Like a balloon

When my little boy was alive, he made a lot of friends, which is pretty cool for someone who hadn’t even learned how to talk. I guess he just had a lot of natural charm, which I suppose he got from his mother.

There was this family two doors down from us. They were what a lot of people would call rednecks or bogans or white trash or pikeys. Their kids loved Jojo and were round our place all the time. They were 13 and 9 and 6 and 5, although I can’t remember their names, except Kaatje the 6 year old. We used to let them take him for walks, and sometimes we wondered if we were doing the right thing. We were though, they loved him.

They came to the funeral, the whole family, there were more than 20 of them, and they cried, just like we all did. It was nearly Christmas, there was a row of naked silver birch trees outside a large, frosty window, and we all sung Silent Night, although half the people there were German and sung Stille Nacht, it worked rather well though.

Afterwards those kids asked where he was, and even though I was an atheist, I told them that he was up in the sky, with God and that he was happy. “What,” Kaatje asked, “like a balloon?”
“Yeah,” I said, “like a balloon.” and bit my tongue to hold back the tears.

How do you explain the words “gone forever” to a 6 year old? how do explain those words to yourself?


47 responses

  1. God, Kyle, this was so moving! I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to lose a child, and here you are, having made it to the other side of the night, alive and still able to enjoy life. Lots of hugs, Kyle. You’re wonderful.

    12.05.15 at 11.40

    • thank you alice, so are you.

      12.05.15 at 11.45

  2. How do you? Even us adults have a problem with it. This is so sweet and special, I loved it.

    12.05.14 at 13.20

  3. junelikethemonth

    That is remarkably spooky kyle…my daughter was seven and my son six, when my mom (their favorite grandma) died…I am an atheist, so I struggled with how to explain her death without bending my principles…the next day after the funeral, we went out to eat since it was such a long day and there was no way I could cook…they gave the kids balloons…as I stared at them, I had an idea: I told them that grandma june was gone forever just like when you release a balloon in the sky and it never comes back…it doesn’t mean she is gone from our hearts, it just means we can’t see her anymore; just like the balloon….just bcause it goes out of sight, doesn’t mean it isn’t somewhere….
    As we left the restaurant, my dauughter paused and looked up at the sunset and said, “wow, I bet it is beautiful up there, grandma june is lucky” but then she frowned suddenly, then smiled just as quickly as she untied her balloon from her wrist and let it float away…she smiled and waved, saying “I love you grandma june, I’m sending you a friend to remind you of me”…I cried and hugged her…
    For years she would get a ballon everywhere they offered one and would “send it to grandma june”…to this day, any time I see a balloon floating across the sky, I smile….

    12.05.14 at 01.47

    • wow that is spooky

      12.05.14 at 10.07

  4. No words can ever take away what happened, but know that you are not alone in your sorrow, and I grieve with you… Though sorry you experienced such pain, I’m thankful you were able to share it, and hopefully thereby lessen its impact. Life is long, my friend, and more joy will be yours…

    12.05.13 at 21.54

    • thanks my friend – it was a long time ago – but, as you surmised, it never goes away.
      your comment is more than just appreciated.

      12.05.13 at 21.57

  5. This is beautiful Kyle! No wonder you have so many likes on your page…. 🙂 I think you did a great job explaining life after death to a child. Maybe you will get the chance to be a dad again someday!

    12.05.13 at 02.06

    • thanks susie – who knows, eh?

      12.05.13 at 02.52

      • Keep the doors and windows open….. 🙂

        12.05.13 at 02.53

        • thanks, i will

          12.05.13 at 21.17

  6. clownonfire

    Holy fuck. I am so very sorry.
    I’m so fucking sorry…
    Eric (fuck Le Clown right now, not literally, though).

    12.05.12 at 15.51

  7. That made me cry – losing a child must be the one of the worst things to go through … I feel with you.

    12.05.12 at 10.55

    • losing anyone you love is terrible – thanks for your love

      12.05.12 at 19.14

  8. Gone forever. That stings.

    12.05.12 at 07.30

  9. beautiful. you are.

    12.05.12 at 06.28

  10. Man… I can’t imagine your loss… I have a 5 year old son… I can’t even begin to know how you must feel… I’m truly, deeply, sincerely sorry for your loss. I know those words are meaningless, but… know that someone is thinking of you tonight.

