Helping your children cope with the loss of there sibling
The Story of Little Bear
Once upon a time, my dear, there was a little bear whose name was Ted. He was a very special little bear, for his was the best boy in the whole world... well, at least in the Beforetime.
Today, you see, he was a sad little bear. He sat at the side of the road and looked as though a tear would drown him. He was the scruftiest, muftiest little bear you ever did see and just by looking at him you would never know how special he was. It just so happened that Nana Bear was walking down the street on her way to town when she saw Little Ted looking ever so sad and stopped to talk to him.
"Why are you so sad, Little Ted?" said Nana Bear kindly. "You used to be the happiest little bear in the land."
"That was in the Beforetimes," answered Little Ted, sad-as-sad could be, "I don't have my boy any more. I've lost him, I'm never going to find him again and I am so unhappy."
"Well," said Nana Bear. "Suppose you tell me all about it." And she sat down on the tree stump by the side of the road, settling herself in quite comfortably and waited for Ted to tell her his story. But he didn't say a word.
"What was your boy's name?" asked Nana Bear. She knew quite well what the boy's name was, for everyone had known what a special boy he had been. But she wanted to hear Little Ted say his name.
"Christopher," answered Ted, and he hiccupped. A big tear started to roll down his face and straight away he stopped it and was Very Very Brave.
"Why, Little Ted, whatever are you doing?" asked Nana Bear, very puzzled, seeing the tear stop rolling on an instant and the Very Very Brave face freeze Ted's face like concrete on a very hot day.
"I'm being Very Very Brave," answered Little Ted, bravely. "Very Brave," he added on, just to make sure she knew what a good little bear he was being.
"Well," said Nana Bear. "But WHY are you being Very Very Brave? It doesn't look like it makes you very happy and I am sure I don't know what good of a thing being Very Very Brave is if it doesn't make you happy."
"The Bear by the Field said I must," said Little Ted, wisely. "He said that losing your boy can be Very Very Hard and I must be Very Very Brave."
"Oh," said Nana Bear, thoughtfully. "Tell me, Little Ted, what else did the Bear by the Field tell you?"
"Well," said Little Ted, remembering as best as he could. "He said that I would get another boy soon and that would make everything better."
"Oh," said Nana Bear, even more thoughtfully. "And would it make
everything better if you got another boy right away?"
Little Ted sat mournfully. "No one could ever be the best boy that Christopher was. He was wonderful and he loved me ever so much. I don't think any other boy would ever be as good."
"Ah," said Nana Bear, "I see. And what else did the Bear by the Field tell you?"
"He said that I would feel much better soon. 'It's just a matter of time' he told me, 'just a matter of time.. But Nana Bear, I don't want to forget Christopher. I want to remember what a nice boy he was. Does that mean in time I will forget all about him?"
"Oh, I don't think so, Little Ted," said Nana Bear. "When you love someone as much as you loved Christopher, I don't think you'll ever forget him. What else did the Bear by the Field say?"
"He didn't," said Little Ted, sadly, "I wanted to talk about Christopher and he didn't. I said I wished I had my boy back and he said he thought the corn would grow nicely. I said I wanted to remember my boy forever and he said what nice weather we are having. I suppose that all the bears are tired of hearing me talking about my boy."
"Oh Little Ted," said Nana Bear, "Come up here this very instant and not a second longer."
Little Bear climbed up on Nana Bear's lap. He was very glad to be there because it was hard being Very Very Brave all the time and it was so good to have someone hug and cuddle him again. He did not realize what an all-alone feeling it had been without his boy to hug him and kiss him. He snuggled down in Nana Bear's lap, his heart aching for the missing of Christopher.
"Should I tell you what I think, Little Ted?" she said softly as she stroked his little bear head. "I think that Christopher would want you to cry if you were sad. If Christopher was peeking from behind those bushes and saw your Very Very Brave face, why he might not even know it was you.
"And I will tell you what else I think... Maybe one day you will find another boy to love and who will love you very much. But the little soft fuzzy spot in your heart that belongs to Christopher will always be just for him and not for your new boy. Your new boy will have his very own place that you will make just for him.
"And I will tell you what else I think. Time is a taker of many things, but not a taker of heartache. All the time in the world will not stop you missing Christopher. But time cannot steal your memories and cannot take away all the good times you ever had in
your whole lives together.
"And, Little Ted, of course you must talk about him. You loved him so much and it would be hard not to talk about him. You must pick your very good friends
who loved him ever so much and you can talk about him together. And there's a spot right here on my lap whenever a Christopher-thought needs to be spoken."
"Oh thank you, Nana Bear," breathed Little Ted softly, "Thank you so much for telling me that. And Nana Bear, tell me this, just one more thing, can I be happy again one day? Am I supposed to be sad for my boy forever"
"Oh what a wonderful thing that will be when you have happy thoughts," said Nana Bear. "After all, you have only lost your boy for a short while. Boys aren't like socks in the dryer, never to be seen again. In the Big Cloud in the Sky, in the Aftertimes, you will see him again. In the meantime, you have to love the world for him because he cannot do it by himself anymore. When you see a little butterfly flying around, you must look at it for your boy, and laugh for him and dance with it for him. You must live all the happiness left in the world and store it up in your heart to take for him when you see him again. When you are ready, you can begin to store those happy thoughts, Little Ted, when you are ready."
And a big tear rolled down Little Ted's face, and another and another. Pretty soon, there were so many tears he made a puddle, and the puddle made a bath. Pretty soon, Ted was all wet and before you know it, he was clean as a whistle and didn't look anywhere near as scruftie-muftie as he did before. And the tears made the flowers grow and the butterflies come and before you knew it the world was clean and sparking and wonderful again.
Did Little Ted every stop missing his boy? Oh, no, never in a million years. But he learned that it is a fine thing to cry and get the fur all nice and clean and he learned that tears grow flowers and flowers bring butterflies. And Little Ted learned that one day, in a long and far off time a bear and his boy would see each other again, but until that time he would keep his eye out for joy-things to store up and take as a great and wonderful gift to the best boy who ever lived in this whole wide world.