I can still hear my younger sister’s voice, as we were traveling from Chicago, after burying our brother. “Why are we leaving him here all by himself? We should be taking him home to our church where Mom is.”
I am not sure if anyone answered her. I did not, but my thoughts were like hers. On that trip home in October 2002, our dad was restless. We were all concerned about him, however, we did not hover over him excessively, because he did not want us to do so.
In November, three weeks after our brother was buried, our dad died. We were devastated. Words cannot adequately explain or describe our heartbreak and grief over losing our brother and dad in such a short period of time.
While attending our dad’s funeral, my 14 year old grandson became ill. My daughter, his mother, drove him to a local hospital. The diagnosis given to my daughter was one of dehydration. However, early the next morning my daughter called me in a state of panic, saying “Mom, we are losing him! We are losing Him!! He has that rattling sound! What am I supposed to do??”
On Sunday, November 10, 2002, our lives were forever changed. My grandson had died. His mom, nine year old sister and great-grandmother were devastated as were his extended family, classmates, and his church family.
My efforts after his death, focused on taking care of his mom, while I grieved for my dad, my brother and now my grandson.
Several years ago, my granddaughter said to me, “Gran, I know that you love me, and you have always loved me, but when my brother died, you took care of my mama, more than me. You patted me on the head and said that ‘Everything would be okay’. I wanted to scream and tell you that he was ‘My brother! Not just Mama’s son’. I was hurting too, and for a long time, I expected him to come back for me. It still hurts so bad Grandma”.
As a grandmother, I was not prepared to hear that. I was to shield her and protect her from the pain that we were trying to deal with; which made her feel not heard, or seen, and not as important as the adults, who were supposed to make sure that she was alright.
Tia’s Corner was born out of that conversation with my granddaughter. We/I had failed her in so many ways. She was silenced as so many children and youth are as they struggle to find their voice during the grief process.
It is my desire and life’s goal from this day forward to provide a safe place for children and youth to talk, play, interact, and share, to help them work through the grief process and adjust to the new normal of their lives.