I've mentioned before how most of AJ's questions about Ryan come up while we're driving in the car. I guess my mind isn't the only one that wanders at that time. Now that he's older he understands more and seems to connect the dots more. They learned all about heart health in school. He told me one day that Ryan died because his heart stopped beating.
The other day in the car he brought that up again. He told me about how Nick went and cleared the snow from Ryan's stone. (I should really say he dug out because there was more than a foot of snow covering everything) AJ told me that Nick also cleared some other stones. He didn't know their names. I told him that was Hayden and Ethan.
Me: Do you know who Hayden's mom is?
Me: It's Stephanie. And do you know who Ethan's mom is?
Me: It's JennRose. That's how we met and why we're friends.
AJ: Did their hearts stop too?
Me: Yes they did. They were born too early just like Ryan. (I can almost see the wheels turning and him processing the information. I figured this was a good time to explain what my meetings were.)
Me: My meetings are for other mommies and daddies whose babies have died too. We try to help them.
AJ: and grandma and grandpa's too?
Me: Yes, we've had some grandma and grandpa's come too.
AJ: And kids?
Me: No, there are other groups for kids. We usually only have grown-ups.
AJ: Do you think we can bring the cozy coupe down tomorrow?
And just like that he got the info he needed and moved on. The questions usually come out of the blue right after talking about something completely unrelated and as you can see, end the same way.
Some days it almost feels like an ambush. It's not always easy to talk about when you're not prepared. Nick is much better at talking about it and being honest with AJ but still in a way that's very easy for him to understand. Me -- I'm working on it.
I'm glad that AJ feels comfortable enough to ask questions and talk about his brother. He thinks about him quite a bit and really, that's all I can ask for. I was always so afraid he wouldn't talk about him or include him.
I'm so lucky to have such great kids.