Saturday, 12 November 2011

Scared and Sad

Every day I'm asked numerous times 'how are you?' which is a hard question because at the time I'm asked I could be 'fine' or even 'good' but half an hour before that I could've been in tears. I've learnt to answer by telling the truth saying 'depends on the moment'.  I used to say it depended on the day, but I've since found out that isn't true.  I can wake up feeling quite good, but within an hour or so things have changed, or I could even wake up feeling really sad but then as the day goes on it turns out okay.

Harri has been the one who has been taking Noah's death the hardest out of the three boys. It's not at all what we imagined because Jalen was the one who grew up knowing that Noah wasn't going to be around for very long and often he would get quite stressed about it, and would talk to us about it.  Harri also knew that Noah's life on earth wasn't going to be very long, but he never really questioned it or talked about it with us.

The day that we told the boys that Noah was so sick he wasn't able to live any longer, Harri's reaction totally shocked us.  He just buried his head in the bed at Ronald McDonald House and sobbed and sobbed and nothing we could say would help him.  Jalen was also extremely upset, but he talked to us about it and as the day went on he said he felt like Noah was ready and that he would want him to be strong about it. 

Harri was just so upset all day, and when we told him he had to say goodbye he just kept shaking his head and saying 'no' and just kept sobbing.  It was heart breaking to watch and I just wished that I could take the pain away from him, but deep down that is exactly what I wanted to do as well, but was trying to be strong for everyone else and especially for Noah because I wanted him to know that we would be okay, no matter how hard it was to say goodbye.

After Noah passed away Mum and Chrish took the three boys back to Ronald McDonald House, and Aaron and I spent another hour and a half at the hospital washing Noah again, spending time with him and talking to the doctor and nurses. When Noah was in hospital Makayla had sent down a beautiful monkey soft toy for him.  A couple of hours before Noah passed away Harri asked what we were going to do with the monkey. I asked him if he thought Noah would like him to keep it and look after it, and he straight away said that he would.  He also tried to claim his other two soft toys that kept him company in hospital, but we told them that we would like to keep them in our bedroom with us.  When we got back to Ronald McDonald House, Harri was very excited to show us that he had put the toys on our bed, ready for us.

He was very happy to snuggle into bed with Noah's monkey that night. We asked him if he was going to give him a name and he said 'Nono' because that is what Jay called Noah when he was little when he couldn't say his name properly.

The first night back at home after Noah passed away Harri was very upset at bedtime. He said he didn't want to sleep by himself in his own room, and to be honest I didn't really want to sleep in an extra quiet bedroom without Noah, so we let him sleep on a mattress on the floor in our room.

The week of Noah's funeral Harri only went to school two days.  I remember how sad I was when my brother Daniel passed away when I was around Harri's age, so I've been trying to just help him feel as safe and happy as possible.  When he asked a couple of weekends ago if he could sleep in Jay's room with him, we set up the mattress in there for him again (although Jay wasn't too impressed!).

The week after the funeral Harri went back to school full time, but it wasn't without lots and lots of tears.  He seemed to be very anxious and kept saying he was too scared and sad to go to school.  I didn't know what to do, but after talking it over with his teachers, principal and school social worker we decided that the best place for him was probably at school, and if he got too upset they would ring me to come and get him.  We talked to Harri about how we were all sad and how school was probably the happiest place he could be as he would have his friends there. A couple of days I got a phone call from school saying he felt sad and had spent some time in with the assistant principal, talking and playing games and was then happy to join back in with his class. Each week he has been seeing the school social worker.

Every single day he takes his monkey 'Nono' to school with him and even out in the playground.  His teachers have been great in letting him do whatever makes him feel safe and happy which has been great.  After a few weeks off swimming lessons we went back (with lots of tears in the car on the way there) and Nono had to watch him swim the whole time. Harri was just getting really confident with his swimming, but since Noah has passed away he is now too scared to try anything that is a bit challenging and is now in tears a lot of the lesson which is really hard.  His teacher is a young guy who is really lovely, but after the second week of Harri in tears he was trying to encourage him to do what he was asking and said 'come on, you usually do this' and that's when I had to step him to tell him that his brother had passed away three weeks earlier. I felt awful for the poor teacher, but he was so lovely and just kept saying 'oh that's terrible' and then totally understood why Harri didn't want to do it and then took it easier on him.