    12.05.12 at 05.48

    • it was a very long time ago and it took a long time before i could write about it but thank you, that is very good to know

      12.05.12 at 09.07

  11. Gday Mew this wont win me any mates here LOL,but when u write like this Im thinking your soul is hanging out like washing on the hills hoist and its beautiful. smutt or sexy talk is not really your genre mate, u have so much more to give the planet fuck the galaxy. Loved your piece. Im blowing up a left over balloon from my birthday and sending it up with Liam now x

    12.05.12 at 05.32

    • g’day splinter – thank you for that, i really appreciate it x

      12.05.12 at 09.06

  12. You never get over a loss… You just learn to live with it…

    A soul is for eternity, as is our memories

    12.05.12 at 01.51

  13. gypsy116

    Hugs to you too

    12.05.12 at 01.07

  14. Touching. Beautiful. The balloon image is pretty cool. I think the 6 year old was an atheist too. Maybe “gone forever” should be “in your memory forever”… in ones memory nothing is gone. Thanks for sharing Kyle.

    12.05.12 at 00.13

    • aw – and thanks for saying that anette

      12.05.12 at 00.14

  15. Kyle*hugzzz tightly* This is soooo beautiful. Makes me weep…makes me smile….Oh my…. the description…the balloon…so sweet.

    12.05.11 at 23.04

  16. Wow…when I got over the shock of the first line I was able to read the piece objectively and note that it was very well written. You should be proud of your boy and your work, in that order.

    12.05.11 at 22.43

  17. Reblogged this on "You Jivin' Me, Turkey?" and commented:
    This Piece Nearly Shattered What Little Bit Of A Sympathetic Heart I Do Have.
    Powerful Words Here, Fo SHO, My Peeps.

    12.05.11 at 22.03

    • thanks fella – i’m honoured

      12.05.11 at 23.02

  18. :*( Fo Sho, Sir.
    My Heart Goes Out To You.
    And I Don’t Really Have Much Of One.
    But What I Do Have, It’s There For You, Dude.
    Please Take Care, Broseph.
    And PLEASE Keep Writing.
    You Impress Me Constantly.
    Hence WHY I Continue Coming Back For More And More.
    Much Love, Sir.

    12.05.11 at 22.01

    • hey thanks for that brad and thanks for the reblog – you have a huge heart bro
      take care my man

      12.05.11 at 22.38

  19. RFL

    There is nothing as difficult as losing a child. I’m so sorry. I haven’t experienced it personally, but one of my brothers was killed in an accident before I was born, and my parents never really recovered. I’m not sure we can ever understand gone forever.

    12.05.11 at 21.46

    • i think you’re right, on all counts, thank you

      12.05.11 at 21.47

  20. So heartbreaking and so beautiful at the same time. I am so sorry for your loss, I cannot even imagine.

    12.05.11 at 21.29

    • thank you rhonda – it was a very long time ago but it never quite goes away – a friend of mine suffered a loss recently and it brought it back – i added a link to another post i wrote about him – thank you again

      12.05.11 at 21.34

  21. Gillian Colbert

    Oh, love. A big hug.

    12.05.11 at 21.23

    • thanks gillian xo

      12.05.11 at 21.24

  22. eroticexploration

    Oh Kyle… very, very sad, but beautifully written. The only babies I’ve lost were unborn, so I can’t say I know this sorrow, though as I have two little boys I can catch a glimpse of what losing them would be like. I am approaching the one year anniversary of my mom’s death, however, so the last year has been a steep learning curve for me about death. My boys are just too young to understand it – my eldest kept asking for a while when we will see Granny again, and I kept saying we won’t because she’s dead, but that doesn’t mean anything to a 3-year-old, so I gave up after a while and just said, ‘we won’t see Granny again’.

    12.05.11 at 21.06

    • thank you for sharing – it was a long long time ago but it never goes away – things happened recently to a dear friend of mine that brought this memory back – thanks again

      12.05.11 at 21.09

  23. Now you made me cry thankfully am sat at home reading this one

    12.05.11 at 20.56

    • i’m glad it touched you paula – thank you

      12.05.11 at 21.03

      • I have had to watch two close friends hearts break one as she buried her six month old daughter and another as she said goodbye to her first grandchild too many people out there take their children for granted and never appreciate what a true blessing they are. Maybe one day I will post the poem I wrote for my friends daughters funeral I know if I do you will be able to tell which one it is without me saying

        12.05.11 at 21.07

        • i hope you do – thanks paula

          12.05.11 at 21.12

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