After a very physically and emotionally draining few days, Justin went to pick up Ethan and Konnor from my in laws on Saturday afternoon. It did our hearts SO good to see them again. I am so thankful that they were able to spend the week at their grandparents place, seeing and playing with their cousins.
When they got home I hugged them so tight and felt overwhelmingly blessed to have them in my life. I couldn’t imagine going through such a loss and not having little ones to love on during the pain. I know that others aren’t so lucky and my heart goes out to them.
We have pictures of Nathaniel that we took personally and then some that our nurse took. We did not want to show the boys unless they wanted to see. He was so small and obviously he did not look like a full term chunky baby so I didn’t want the boys (especially Ethan) to get “scared” or have unsettled feelings about seeing his little brother. Ethan has such a tender heart and he is very sensitive so I left it up to him on if he wanted to see.
We had the memory box out that we were given at the hospital which has small blankets, a hat and small outfits in it that the hospital gave to us after Nathaniel was born. Inside the box are also some keepsakes and photos of our boy. Ethan saw the box and without hesitation wanted to see everything. I started off by asking the boys if they knew where Nathaniel was. Konnor very bluntly said “he’s dead!” the Innocent of a 3 year old is refreshing during times of sorrow. Ethan then responded that Nathaniel was in heaven with Jesus. We wanted to make sure that he knew the pictures were just his body, but his soul wasn’t here and he feels no pain or sadness.
The first pictures we showed them were of his hands and feet, Ethan was so surprised by how small they were. He would examine each picture for a good minute or so before moving on to the next. When we made it to the picture of Nathaniel’s face, Ethan took a few extra minutes to look at it. He grabbed the little hat that was in the memory box and couldn’t believe how little it was but how big it looked on his little brothers head. Konnor looked at each picture with a very serious look on his face but he didn’t say a word. He then went through everything in the box and played a little bit with the bear we were given at the hospital as we awaited the arrival of our baby.
Shortly after we finished looking at pictures and talking to the boys about Nathaniel, Ethan said he wanted to color. The boys took out their crayons and markers and sat at the table. Konnor sat there practicing his shapes and trying to make people, then he started adding stickers and he ended up making quite a masterpiece! Ethan spent longer at the table coloring and when he was done he came up and handed me a card he made for me. The card had a picture of our house and then he drew a picture of our family, which included Nathaniel. It is very important to us that even though the boys will not meet their brother here on earth, that they realize that he is real and I think that Ethan deeply feels that he indeed has another younger brother. I am glad that they both acknowledge the existence of Nathaniel but I am also glad that they are young enough that the sadness of his death will likely not hit them as hard. Our hope is that they see how we are thanking God for the gift he gave us and that someday, Lord willing, they will meet and hug Miller boy #3 in heaven!
We have been very fortunate and blessed to have so many family and friends in our lives who have made things a little easier by sending messages, emails, cards, flowers, preparing meals and continually praying for us. This life event has shown us how blessed we are to have such a supportive and loving group in our lives. We will never forget the love that we’ve felt and we will forever be grateful for it!
This afternoon has been mostly spent playing with my boys. They have been wanting to be in same room as me all afternoon and I will never take for granted again how lucky I am to have that!