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July 12, 2011

Empathizing with Elijah...

I have had a hard time sleeping the last couple of nights. I've just had a lot on my mind and I can't seem to get it to stop racing.

Saturday night was a normal Saturday night for us. I gave the boys baths and brushed their teeth. We got them in their jammie's and they got into bed while I was getting clothes ready for Sunday. Rick gave the boys devotions and I went in to kiss them goodnight.

Just a normal night.

I heard them praying with their Daddy and saying what they are "thankful" for. Every night, they both spout off a list of all the things they are thankful for and every night their lists always includes Maddie...

I'm glad they think of her and are thankful for her but on this night, I realized just how much she has affected little Eli's life.

Rick and I had headed downstairs after tucking them into bed and had began to watch a movie. The house was quiet and we were enjoying spending time together.

A few minutes later, we heard someone coming down the stairs. It was Eli.

I caught glimpse of him in the light of the television and I could see the big crocodile tears in his eyes.

He walked over to us and said "I want to go to Heaven."

Ummm. Okay. I have been praying he will get saved, but I know he doesn't completely understand sin yet and is just a little too little to understand getting saved. So, why would he say this?

Rick said to him "Heaven is wonderful, and we want you to go there, but why do you want to go right now?"

Eli replied, "I want to go see Baby Maddie," as he broke out into a sob.

He just kept repeating it over and over again "I want to go see Baby Maddie, I want to go see Baby Maddie!"

Rick looked at me and I looked at him. What do you say?

How do you console your 3 year old child who doesn't understand why he cannot see his baby sister anymore?

It broke both our hearts.

Elijah talks about Maddie every day.

He saves his baby blankets for her.

He brings me pacifier's for her.

He talks about how he's going to change her diapers and feed her.

He tells me that the 3rd swing on the swingset is for her.

The treehouse Daddy is building is gonna be for her too.

It's like he still thinks she's still coming. And over and over, I tell him, "Eli, Baby Maddie's in Heaven, remember?"

Words that are hard to say.

So, on this night, I couldn't help but let my heart break for him. It took us over a half an hour to calm him down. He just wanted his sister. He just wanted to see her.

Rick and I hugged on him and loved on him and told him that we miss her too.

I thought, maybe, he was starting to understand that she wasn't going to come back. Which made me sad, but a little relieved that he was starting to understand.

Then, the next day he was talking about her all over again and what he wanted to do with her.

I thought, maybe he is relating the new baby in Mommy's growing belly to Madeline's pregnancy? He was only two for my entire pregnancy with her. That's so young to understand.

I don't know. I just know that my little baby boy has a broken heart over his sister too. So much so, that he wanted to go to Heaven, just so he could see her. =(

That night, I could empathize with Eli. I miss her too. I want to see her too. I want to hold her too.

I'm just so thankful that I can hold him when he's sad. I don't want him to stop talking about his sister, she is a part of this family. I just hope that soon, it won't hurt my heart so much when he mentions her name.

We are getting there, one day at a time.

Maybe some of you have advice on how to handle this delicate situation?

I'd love for you to share.

In the mean time, we are just moving forward and trying to raise our boys to the best of our ability, even when they have broken hearts too.

We have some exciting things coming up and I'm hoping they will help keep our spirits up.

Our gender ultrasound is July 21st and the boys are so exciting to see their newest sibling on the t.v. screen. haha. I hope this will help to heal their hearts a little.

Much love,
Natalie Ross
Please pray for my little guy. He's such a blessing to my life and I'm so thankful to have him. <3


  1. Oh, Natalie. :( I think you're right about him waiting for 9 months for Maddie and then she was gone. Now, he's waiting for another baby. Maybe he thinks this baby is her. It breaks my heart to say/think that. Breaks my heart for him. Breaks my heart for you. I know the Lord is helping to heal your heart with another baby, so I pray that in time, this baby will help heal little Eli's heart as well. I'm ALWAYS thinking of you.

  2. Poor Eli :( What a tough thing for him to cope with. He is very lucky to have you and Rick to help him through it though (((Eli))). Love and Prayers to you all!

  3. Oh, poor little guy!!! That's gotta be hard for him...

  4. This just breaks my heart. Natalie turned 2 just 2 months before Adam passed away. We talk about Adam every day, and I wonder what she thinks about it. I don't think she can possibly understand that he's not coming back. I was kinda grateful that she was so young so that she wouldn't understand any of it (yet devastated because as time goes on, she probably won't remember Adam). Then one day it dawned on me that she's going to start asking questions as she ages. It's going to be a long process of explaining and re-explaining. I certainly don't have any advice, but I think all we can do is be honest and open and listen to them. It's so, so hard. Always thinking of you. Much love!

  5. Natalie, it may not be too soon for Eli to be saved. Maybe Rick and Rick's dad can talk to him together and explain things to him about being saved and maybe he is ready to make a decision for Christ. I have seen young kids like Eli get saved at very young ages. I know you have brought Eli up and Church and he has great parents to lead him through with the decision. So I would talk with him see what he says to questions you ask him and if he knows the answers you will know he is ready. There was a little girl at our church who went to kids camp last week and she came home and told her grandpa that she was saved during the kids camp and he started asking her the questions about being saved and she answered the questions all completely right he talked with her and she went forward at our Church service on Sunday and accepted Christ and is going to follow him in Christian Baptizim.

  6. Prayers for little Eli. What a sweetheart, just wanting to care for his little sister. Hopefully someone has some advice on the subject. I am clueless other than pray. I know that God will guide you in the matter.

    Love and Prayers!

  7. My heart breaks for you and your family. I know he doesn't understand but maybe Maddie is visiting him:) She is your guardian Angel. Praying for you!!!!

  8. While this IS heart breaking, the only thing that keeps popping into my head over and over is, "what a sweet, wonderful, compassionate little boy(s) you are raising!" Even though it's painful, it sounds like you are doing everything right to have such an amazing little guy. Not like there's an instruction manual for this kind of thing. Enjoy your sweet family and blessings for your newest addition.

  9. Oh this broke my heart! It's something that I have no insight on. If I were to guess, I would say that he might possibly be thinking that the "new baby" might be baby Maddie. If that's the case, I would just keep emphasizing how this new baby is a different baby that will look different, have a different name, etc...and then also keep emphasizing how baby Maddie was going to live with you, but Jesus decided it would be best for her to live in Heaven with Him instead, and how that's where she'll be waiting for you guys. I don't know Nat....definitely a difficult thing to explain to a young one. But, the more you keep telling him what you've been telling him, eventually he'll understand as time goes on.
    So sorry. :( I will pray for little Eli tonight. Love you