Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Darn Lion King.

In the car on the way to school today, this was our conversation:
Solly: I miss Sammy.
Me: I miss Sammy too.
Solly: Where IS Sammy?
Me: OY VEY. (okay, that's not actually what I said.)

It's so very hard to come up with answers that work for this little boy, who keeps asking because, frankly, the answers are ridiculous.

Where is Sammy? Oh, honey. He DIED. I know you can say the words, but I know you don't get it.

Solly: When Sammy gets better from being dead....can we go on an airplane?

Solly: can we FaceTime with Sammy?
Me: no, honey. 
Solly: but why not?

Which brings me back to the darn Lion King. So helpful for our explanation to Solly ("dead like Mufasa") and yet not....because Mufasa appears to Simba, doesn't he? Right...."When will I see Sammy like Mufasa in the sky?" (Side note: Yael helpfully tried to compare this to FaceTime.)

So we are left with inadequate words and inadequate ideas and inadequate explanations...

But it's all of us, isn't it? I mean, honestly, who truly and really understands death? How can it be that one day he was here and one day he was not? How can it be that we put his body into the ground ("I helped!" said Solly, when I reminded him of this) and yet we are trying so desperately to explain to Solly that Sammy lives inside him (sounds vaguely scary and creepy), is always with him ("but I can't see him!"), is never coming back ("so when Sammy comes back...." he usually finishes these conversations), and isn't at the hospital any more ("when he gets better...").

Solly: How come Yael got sick and then she got better? When will Sammy get better?

Solly: When I get dead I can play with Sammy.

The biggest and most unbearable statements come out of his sweet little mouth.

And, as I've said before, I secretly relish these conversations.
They hurt, oh....so much. Tears flow. (And, thankfully, often he makes us giggle.)
But I love that Sammy is totally and completely alive in Solly's little world of denial. Somewhere, out there, Sammy is playing with toys and watching movies and dancing in the puddles. Somewhere, out there, Sammy is celebrating holidays and eating his favorite foods and wearing his favorite mismatched socks.

I love that, for Solly, Sam is out there. He's having new adventures and doing things.

Which, I suppose, makes all that stuff I'm trying to tell him completely and totally true. He IS inside of Solly. He IS always with him...

And so I will keep explaining it, every time he brings it up.
I hope he never ever ever stops.

Solly's first few minutes at home; Sam shared his lovey with Solly
Sam telling Solly a story

June 2, 2012 - 10 days before diagnosis
One year ago today...


  1. Oh, the beautiful life of Sammy, he'll be there when we get better, too.

  2. Oh, my heart.

    The love between your kids just bowls me over. I can see it in those photos. I can hear it in these stories.

  3. Your posts help remind me of what is really important.

  4. thinking of you with warmth and feelings.

  5. For what it's worth, I'm with Solly on this one. I'm convinced that my sister (a life-long lover of frogs and swimming) and Sammy are playing in the forests and lakes of heaven together. xoxo

  6. Sammy said Solly was the lucky one, right? Sammy felt confident that Solly wouldn't remember him.
    Well, I hope Solly continues to remember and talk about Sammy so that he remembers Sammy always and holds him forever in his thoughts and in his heart.
    In this small, but very important way, maybe Sam was wrong.

  7. Solly is delving into some very advanced and worthy questions with his childhood pure wisdom, if you ask me. Almost 2 years ago my infant grandson died. I remember staring up at the night sky, wondering where he was now. I still do wonder this. I know we put his body into the ground, but where is his soul, where is he?
    I am in a bereaved grandparent FB group and also read what parents who have lost children write about in the baby loss community. Many nonJews take comfort that they will see their loved ones again in heaven after they die, but I have not read (yet) what we Jews believe about the afterlife and heaven and do not see Jewish people talking much about this topic.
    As always, thank you so much for sharing. You (and I believe Sam through you) are helping and educating more people than you will ever realize.

  8. I lost my brother as an adult. I believe that my brother is always with me. He may be gone from this earth and I hurt because I am alive. However the love never dies, it is thread that will always connect you and him to Sammy. My brother lives in my heart. (this explanation may be less creepy since the "heart" is often an idea. Solly is young to understand this but, in a way he is figuring it out in his own way. I will say, there are things that I come across that I now would make him laugh and I get this warm feeling that I cannot quite explain. Please know I pray for all of you daily.

  9. from my blog:
    My Grandson OrEl was sitting in the living room with his mom, eating lunch. Suddenly, out of the blue he looked skyward (because his mother always tells him that Ricki is in heaven), and cried out: "Ricki! Come home, to Grandma!" He repeated himself… paused… and concluded with an "Uuff (shucks),… she isn't coming….."
    Comment: I was simply SO glad he didn't forget her.

  10. Just made a donation for runner Emily Core who will be running the Marine Marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in October. My donation was made in honor of Sammy Sommer.

  11. So hard to explain death to kids. I remember you posting a while back that Sammy was worried Solly wouldn't remember him. Sounds like Solly definitely remembers him and thinks about him all the time. But I can imagine how painful it is to have him bring that up. Still praying for you and your family all the time.

  12. Ah, the question phase.

    My family recently lost my puppy to a train, and my three year old brother constantly asks where Rocky is and when he will come back. Yesterday it finally hit him what had happened and he had a breakdown, crying that he missed him.

    The question phase sure can be cute but what it really contains can be pretty overwhelming.

    Sending love