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Billy's Story

By Kaye Keith
Mother of
Billy 5/19/91
Jesse 5/7/96-12/3/96
Baby Coming November 1997

reprinted with permission

My son, Billy, was 5 when Jesse died. He arrived off the Kindergarten
bus to the babysitters to ambulances and the EMT crew working on
Jesse. By the time I got there he was in a full cry, upset, and
asking lots of questions. I was still coping with the shock of what
was happening, but I was very concerned about Billy also.

In the beginning, I was so numb that poor Billy was literally
"raising" me. I would be crying and saying why Jesse, What did I do
to deserve this, etc. Billy would look at me and state in the most
grown up manner, "Mom, you did not do anything to cause Jesse to die.
God was saving Jesse from Something Bad". He felt that something
bad was going to happen to Jesse the next day, but because he died,
the bad thing didn't happen. He even went so far as to tell me that
he thought the bad thing God was saving Jesse from was
that we would make him watch Independence Day! (Movie) Billy would hug me
when I cried, and he cried the day we buried Jess, then look at me
and my husband and simply stated that the crying was all out of him,
that he was there to help mom now. He is my rock when we visit the
grave side, hugging me, going to the car for Kleenex, talking to me.

Billy is a very good-natured kid and within a couple weeks of Jesse
dying, he began to display various forms of anger, mostly directed at
people who asked him about Jesse. We got in touch with a counselor
and she has been wonderful to helping Billy accept what has happened.
It was at this first sign of anger, that I knew I had to get on with
my life and become a mother for Billy again. We read phamplets about
how all living things die, about babies dying, and about how loved
ones sometimes leaves us.

We never "sheltered" Billy from any of the happenings, he went to the
funeral home to help us choose the casket, he was at the viewing,
funeral and services. He sat just not too long ago and asked me to
write down the ten things he loved most about Jesse. Some are cute,
some are very touching. I plan to share them with him in later
years.

I often worry about what impact this entire experience may have on
Billy in later years. The unknown of it all. To me they are too
young to have to experience a death of this magnitude. He has
already asked me if the baby I am now carrying will die if it is a
boy (let alone being due in the winter).

He has kept a very good outlook and understanding on the entire
experience. I have been very honest with him, and sometimes
virtually smother him with attention--but he loves it!

4/30/97

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