mother and truly an inspiration.

I will be thinking of you during September. I know how truly hard it is and wish there was something to ease the pain.

3fishies said...

You know Maggie's at that age where she is beginning to piece togther the puzzle. No longer do they just take what you say, they try to process it, but THANK GOD they are still innocent enough they can't quite put it all together. She's growing up. She's so smart and inquisitive! And that is a good thing.

My thoughts are always with you in September...Wake Me When September Ends....