Talking about him

Talking about Wyatt to other adults has highs and lows. There are times when talking about him brings me peace and really no sadness, and then other times I can barely find the words to speak.
    When I started back at work, after my leave, I never discussed him or my lose with my students. I didn’t feel it was my place to talk about such a topic with young children. I requested that a letter get sent home vaguely explaining what had happened so that when I returned, students weren’t expecting to see baby pictures or hear stories. I felt that the topic of death is a parental conversation. I was prepared to answer any further questions my kids had, but I wanted them to have that discussion first with their parent(s).
   I returned to work in early October and really haven’t had to say anything about Wyatt to my kids. That changed within the last few weeks. I shared this particular story with a few people, but I was so touched by my children that I still think about it. One day I wore my shirt that I bought from Mamie’s Poppy Plates. I wore a sweater over it, only because it was cold, but the sweater covered the back which explained what Mamie’s Poppy Plates are about. The front has 3 poppies on it and nothing more. It isn’t something that you would look at and assume it stood for anything, yet one of my children asked me just that. She said “Mrs. Welch, what does your shirt mean?” Honestly, it took me back for a second, and I hesitated to think how I would answer. Would I say nothing, just say they are just flowers, or explain? It felt like I stood there for forever before I spoke, yet I know it was only a few seconds. I told her what it stood for and by that point, my entire class, which was chattering about their projects, were now all silent and listening to my explanation. Their responses were sweet and some pretty profound. I didn’t get emotional at all. A week later some students from another period were looking at my pictures, which have there since the beginning of school, and talking about Barrett and Grizzly. One of them pointed to Wyatt’s ultrasound and asked if that was Barrett. I told him “No, that’s my son Wyatt that passed away in the beginning of the school year.” The kids were left speechless, which is odd for most sixth graders. One of the kids then asked me why I keep his picture up and wasn’t that harder. I told her that though pictures of loved ones lost are hard for some, it brings peace to others. I told her that the ultrasound pictures I have of Wyatt are my only pictures I have of him alive and that holds a special meaning for me. She gave me a hug and then went to her next class. I’ve been experiencing little moments like lately in my classroom, and interestingly enough I’m able to hold it together and smile as I talk about him. I guess it is the mom in me that gives me strength as I talk my kids about painful situations and allows me to keep composure in front of them.
    It has been 7 months without him, and I miss him more than words can express. My world is forever changed and my heart a little unstable, but I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I give myself credit for being. As long as I keep his memory alive, he’s here. With love- Heather

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