Hey little one: Slice of Life March challenge #7

 Hey Little One #sol16 There's a Book for That

Hey little one, your grief can be here. Sit beside me. Your sadness roars like a rushing river – loud, flowing, scary. It swirls and surges. Sometimes it pulls me along. I let it carry me with you. I don’t feel that terrible pain you feel. But I feel you.

I see when it’s anger. You stomp and grunt and make blustery sounds, irksome and irritating and full of rage.

I see when it’s darkness and you hide. Under the table. Behind your defiance. Beside your very large silence.

I see when it’s confusion. Your tired eyes speak of anxious nights far from sleep.

I see when you shine, giddy with relief when something distracts you and pulls you away. There is room for happiness too, of course.

Oh little one, I can only give to you. I can’t take it away. This grief is yours to carry.

I give you books to devour. Papers to rip. Walls to push. Staircases to race with me. As we run, you chase the heavy feelings away. For a while.

I give you space and calm. Patience and my hand. I forgive you when you stand close to me after hours of explosions. No need for words. It’s over for today.

I give you stories where you can see yourself. We read them together and let the images wash over us like a huge wave that soaks us and then slowly recedes back to the sea. I read them aloud and then leave them with you. Other children reside in those pages. They too feel your anger and pain and sorrow. Like you, they try to protect memories. They search for a way to hold them pure and safe against the inevitable fading.

I watch you as you find yourself in the angry eyes of that little boy who wonders why all those other children can walk hand and hand with their mothers just like he once did with his. I speak it for you when you think you shouldn’t. It isn’t fair. It isn’t right. It feels so wrong. You are lighter after these books, not darker. Meeting the truth, nestling into it, gives us some temporary peace.

So little one, grieve here. Grieve loud. And soft. And bravely. I know it’s now because it wasn’t when. I know it’s ugly because it hurts so much. I also know that in small moments, it might be beautiful. When a memory comes along with a smile. Tell me about her dark hair. What she called you. Those words she said. These things are yours. Say them out loud and they become stronger.  I want to hear.

Now little one, feel safe. I don’t judge your unexpected ways. Grief has no road map. So little and so alone, your path is especially treacherous. You have moved past the land of sad and stunned. You no longer live in a world of quiet and compliant. You have reached the place where this grief floods all that you are. It pulls and pushes. Sometimes you fight it. Sometimes you sit and refuse to move. Sometimes you kick everything in sight.

You are in it. It is the boat you must steer to shore. I imagine you there floating in the rocky waves. Shrieking back at the squawking sea birds. Watching day become night and night become day.

Sometimes, I cry because I know you don’t. Little one, little grieving girl, I am here.

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

54 thoughts on “Hey little one: Slice of Life March challenge #7

  1. This piece is a beautiful combination of heartache and hope. So incredibly sad to see a child living through tragedy, so promising that there are people like you in her life to carry her through her grief. Thanks for sharing–this was an amazing read.

  2. Oh! My heart aches for this precious child….and it soars that she has you in her life.
    Thank you for sharing so beautifully the complicated layers of not only grief, but the art of supporting those grieving.

  3. Life hurts little ones and they don’t understand. We don’t understand. Thankful that she has a teacher who understands her. Such sadness should not be in one so young’s life. Beautifully written.

  4. I read this with tears in my eyes. Thank you for holding space for your student to grieve. You inspire me to be a more compassionate human.

  5. “feel safe. I don’t judge your unexpected ways. Grief has no road map”. All these things, that “feel safe” do help, but you’re right, there is no road map, no way to take the feelings away. I went through a year with a young girl, (13) whose father was dying, and then he did. She didn’t want to talk, she did want to talk, she hated everyone, she loved everyone. There was a part of me that knew I was the escape, because she fought constantly with her dad, so, so angry. This is beautiful, Carrie, and really should be shared with all teachers, who may have that “little girl” someday.

  6. We all have these children in our rooms, sometimes more than one at a time. Thank you for writing this heartfelt post, Carrie, for us…and especiallly for those children.

  7. You have done a great job of capturing what we all do with the students in our room and how we ache for them when they are grieving or going through a rough patch. Well done on putting it into words.

  8. Beautiful. You capture perfectly what anyone experiencing trauma needs – time, space, respect, and compassion. What a lucky little girl to have you in her life, helping her navigate her darkest time.

  9. She is so lucky to have you! I love the kindness and understanding with which you wrote this post. I love that you see so much about her. I have a lot of students who have been through really tough stuff too, so I know exactly how you feel when you are with her.

  10. My heart aches for this little one. Your description pulled me in and made me feel like I was walking through this in your shoes. I think she’s lucky to have someone like you for a teacher, someone who obviously understands her.

  11. Children can be dealing with so much but we can be that place where they fight back. Thank you for sharing the beautiful way you are supporting your students’ needs.

  12. Such a strong, beautifully written piece. It captured my heart as I read it,–twice. The first to absorb the meaning, the second because of how marvelously you put the words and phrases together to create such strong emotional responses and pictures. God has given this child to you for this season. You are loving her well. I will be praying for you both.

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