When Tabitha died, Isabelle was just 2 1/2 years old and Caroline and Sebastian had not yet joined our family. Isabelle was beginning to ask the dreaded 'why' questions. She wanted to know why the accident happened. She wanted to know why Tabitha had to die. She wanted to know why the police were involved. She wanted to know why the ice broke. She wanted to know why her sister did not come home from the hospital.
Explaining death to a 2 1/2 year old who wanted to know everything was tricky …. How much do you say? What do you say? How much can she understand? How will what I tell her now affect her in the future? I decided it was best to honestly answer each of Isabelle's questions. It was best to keep my answers short and factual. I needed to remind her that she has two parents who love her very much. I needed to provide her with opportunities to talk about and to remember Tabitha. I wanted her to know it is ok to talk about her feelings. I stressed that Tabitha is with her every day. Tabitha is and always will be in her heart.
Today, I continue to talk about Tabitha. I tell them the basics of the accident. I describe her smile, her laugh and the impact she had on our family. I tell my children they have another sister, Tabitha, who watches over them and is in their heart always.
Amanda is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the Independent Author Network. Her first book, "Stella's Story: Dealing With Sibling Loss" is a winner of a 2018 Purple Dragonfly Award.