Does missing you always need to be sad?
It was exactly a week after Lauren's passing that her 32nd birthday arrived and there aren't the words to explain how uncontrollably sad that week had been. But I'd started to wake up to the fact that it wasn't just my grief that I was responsible for, Molly needed (and still needs) for me to manage or at least help her to manage her grief too. She'd spent the week seeing us all in floods of tears and and when she asked 'why?', everyone around her said that it was because they missed her Mum.
What that lead too was this little 3 year old girl thinking that missing her Mum meant pure, inconsolable sadness. On the day before Lauren's birthday Molly caught me off guard by saying out of the blue, 'I'm not going to miss Mummy'. After taking a breath and fighting back some emotion, I asked 'why?'. But essentially, what it boiled down to was that missing Mum was sad and made people cry, and what 3 year old wants to feel sad all of the time.
I suppose in hindsight a better explanation for her would have been to be more direct and say that we were sad because her Mum had died. That said, I'm grateful for the fact that this happened because it allowed me in trying to address Molly's confusion about missing her Mum, to learn some valuable lessons myself.
From that day on, I decided that missing Lauren wouldn't always be so sad, I needed to show Molly that missing her Mum could be done in a positive way too, starting with Lauren's birthday. We (Lauren's parents, Sister and I) had decided to take a trip down to one of Lauren's favourite coastal towns and not only did we enjoy some time on the beach, swimming in the sea, wandering down to nearby Littlehampton where Molly went on her first ever log flume. But, we also marked Lauren's birthday by releasing some balloons and messages in to the sky and wishing her a happy heavenly birthday as we watched the sun set.
Everyday's a school day...
I learnt a lot in that moment and haven't stopped learning since. Molly isn't at an age where she understands the magnitude of the loss she's suffered and I now know that how I choose to manage my grief and in turn hers, could have a life long impact on the way she feels about it. Since that day we have come a long way together, to the point that, as heartbreaking as it is, Molly now says regularly that she misses her Mum. We talk about Lauren a lot and do a much better job of balancing the sad emotions with positive memories.
I won't lie, I am still at a stage where these conversations cause me a fair amount of emotional distress and I often have to fight back the tears when talking with Molly about her Mum. But, I am so proud of her, and myself for the way that we have spun that situation around. So, no, I wouldn't say that missing Lauren always has to be sad, in fact I think it's important that we make sure that it isn't.
Thanks for reading and being a part of our journey!