When you lose a child, it’s the worst thing any of us can imagine. Your focus narrows. Your care for the things of the world just drops away. All you can think about is the loss of that child. You will even feel you want to be with them. I can still feel a sense of longing in my cells that I have never felt before. They want to be with Shayna. I can only imagine how much more intense this might be for a mother.
However, most of us have other children. Whether you have one other, like we do or many others, the other children still need you. I’ve been told that many people withdraw so much into themselves, they forget their other children still need them. In our case, Kayla is suddenly an “only child”. I put only child in quotes because she is not truly an only child. She is the only one we have left on this plane. She grew up with a sister that she loved, nurtured, I would even say adored. Kayla and Shayna were almost like twins. They had their own way of communicating. They were best friends. As hard as this has been on Ty and I, I think it’s harder on Kayla. She doesn’t have the coping skills we have. At 18 years old she hasn’t thought about death. She shouldn’t have to.
When Shayna passed, our thoughts immediately turned to Kayla. How were we going to tell her? How would we get her home? She was ten hours away by car. What impact would this have on her school, her young adulthood, her life?
We decided to draw Kayla in close. Thankfully, this happened while she is on summer break and home with us. We are being hyper-attentivie to her, giving her even extra hugs and kisses and rubs. We insisted (and she was agreeable) that she get into counseling ASAP. She had her first appointment today.
The girls have been priority one since the day we brought Kayla home from the hospital. While we’re all wounded, as parents of surviving children, we have to remember they need us now, probably more than ever.
That doesn’t mean I’m always trying to be strong for Kayla. Not at all. I have cried with her. I have let her see me get angry. I have told her this sucks. I have told her my frustrations. I don’t lean on her, but I do want her to know I’m not going through this unscarred or easily. I want her to know we are in this together. She’s not alone.