I feel like I'm not healing as quickly from the loss of my sister as I should be. My focus has been on helping others who are grieving, and I can only really let my hair down and focus on my own pain when I'm speaking with my husband. Even then, though, I feel guilty and selfish for wallowing in despair and my mind quickly turns to others who NEED me: my mother, my daddy, Acaijah, Ciahnna, and Corinne's boyfriend of two-and-a-half years. My other brothers and sisters have been an immense support. I don't know what I'd do without them...we're going to get through this. We're a strong family and our ties are too strong to break because what binds us is stronger than blood: we're bound by love.
Yesterday Jamal took me out while Jaslene watched the kids. We had a late dinner, so when we took a walk in the park afterwards it was close to midnight. My shoulders started to tremble, which he felt under his arm. He prompted me to let it all out...say what I needed to say, etc. I ended up yelling into the night, "I'M SOOO ANGRY!!! I'M SOOO SAD!!"
"WHY? TELL US WHY!," Jamal prompted.
"BECAUSE SHE WAS TOO YOUNG...TOO TOO YOUNG! I NEED HER! I MISS HER! OUR FAMILY ISN'T THE SAME!!"
"WHY ISN'T OUR FAMILY THE SAME? SCREAM IT, BABY. LET IT OUT!"
"BECAUSE THERE'S A SPOT THAT'S MISSING AT THE TABLE; THERE'S A SPOT THAT'S MISSING IN OUR HEARTS. SHE SHOULD STILL BE WITH US!!! SHE DIDN'T DESERVE THIS!!! SHE'S GONE! WHY COULDN'T SOMEONE HORRID AND MENACING BE REMOVED FROM THE WORLD, NOT MY CORINNE!! NOT OUR SISTER WITH A JEWEL OF A HEART!!!"
I collapsed into my husband crying. He held me so close and so tight and we cried together for a long, long time. Afterwards I felt so exhausted, but I also felt another feeling that's hard to describe: cleansed, purged perhaps. A weight had been lifted. When it was just me and Jamal together, I could crumble. I didn't have to keep up the facade of being ok. I didn't have to be the strong one. I'm so blessed to have that man of great strenghth backing me up and supporting me in every facet of my life. Before meeting Jamal, I never realized it was possible to love another human being so much.
I don't want to push the issue with the children too much considering they're so young. However, I have implemented several things to help them cope. These ideas are sort of adapted Supernanny ideas. I've put up a Feelings Chart and made many different faces with all different expressions on them. Karmello, Kimora, and Kariah each have a row on the chart with a column for each day of the week. They can change the face as what they're feeling changes. I know they sense the sadness and stress of family members even though they don't fully understand. I want them to have an outlet and be allowed to express their emotions without feeling like they have to submerge what they're feeling. This has worked so well and has prevented several tantrums. When my little ones don't know how to express what they feel inside, they understandably become very frustrated. Instead of having a meltdown, they can go over to the chart and stick up whatever face represents their current mood.
I've also given each of them a box that I let them decorate and label, for example, "Karmello's Thought Box." All three of them have their own thought box. Since they're too young to put sentences together in writing, most of what they've placed in their Thought Boxes have been pictures. At the end of each day, Jamal or I sit with them individually and they show and tell us what they drew. Pictures of Aunt Corinne have made it onto more than a few Thought Box pictures.
I hope that the chart and boxes give Karmello, Kimora, and Kariah media through which to express their feelings and be heard in the midst of the emotional upheaval.