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Frequently Asked Questions - Siblings

Siblings and parents share information and answer frequently asked questions about SIDS:

In what ways do you share/celebrate the memories of your baby with the other children in the family?

We post a Sibling Question to the SIDS List Server Discussion Area and on the SIDS Information Web Site every two weeks. Responses can be emailed to us at sidsnet1-at-sids-network-dot-org, attention, Jay Mihalko or posted to the SIDS List Server Discussion Area, attention, Jay Mihalko. We will then post the responses to this page of the web site. The responses are opinions and no one person is right or wrong. We do not need to include an individual's name or any other identifying factors unless the author requests to be identified in some way or they want their email address attached.

The question for the week of April 13 - April 27, 1997 was:

In what ways do you share/celebrate the memories of your baby with the other children in the family?

Responses are listed below. Please feel free to add a response by e-mailing sidsnet1-at-sids-network-dot-org,attention, Jay Mihalko. Please include the question, your response, and include in the subject line "FAQ - Siblings"

We do share the memory of Quentin with Xavier (4 year) and Vincent (1 year) by never forgetting his brother. We always say that we have 3 children with one in heaven. Xavier knows very well the existence of Quentin and the fact that he is dead. He still has problems with the the fact that we cannot see him or bring him back. He says he wants his brother back and that he loves him. We just say we love him either but that we cannot do anything against death. We have some pictures of Quentin and Xavier recognises his brother. I think that the most difficult thing for Xavier is to leave his another brother for some days. He his always - not consciently - afraid of losing his brother as we had to put Xavier by my parents for a week when we lost Quentin and when he came back his brother and his entire room had disappeared. He searched it for 6 months in every baby we met ! But I still think we made the right choice - for us- to clear everything. It's hard enough without seeing all those things remembering you constantly the lost treasure!

We do not celebrate the birthday of Quentin nor try to let Xavier remember the date of his death (in any case unforgettable for us). We try to let Xavier and Vincent live their innocent life as much as possible but we never escape their questions.

I'm not sure if you consider a 14 year old a "child" per se, but I wanted to share with you what I do with my 14 year old sister. Amber, my 14 year old sister, is Alex's aunt. She was absolutely CRAZZZZZY about that baby!! My 16 year old didn't show near the intrest as Amber. She literally worshipped that child.

Today, Alex would have been 7 months old. I know that most people wouldn't consider that age to be anything special, but I know you understand why I would celebrate it. I made a pretty fresh flower arrangement in a temporary vase (her marker hasn't come in yet) and Amber and I headed out to the cemetary. We also took some pretty windchimes with an angel on them to hang in the tree by her resting place. Amber really wanted to be able to hang the windchimes, but she was too short to reach the branch they needed to hang on. So she held the branch down for me to tie them on. She cleared the temporary marker of grass and dirt and silently said what she wanted to say to her. Then we left.

Now, I realize that this isn't what most people would consider a "celebration" but it was our own private get together. I always include Amber in the "things" I do for Alex and she really appreciates it. My husband and I are going to move to Austin when our house sells and I told her about how I was concerned about whether there was anyone I could count on to make sure there were always flowers at Alex's resting place. She said that I could always count on her and that she would find a way to make sure Alex always had flowers. I thought that was pretty neat--then again, she's a pretty neat kid.

Every year on David's birthday we have a birthday cake, light candles and talk of him. On the anniversary of the day he died (we go by the Jewish calendar), it's a Jewish holidaywhere everyone commemerates the dead, so we go to temple, and then go visit the cemetery, bringing flowers which he loved. The rest of the time we just talk about him with his subsequent sister, and look at pictures of him (hanging on the walls, and on tables).

David is certainly always a part of our family, and always will be.

Our other children help us take care of the cemetary plot ...we have a celebration day on what would have been her birthday where we do something nice for some else and we keep her picture on the wall with theirs and when we replace theirs every year and hers does not change we talk about it and it helps them understand that even if something bad happens to someone that person will still be in our hearts so as to be never really gone

This is response to the question about how we share our daughter, Jayne, who died last year, with her other sisters.

This year, each of us wrote a letter to her, telling her how much we miss her and why we miss her. We put the letters in a pretty box and read them on her birthday. We also made a birthday cake, but that was a disaster; as Jayne was not there to blow out the candles. The letters we wrote, however, were very theraputic. My eight-year-old was able to verbalize why she missed her and that was the beginning of her healing. The poor child had repressed the memories of her baby sister for almost eight months.

It is hard to explain to small children about a older sibling that is not there. My two subsequents can recognize pictures of their sibling but they do not seem to ask me many questions. I think the lack of questions is because of our older daughter who sits them down and shows them the pictures and talks about him all the time. Our son is started in the last couple of months mention wanting a brother to play with, but I can never get him to talk more about it. I think it has to due partially with his lack of vocabulary, because I have asked him if he wants a baby brother and he told me once that he wanted to play with his brother. I think we are blessed to have our older daughter because she is still so open yet childish enough that she connects with her siblings concerning her brother's life and death. I have heard her with a couple of his pictures telling her sister that the picture is of her brother when she thought it was of him. He seemed rather upset at her for saying the baby in the picture was him and not accepting that it was his brother. I was upset at the way he started yelling at her that the picture was of his brother and not him, he was saying "my brother dead" It hurt that these children are affected by something they were not even here to participate in or have actual knowledge of. Not only did she loose her innocence at 2.5 but our subsequents also seem to loose a bit of innocence and grieve over the never hads.

This next baby is going to be interesting because our daughter is older now and understands a lot more then when her younger sister was born, they are only 18 months apart in age. She will be four this time and her younger sister will be just shy of 3. This presents a whole new set of emotional things for the kids to do, I thought her paranoia over "all baby boys dying" was bad. Then my daughter's being just 3 yrs and 1 day younger then by SIDS baby has been interesting, I really do not need her pointing out that he would have been doing this or that when he was X age if he had lived to that X age. Well at least we should have gotten past the "all baby boys die" routine and this baby will be closer to her age minus 8 years so none of the comparisons maybe she will get to see what she was like at each age, the first Easter at just weeks old, the first 4th of July at just months old, the first Christmas as a crawler. (7/23/99)

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