Jaden’s Pain

On our way home from Healing Hearts Jaden told me that Owen was at our house.  I told him “No, Owen is dead, he is not at our house.  He is in heaven.”  He argued back that he really was at our house.  I was wondering if he might be referring to his ashes as we still haven’t spread them and they still sit on a shelf in the living room.  Out of no where, through the sobs, Jaden says “You don’t know anything!”  I had really upset him.

I apologized and suggested we listen to the radio for a little bit.  After a song or two I asked him if he’d like to talk about it again.  He agreed.

Jaden:  Owen is at our house all the time.  He still reads stories with us at night.

Me:  Like can you see him?

Jaden:  Yeah!

Me:  Well what does he look like now?

Jaden:  He looks like an angel.

I didn’t really know what to say.  I didn’t want to upset him again and make him feel like he couldn’t talk about these things with me.  I want him to tell me these stories.  So instead, I thanked him for sharing with me and said I had no idea he still saw Owen.  I also told him that I thought it was pretty special.

Then the painful questions came … as if that wasn’t painful enough.

Jaden:  Mom, why was I locked in my bedroom the night Owen got sick?  All the police were there and I couldn’t leave my room.  I just wanted to see my brother.

This came up during the last session of Healing Hearts.  His memory of that night is being locked in his room.  It was really scary for him.  But in reality, he was never alone.  Abby or Sarah was always with him.  Nor was he acutally locked in his room.  I believe (since I wasn’t there the whole time) he was to stay in his room while the police sorted through what had happened.  Rachael, Sarah and Abby weren’t allowed to speak to one another until their formal statements had been given.  His memory sounds more like he was locked in his room like a dog is locked in his cage.

I tried to explain to him that he was in his room to keep him safe and it was the best way to help Owen.  There were so many doctors and police officers in the nursery, that there wasn’t any where for him to go.  I had even been backed into a corner and I couldn’t even move in the nursery.  I asked him if he remembered the next day when Doug and I had come home to shower.  Jaden asked to see his brother again and we said of course.  Later that afternoon we made sure someone brought him up to the hospital for a visit.  We just had to wait until things had calmed down before he could see Owen.

It kills me that this is hurting Jaden.  In the moment I did everything I could to protect him.  I remember calling out to see who had Jaden in between CPR compressions.  I remember texting Rachael all night asking her how he was doing.  I spoke with the family counselors before Jaden came to visit – to make sure I did things the best way for Jaden’s healing and understanding.  I didn’t want him to have any anger about the situation.  I wanted to handle it in the “right” way.  In a healthy way.

You hear about kids who are angry later on in life because they felt left out of a family tragedy.  In the moment, parents think they are protecting their kids, but in the end, the kids feel abandoned.  I tried to stay open and let Jaden be where he wanted to be.  I opened myself up to include him, thinking that it would heal him.  Like it was the magic answer to making sure Jaden didn’t feel pain from this.  I had myself convinced that he was really too young to remember this in great detail.  It would eventually become a vague memory for him.  Who was I kidding?  What kind of powers did I really think I had to protect Jaden from this kind of pain? Maybe someday it will be a vague memory, but not today.

He asked me about all the tubes.  He remembers what Owen looked like quite vividly.  The details … what was the tube in his mouth for?  What was the tube in his nose for?

There is just no protecting your children from the world.  It’s sort of like the first heart-break.  You know they are going to have their heart broken by a boyfriend or girlfriend at some point in their life … there is no stopping it.  As long as there is love, there will be pain.  As parent’s it matters what we say and do before and after the life changing events.  I wish I could just protect him from all this.  I would carry the grief for all my kids if I could.  I would rather die a million deaths than Jaden, Weston or Logan feeling the pain of loosing Owen.  But I can’t.  It doesn’t work that way.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today if my mom had been able to protect me from all my pain.  In some ways I know it’s good for them … I just wish they had “normal” pain – like a first breakup, not making the basketball team, getting into a fight with your best friend.  I never imagined that my boys would feel the pain of loosing their baby brother.

The thought of an angel reading bedtime stories with us is oddly comforting.  What does an angel named Owen look like?  Does he have the halo and the white feathered wings?  Or perhaps there are no words we can use to describe the beauty of God’s angels …

Love, Mel


  1. I can’t say I can totally relate but we lost justins dad,jaelynns papa,7months ago and Jaelynn seems to just now be htting the anger stage as well. I know its different loosing a sibling but her papa has lived with us her whole life and helped take care of her since day one. She too sees him at bath time,dinner and in her dreams. I think kids have the ability to see the angels simply because they’re just so innocent still. Its comforting to me too…I had a miscarriage at 13 weeks and she tells me shes sees the baby from time to time too. I’ve thought about getting her in a group but couldn’t find any near us…where do you guys go?

    • Hi Amanda, we go to Healing Hearts of Waukesha County – really great program for kids and adults! Let me know if you’d like more information on it.

  2. My girls often speak of seeing their brother. They do things that he did and there is no way possible that they could remember him doing those things – they were only 18 months old when he passed away. I firmly believe that children can see things with their innocent eyes that we, as adults, can’t see.

    It sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job helping Jaden get through this. You and the rest of your family are always in my prayers!

  3. This doesn’t even compare but when my stepson was around Jaden’s age he would ask me why his mom & dad weren’t together…the true truth was not what he needed to know. I had to give him the partial truth…he would find out about what happened later in life when he was old enough to really understand. It is our job as parents to protect our children to keep them innocent so they can see the angels around them..
    You are doing just that…keep doing the great job you are doing…Jaden will eventually be able to understand what happened that night and he will thank you for protecting him. Prayers with you guys always! Amy J

  4. HI– I agree with Amanda– I truly believe that because kids are so innocent they have the ability to see angels. I have a handful of friends/coworkers who have told stories about their kids seeing and talking to angels on a daily basis — some are siblings or grandparents that have passed away. What a wonderful gift for Jaden and also for Logan and Weston, now and as they grow older! I love the pic of Jaden in his PJ pants!!

  5. I think your so great for helping Jaden get through this. I know its got to be hard on you. But oh are u doing a wonderful job. As a mother myself, I tear up reading this blog. Jaden is such a smart kid. You all are in my prayers..

  6. I think children see things we don’t. Did you get a chance to read “Heaven is for Real”? It is written through the eyes of a child. It is a short read and will give you a pure glimpse of heaven and angels.
    I’m glad you are able to find comfort in knowing Owen is an angel and that Jaden is aware of that. I’m so sorry that Jaden has to go through this heartache but you are doing the best thing by processing it with him.
    Life is hard, but God is good and is walking with you all each day.
    I will continue to pray for you all and that Jaden especially will feel peace.
    (friend of Sarah B)

  7. *hugs* I think you handled things the best way you could and you continue to do so. I think because you are so open and honest with Jaden – that helps. I’ll continue to pray and think about you guys

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