Babies and grief

I don’t understand the 2 year old brain. Who does, right? I don’t know what Hamp thinks about or how his little mind works. He turned 2, just two weeks before Kyle died.  If I’m being perfectly honest, I’ve never really been all that concerned with his grief up to this point. I know that sounds bad, but over the past 8 months, ive had to focus on myself and Myla. That alone has been a huge challenge, and I often times felt so blessed to have one to not have to worry about. 

Lately though, he has said some things that almost knock the wind out of me. Obviously I have told him that Daddy died and he is in Heaven with Jesus. We look at Daddy’s photos and we ride in Daddy’s truck. That’s about the extent of it.  Lately when he is upset though or in pain (any type of crying situation) he cries out saying “I want Daddy!!” How does he remember that his daddy is someone who protected him? It’s been 8 months! Tonight he was being very defiant, and I spanked his bottom one good time with the spanking spoon. He shrieked and crumpled to the ground. Of course, my heart broke into a million little pieces. I scooped him up and hugged him and told him that he couldn’t do that anymore to Mommy. He finally settled down and said this :

 “I want Daddy. I want Daddy to stay. Get in car and go get him!” 

Knife to the heart. What do I do with that? What do I tell him? How do I explain death to a 2 year old? I don’t know what to do. I feel terrible about neglecting his grief, but I didn’t know that 2 year olds really have grief. I mean, the kid doesn’t know his last name yet. How does he remember that his daddy is “gone” and should be here at home with us? 

*********** 2 hours later ***********

I had just gotten Hamp out of the bathtub and was drying him off in his bedroom. I had him alone, and asked him “Hamp, where is daddy?”  He got an excited look on his face , pointed and said “Right there!” I looked over and he was pointing at a picture of Kyle in his high school football uniform. I asked him again where imhis daddy was, and he said “at a football game”.  I started explaining again what happened to daddy and where he was, only to be interrupted with an urgency to go play with his train table. 

I wish I had someone to ask about their experiences with this. I wish I knew someone who lost a parent at 2 so that I could find out what they remember. I may never know if he has any actual memories as he gets older, but I sure hope he does. 

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