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Butterfly Kisses & FAQs… from Jen

Words of Support & Encouragement

These “Butterfly Kisses” are written with love to help you heal your heart after a death in a family, especially a child.   

 

 

Everyday give yourself a butterfly kiss. 

Know you will survive.  I promise. 

Choose life over merely existing. 

There is no one right way to grieve.  Your way is the right way.   

Grief is a process.  It has many layers.  You have the courage to get through it. 

Grief hurts more at first then it hurts less. 

There will be one day where grief will start to hurt less.

It’s okay when you want to talk about it. 

And it’s okay when you don’t feel like talking about it.

Loved ones want to help.  You can be honest with them in what you need. 

You will need some alone time.  And that is okay.

Every day will be different.  It’s okay to feel different day by day.

Let your friends and family help you with your daily responsibilities so you can rest and grieve.

When you are ready, try doing something childlike.  Blow a bubble.  Build a sandcastle.  Ride a swing.  It’s okay to do these things.  It will lift your spirits.  It might even make you laugh. 

Your baby may not be living here on earth but your baby is alive in your heart forever.

Congratulate yourself for making it through the day.  You can celebrate it in your own way- even if you just give yourself a loving pat on the back. 

Grief is a shock to your mind, body, and spirit.  Take the time to heal your mind, body and spirit. 

 

 

Butterfly Kisses FAQs

and How to Get Through

Some Uncomfortable Situations 

 

 

 

What to do with the handprints and footprints of your baby?

We have a paper plate with Lucca’s footprints and one with his handprints.  The hospital made them for us after he passed away.  I have them in shadow boxes in our bedroom, along with prayer cards and flowers from the funeral.

How to talk to your other children about the death of their brother/ sister?

Children need their parents to be open and honest about the death.  Don’t be afraid to say that their sibling died.  It is also important that you reassure them that nothing is going to happen to you –their parents- or them.  Make sure that their welfare is your priority.

Do men and women grieve differently? 

Men and women grieve in different ways.  Women tend to want to be still, think, and cry to express their feelings.  Men usually want to keep moving by getting busy around the house or doing some kind of physical labor to help them work through their emotions.  Neither way is incorrect, just different.

Is there a difference between grief and mourning?

Grief and Mourning. Grief is mental suffering or distress over a loss.  When you grieve, you deal with your internal thoughts and feelings.  Mourning is the outward expression of sorrow.  When you mourn you cry, talk, write about your loss.  You need to work through both during this time of loss.  To heal, we need to be able to mourn.

See a counselor or therapist.  We went through our hospital for referrals, but you can also get advice and names from books, websites, and national groups.  (See a list of names in the Resource Section to help you get started.)

What to say when an acquaintance asks about the baby?

As much as it hurt or was uncomfortable, I usually told people as simply as I could that our baby had died.  I explained that Lucca had a rare heart defect and only lived for 12 days. Somehow after telling his story a couple of times, it got easier and I felt like I was honoring him by doing so.

What to say when someone asks how many children you have.

Most bereaved parents come up with some different ways to answer this question.   Many parents think that if they leave out the child who has died then they are lying or being disloyal to the child they have lost.  But if you include the child who has died, you might need to be prepared to have a lengthy conversation about what has happened.

Over the years, I have tried many answers to this question “on for size”.  The ones that have worked for me are:

“ I have four children.  I have a 10 year old, an 8 year old, a 6 year old, and a 4 year old. “  Or:

“ I have 3 children here on earth and one child in heaven.”

When people’s words unintentionally hurt you

“You’re young, you can have another baby” or “ Time will heal all wounds”.  Those are statements that don’t help and may upset you, but understand that people don’t know what to say and they want to “fix” the problem for you.  At least they acknowledged the baby and your pain.  Try not to let it affect you.

Choosing Godparents

We had already chosen Lucca’s Godparents before he died, but they are still an important part of our lives, even though their relationship is much different with Lucca than it would have been.  They are wonderful people that still remember his birthday and anniversary of his death.  We are so thankful that we have them in our lives.   

Talking to your kids about the casket

When Lucca died our other children were 4 and 2.  We decided not to explain that Lucca’s body was actually in the casket because we didn’t want them to worry and we didn’t think they would understand.  So we talked about Lucca’s casket being a “memory box” instead.  When Lucca died, we wrote letters to him, drew pictures, and put a family picture of us in the memory box.  We explained to them that the memory box is also filled with the sweet memories of our time with Lucca and all of the prayers that people have said about him. My 4 year old son explained it best when he said that Lucca’s memory box was small because he didn’t live with us for very long so he didn’t have very many memories to put inside his box.  But when older people die, they have bigger memory boxes because they have more memories to store inside.

Bring special flowers to the cemetery.  We always brought carnations because that’s the flower the children brought to me in the hospital when Lucca was born.  Other people have brought rocks to set beside the tombstone. I’ve also seen little toys decorating the graves of the small children.  We always decorate the grave a little for each holiday.

How to keep the memory alive

Carry something that reminds you of your baby.  I carry a card with the meaning of the name Lucca on it.  In Italian, “Lucca” means “light”.  Lucca IS our light.  He continues to “light up our lives.”

 

© 2012

All content is the sole property of Jenn Minnite and cannot be used without written permission.

 

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