Harri is getting better at sleeping in his own room, but once a week or so he gets so upset that I let him either sleep in Jay's or our bedroom.  Last week he said he was 'feeling sick' and it was after he had a talk with the assistant principal and I about how it's important that kids go to school unless they are sick.  'All of a sudden' that night he started to feel sick, and I think he genuinely was feeling sick, but mostly because he so anxious and upset.  We told him that it wasn't really fun to be at home anyway as we were sorting out Noah's things, and it would've been nice for him to be at school with his friends, especially while that was happening.

While we were sorting Noah's things out we came across his beautiful Hawthorn slippers that Alison's Mum, Eleanor made him a couple of years ago.  Harri was so excited to claim them as his own and wears them whenever he is home now.

I'm trying to be extra patient with him, but it's hard when he has reverted back to acting like he is a lot younger again - throwing tantrums, grizzling over anything and bursting into tears over anything. It's all totally normal and understandable after what has happened, but it can be hard to deal with when you are grieving yourself.

Aaron and I thought it would be nice to spend some special one on one time with him, so we took him out for a date with Mum and Dad which he was so excited about.  A couple of months ago at the gym I won a $100 gift voucher for Snappers Restaurant, so we decided to take Harri there. 

It was quite posh with expensive food, but it was nice to know we didn't have to worry about the bill :) Harri was so happy to be out on his own with us.   The whole time we were there he just chatted to us telling us all the funny things going on at school.

Harri and I both ordered battered flathead, old style chips and salad. The funny thing was that he got his from the children's menu for $10 and I got mine from the main menu. I probably had a few extra chips and a tiny bit more fist for $26! It was very yummy though. 

We decided to end the date off by having a look at Kmart for Harri's Christmas list which he was so excited about, and made me type a list on my iPhone.  We then went to where else but Maccas for dessert.   It was nice to see him smile again after being very sad most of the time. 

He is getting there slowly, but every time we mention Noah's name (even if it is when we are saying family prayer before bed) he starts crying again and says it makes him sad to talk about him.  If he sees photos on the computer or especially on my blog of Noah's last week in hospital he gets very upset.   At bed time we still have tears every night, but he doesn't ask to sleep in other rooms as much and is happier to go to school, as long as I am dropping him off and picking him up every day.  It doesn't look like he will catch the bus or get a lift to school with Di for the rest of the year.
I'm sure it's going to take a long time before he really doesn't feel scared and sad anymore.


  1. Aww. Bless him. Everyone deals with it in different ways. I guess he has more understanding than Kobe but perhaps not the words to express what he's feeling like jalen? Anyway, you're doing a great job.
    X x x x

  2. Oh Lisa that was a hard post to read. You never want to hear kids with so much sorrow, and to go through the same feelings yourself but knowing you can't just join him in a good cry sounds heart wrenching.

    From the outside looking in, you are all doing an amazing job and as you post more pictures and videos of Noah, I see his personality and light. He was a sweet, wonderful boy and your grief is left by all. What more can you do for Harri but what you are doing now. You really are all so strong even though I am sure you feel so fragile.
    Do you think Harri thinks Noah is watching over him through monkey? I had that thought came to me when I saw him on the chair while at the pool.

  3. My heart just aches for Harri.
    Love Mum.

  4. no words can really give comfort for the heart ache of this little man... time is a great healer and helper... hang in there Hari... {and Hari's Mum}

  5. Oh Harri! Sometimes he must act exactly how you feel but as adults we feel like we have to keep it in a bit more. Such heartache- I'm glad the Nono is helping out. I had forgotten you won that voucher- seems like so long ago. Im glad it was that and not a spray tan now! Xx

  6. My heart breaks for Harri. He is such a sweet little man.
    I felt so helpless being in QLD but feel a little like i helped Harri out by sending Nono..
    You guys are doing a great job. love you xxxx

  7. Beautiful Harri...that picture of Nono watching him by the pool made me cry. I hope the pain eases for

  8. I've been an off and on follower and I just have to say I poured tears reading you blog posts...I don't know how you survive through this, or your boys as well. My heart aches for you tonight, my head will bow for you in prayer, and my eyes will remain red in your husbands' and sons' memory.

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