As I sit feeling a growing baby inside me, I wonder what kind of a person he will become. How Saoirse and her short life will shape his. How he will feel being born to grieving parents. How I, as a grieving mom, will be able to give him all he needs of me. I wonder what his childhood will be like. If he will resent being compared to Saoirse's "perfection" as a baby and toddler. If he will grow tired of hearing the same few stories about her life as he gets older. I want him to love his big sister, not resent her and her influence on our family's emotions.
I want him to look up to Saoirse and her strength, and strive to live each day as it comes and enjoy every moment. But I know he will have to endure dealing with coming to terms with death and pediatric cancer earlier than most people. He will have to learn early that no one is "safe," and that nothing is guaranteed. He will be forced to learn that life is short and precious, and that not only old people die. How will this shape his life? Will it make him want to live each day to it's fullest, or will he be a crazy daredevil who risks life and limb because he knows "life is short"?
I want Saoirse's short life to be a positive influence on her siblings' lives and characters. I want nothing more than for them to feel empowered to do something positive with their lives in her memory. I want them to feel that we, as their parents, are able to give them as much love as they deserve, and not hold them to impossible standards of achievement and perfection. We will have to work on this together; figuring it out as we go, learning from our mistakes. Maybe bereavement camps aren't such a bad idea after all.