This weeks #WASO theme is ‘Loss’ and if I am being honest, my first thought on finding out about the theme was “Where would I begin?” Each member of ‘The Hive’ household has experienced more than their fair share of loss, and in all honesty the boys have experienced far more loss than any child should ever have to in their early childhood; and yes, every part of me wishes I could magic all that pain away with a truly powerful magic wand or a Genie in a lamp, but back in the real world I cannot change the past for any of us.
So how can I describe how ‘loss’ plays such a big part in my family? For me ‘Loss’ is a very personal thing and at some point in our lives we will all lose someone or something that we care deeply about and no matter how big or small that loss appears to other people around you, each of us will experience it in different ways and we will all have our own ways of managing that loss.
I have grown up in the knowledge that when we lose someone we love, that while there is great sadness in the family and a sense of a huge, gaping hole being left in our lives by their passing, my sister and I were brought up to celebrate their lives and treasure the memories we had have of them and not feel guilty if we stop thinking about our loved ones for a while.
My dad’s family have what I can only describe as a family anthem – “Never Walk Alone” and it is always played at loved one’s funerals and family parties, and to this day the song is as poignant and important to the youngest members of the family as it is to the three generations over them.
Just thinking about it sends a rush of mixed emotions.
Another important family tradition revolves around a favourite poem by Christina Rossetti, that my Gran loved and which she always used when any of the grandchildren were upset about the loss of one of our pets or missing a sibling and it always made my sister and I feel better and, although at the time we never fully understood it, we have both since used it to help support our children in their grief.
Over the years since the boys have moved in, this poem has become a part of my therapeutic parenting toolbox. So many people, pets, even buildings have come and gone in the boy’s lives and there is no hiding from that, and each of them grieves for their ‘loss’ in very different ways. Beeswax is very introverted about his grief and cannot bare feeling vulnerable so will try his hardest to pretend everything is Ok, while his demeanour and behaviour speaks volumes and on the VERY rare occasions that his barriers do drop, the floodgates open and for a tiny few minutes he allows himself to grieve for his past. Buzzbee on the other hand wears his heart on his sleeve and although, like Waxy, he cannot bare to show vulnerability, he does not have the ability to regulate his emotions and so when a wave of grief hits him, he unleashes a tidal wave of heart-wrenching emotions.
They need me to help them both with accepting that it is OK to feel sad (or more often angry) for what they have lost. I also need to help them realise that when they remember a loss, it is OK that they weren’t sad the moment before. With children who struggle to trust anything an adult tells them, this is always met with a degree of suspicion, but as the years are going by, they are slowly making progress and confiding in us more, and for those days when it is too hard for Waxy to let us in (although I can see he is hurting), I notice that my poem book has either moved places on the bookcase or has completely disappeared for a few days.
At the beginning I wrote “where would I begin”? Well, I have definitely not gone in the direction that I thought I would. I have taken my thoughts about the effects loss can have on my nearest and dearest, and ended up turning it into a post about finding comfort in the words of a poem and song at difficult times.