Monday, April 3, 2017

How grief can manifest in the littles

When Papaw died in December, M did not cry.

At Papaw's wake, M refused to look at him in the casket.

During the funeral, when G and N stood at the casket crying, M bopped past and returned to his seat.  He was lost in imaginary play immediately afterward in the lobby, while G went around hugging everyone to help ease his own sorrow.

My mother-in-law used some of Papaw's old flannel shirts to make everyone in the family a Papaw pillow.  I contacted a graphic designer on Etsy to make cotton tags for the pillows using an image I scanned from one of Papaw's many birthday cards where he had signed his usual--"Love you, Papaw."

They turned out really nice.

Mine was made from a shirt I bought Papaw for his 89th birthday.

Ever since M got his Papaw pillow he has been sleeping with it every night, bringing it downstairs every morning when he wakes up, and sitting with it when he's on his Kindle.

M's Papaw pillow

He has also been taking it places with him.  Today he brought it to the clinic for N's well visit and to get our allergy shots.  He took the pillow into Panera where we had lunch.  The pillow went into Meijer and the pet store.

When I said something like, "You are taking your Papaw pillow everywhere, aren't you?" M replied by saying, "I'm never going to see Papaw again."

And it dawned on me that this pillow is helping M grieve in his own way.  For whatever reason....shock, embarrassment, fear....he didn't process Papaw dying in December when it happened, but with the pillow he is.  

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