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  • Rachel

Graveyard turned playground.

(Full disclosure: I wrote this a few months back - around March/April. While I read it, it took me right back to that day. The emotions we felt and what was going on in that time of our lives. It was just too real not to share.)

I never imagined that my child would prefer to go to the graveyard than the playground. Not only does she prefer to go to the graveyard, she begs. She cries. She pleads to go. The graveyard has turned into her playground. There, she feels close to her sister. She knows her sister’s body is buried in the ground. She knows all the monuments around Raelyne, are Raelyne’s little friends, who also died, but they are all together in Heaven.

I took her to the park the other day and she wasn’t happy. There was no running around trying to play with all the other kids. No laughing and giggling. No joy. Instead, she wanted to stay on the swings.

You see, the swings were Raelyne’s favourite part of the park. She would swing. And swing. And swing. While Khaleesia ran around and played with everything else, Raelyne would stay on the swing and never want to leave.

I think that Khaleesia needed to feel close to her sister. Feel connected to her by doing one of her favourite things. I encouraged her go and play on the slides and bars, like she normally would do. She obliged for a few minutes. But then I found her. Standing still. Staring at this brother and sister, running around and playing. Chasing each other and laughing as hard as they could. I tried to joke around with her and cheer her up a bit. But she was just sad. It was written all over her face. I asked her what’s up and she just said, “I miss Rae Rae” and she ran back to the swings. After some more swinging, she asked if we could go home. When I asked why, she told me she was sad. So home we went.

We haven’t been back to the park. Instead, she asks to go the graveyard. She is happy there. She is smiling. Running around. Playing. Being a kid. She likes it so I will continue to take her. My heart hurts because my child has to go to the graveyard to feel close to her sister. But my heart is also happy because despite her sister’s absence, she loves her. She wants to be close to her. She isn’t forgetting her. She is remembering her. She is trying to keep her sister close, despite their separation.

So I will continue to take her. In the rain. Close to bedtime. While it’s freezing cold. Whenever she needs it. Even if that means my chest aches. Tears stream down my face. Thoughts go to envisioning my daughter’s cold body, buried deep in that ground. Imaging digging it up. Opening the coffin and pulling her out, just so I could cuddle her. Longing to have her back.

I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how to parent a child who is grieving, while I am also grieving. I don’t know if it’s healthy that she wants to play at the graveyard constantly. I don’t know it’s good for her to be at the graveyard, more than the park. Or if watching videos of her sister, every day, is helping. I don’t know what will help and support her grief or what will damage her. But I will try to give her what she needs. Encourage her to grieve in a healthy way. It’s all that I can do. Try.

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