Friday, September 3, 2010

Speaking to Kids

We are so excited about getting to see so many of our family members and good friends this weekend! It will truly be a joyous occasion! I just wanted to take a moment and talk about how best to guide children through Nina's illness. The reality is that there is no magical way to deal with this. Our lives have been destroyed. However, in my opinion it is extremely critical that we adults pull ourselves together (irrespective of how much the devastation consumes us!) and guide our own children in a loving, calm, and gentle manner.

At this point in time I think it is reckless to place the burden of "death" on any child, irrespective of their age. We do NOT know what the end of this journey is going to be. It is true that there are two, very distinct paths. One will lead us to healing, while the other will lead us to Heaven. God of Heaven and earth can give us our miracle, however, I repeat, HOWEVER, we do not know where this journey will take us nor how long this journey will be. Consequently, my request is that adults avoid telling children that Nina is "dying".

At each developmental stage, children's understanding of death is different. Nevertheless, in one way or another, children understand that death is something sad, perhaps even scary. The last thing any of the children that love Nina need is to be stressing out about when/if/how Nina is going to die right now! Right now Nina is doing great!!! There will be a time to discuss those questions, to be sad, to grieve together, but NOT right now!! Right now is a time for TOGETHERNESS and HAPPINESS!!!

I would really encourage everyone to read the entry entitled "Pain" where I talk to Teddy about Nina. During the first couple of days of this journey I had two preoccupations: 1) how to to help Nina and 2) how to help Teddy (and all the children cousins and friends). God gave me the steeliness to simultaneously work on those two things, and with the information my friends helped me gather from research, along with the Holy Spirit's grace, I am at peace about how we handled Teddy's questions. Sure did it hurt, nothing else I've ever experienced, but pain is part of this process. We, as adults, just need to ensure that it is incremental and developmentally appropriate!

I really hope that no one is offended by my direct nature when it comes to this matter. The children in Nina and Teddy's lives (and any child for that matter) do not need to be burdened with the fears, sadness, anxiety, longing of the adult in their lives!! It is inappropriate. We all need to be prayerful and mindful. We need to be honest, but incremental with detail. We need to be steadfast so our children can be secure that the adults in their lives are fortresses that will protect and shelter them in storms, not shacks that will crumble and cause them to have to take care of us! Please do not parentify your children! If you need to cry, go to the bathroom, take a long walk. There may be a time when we will all be able to cry in front of our children; in fact we will need to in order to help them grieve and learn how to deal with pain in a healthy way. But again, right now is not the time! Doing so will only scare children and anger me!

We are adults for a reason! If you are an adult right now struggling with this journey, please go get help from a counselor...medication works wonders :) Please, please, please do not displace your emotions on your children! Talk to us! We are happy to guide anyone and everyone! We love everyone in our lives and my intentions are not to hurt anyone or offend. I just need everyone to work together, in unison as much as possible :)

In summary, here are a few things to remember:

1. Follow children's lead. Answer what they ask. Try not to jump the gun :)

2. It is okay to tell children that Nina is sick. Doctors are trying to help her with her energy, her ability to walk better, and her drooling.

3. It is okay to say that we are all worried. That is why we need to pray.

4. If children ask for more detail (only if they ask for more detail) it is okay to tell them that there is a part of Nina's brain that is not working right.

5. If children ask for more detail (only if they ask for more detail) it is okay to tell them that we don't know when Nina will get better.

6. Please avoid the "cancer" word. If older children need to know what the actual problem is I'd rather we use the word "tumor".

7. Reassure children that doctors are working super hard to help Nina.

8. Tell them that we need to treat Nina like we always have (normal, lovingly).

9. Tell them we just need to love Nina and have a great time!

10. Remind them to have fun with Nina!!!

11. Don't have kids or adults ask Nina if she is feeling better. For that matter, don't ask Teddy either! Please restrain from asking our kids what is wrong, why Nina is sick, how they are feeling, etc. Leave those questions for us! Just love our kids!

We LOVE  you all!! Thank you for your on-going prayers, support, and friendship!!


  1. I don't know you, but I heard about your daughter, and I just want you to know that I have asked everyone I know to pray for healing for your beautiful daughter and strength for you all. I have a 5 year old son, who just started kindergarten and everything you are going through really makes my soul ache. I know you have lots of friends and family to support you, but I just want you to know that a stranger loves you guys and is praying for you all feverently. Love, Amanda Lenssen

  2. You are a great mom (even though I do not know you, I see that clearly), and your family is lucky to have you by their side... the directions that you provide others about how to approach your family are very well-thought, clear and useful... My prayers are with you...

  3. You are fabulous! Again, I know we don't know eachother (you probably get sick of me posting comments...) but I love your inner and outward Mommy Strength... I love how you express what your hopes are as parents and how you hope other parents will follow your lead! Continue to follow your gut and voice your thoughts you are an amazing woman, mommy and wife.. that is clear!

    On a side note... what Amanda wrote above... "that a stranger loves you guys and is praying for you all".... is so very true! You have many strangers that are sending you lots of love and prayer! :)

    Enjoy your wonderful weekend!
    Lot's of Love,
    GVNS Mommy... again :)

  4. Nicely Said Rosy!
    I don't think anyone would take offense to your requests!
    Your family is very well loved and prayed for every single day.
    Your own strength and guidance has helped everyone that knows you (probably more than you realize).
    It's healing to hear your jokes and sense of humor through it all.
    You're an inspiration.
    Thank you for your incredible writing and including us in this journey.
    I love the new photos you've posted!
    We love you guys and will continue praying for Nina and your family!
    Much love, Tiffany

  5. Hi Rosy,
    I too have not met you but you went to high school with my husband, Noah Stokes. The Emsheimers let us know of your prayer request and I have been following your blog ever since. My heart breaks for you and I know no words come close to comfort for you. But we are praying fervently for you and for Nina. You bring such glory to God each time you write. You are choosing to love and trust Him despite your circumstances and that has been so amazing to witness. You have a beautiful family and your sweet Nina is just a doll. We are choosing to believe God for a miracle for you.

  6. Rosy and family-
    we so enjoyed our day with you at the Zoo today...what a grand celebration of life! We told our boys it was Nina's birthday party and it wasn't until tonight that Giacomo, my oldest, asked why Nina was asleep in her stroller rather than out bouncing with him. I explained that Nina was very sick and that we were just there to cheer her up and help her feel better. He asked if Nina was going to get better soon...and I said we don't know...but we can sure pray. Thus followed many, many questions about Jesus, how HE feels about the whole HE can heal Nina and after some time Giacomo finally looked satisfied and said, "Mom, can we go pray for Nina now?"I am so happy that my 7 year old gets that there are things beyond our comprehension and understanding..and that when that is the case, all we can do is pray!!! We love you all and continue to my boys have a physical picture in their heads of Nina and can make those prayers all the more meaningful each night! xxoo