We're half-way home from Preschool last night; Vivian pipes up from her carseat just behind me...
"momma, how big were we when we were born" (she means "long".)
"About 14 inches, baby" and I hold up my hands to show her how big that is...
"how big was baby Eric, momma?"
"about 12 inches, baby" again I hold up my hands.
Levi joins in: "Eric died and Vivian died a little bit, but I didn't die at all!"
"yeah, baby, You're right." ...
(before they knew what was wrong with Vivian's vocal chords, they pulled her Vent tube, and because of the constriction in her airway her heart stopped for 3-5 minutes. The docs told us they didn't know how damaged her brain was from that episode.)
Vivian says "how big was Eric's box?" again I hold up my hands and explain that it was his casket. "was his head in there, momma?" "of course", I say, "his whole body was, with a blanket and pillow, and a special necklace, a teddy bear and a porcelain heart."
Levi: "I miss my brother. I don't remember ever seeing him."
"I know, baby, I wish he were still here with us."
Levi: "When is my brother gonna be alive again, momma?"
"Honey, he's in heaven, he's not gonna be alive ever again. You'll see him when it's your time to go to heaven."
Levi: "How will I know him, momma?"
"Because, baby, he looks just like you. It will be like looking in a mirror. You two were identical twins"
Levi: "I know, momma, we shared an egg!"
Vivian: "What does his hair look like?"
Levi, excited now: "I know what his hair looks like, there's some in his box in your room, I remember it!!"
These conversations are hard for me. I fight back tears and hold my voice steady. They have real questions, real thoughts, and I need to answer them from their point of view, in their world. These query's from them come at unexpected times, like when we're driving, or sitting together, and even during playtime. As hard as it is, it's also heartwarming; they know their brother, they understand what they can as they grow, and it's good for them to know. It's our reality.
But I wish it weren't...