Warning: This post deals with themes of loss and death and may be triggering for some readers.
Both boys will tell you without any hesitation that they have four brothers. Henry, Jasper and Evan are a part of our everyday conversations as a family. Harvey often comments on the would-be logistics of all of us living under the same roof. He often speculates on who would share a room with whom, or who would sit where at the dining room table.
Drawings of our family always include all five siblings and birthdays for each brother are eagerly anticipated and counted down. Visits to the cemetery these days are usually fun; there are toys on Henry, Jasper and Evan’s graves and there is no taboo around conversations about death. Questions that may be confronting to adults are not off limits for Owen and Harvey.
‘Are their bodies now skeletons? Are animals eating them?’ they ask.
While they talk about the triplet’s physical bodies’ decaying, they always talk about their full spiritual lives in Heaven. Cards are drawn and written for them on special days, and discussions held about how they were so tiny when they died but are now nearly twelve years old. The triplets are Owen and Harvey’s big brothers who will always be their baby brothers.
They’ll often ask me to tell them stories of their brothers’ lives. They love the story of when Jasper opened his eyes for the first time, or when their dad played a game with Evan called ‘If you love me wiggle your toes’. They love to hear about the day the West Coast Eagles won the AFL Grand Final and Jasper’s humidicrib was decorated in the team colours. My living sons also want to hear the stories of the triplets’ deaths, and hear how heartbroken their mum and dad were. When he was younger Owen used to talk about how sad he was when his brothers died, as if he too shared in that time with us.
While this grief and loss have always been a part of Owen and Harvey’s lives, so too has the quest to turn our tragedy into something positive through the charity we started in the triplets’ memory.