Hamilton star’s wife shares emotional final post about preparing son for his little sister’s passing
Kelly Cervantes described telling seven-year-old Jackson that his little sister Adelaide may only have a few months to live; she passed away the next day.
Before succumbing to the terrible pain of losing their child, the Cervantes family had to push through telling their son that day was inevitably going to come.
Three-year-old Adelaide Cervantes passed on Saturday, weeks after entering hospice care during her hopeless battle against epilepsy.
Her mother Kelly, who had been journaling the family’s shattering journey on her Inchstones blog, described getting their seven-year-old boy Jackson ready for the worst in a post published a few hours before her little daughter would ascend onto the heavens.
In the post, titled “My Lighthouse”, Kelly describes how she rarely left her home due to fears of Adelaide’s condition worsening.
“I feel like I’m adrift with no land in sight,” she wrote. “But there is one thing helping me keep my bearings amidst these rough waters: Jackson. I know everyone thinks their kid is incredible but this kid, Adelaide’s big brother, is really something else. He is my lighthouse in the storm.”
Kelly said that she and her “Hamilton” actor husband Miguel never concealed Adelaide’s illness from her big brother.
He had seen her seizures and even helped talk her through some of them. So when the family decided to transfer Adelaide to hospice care, they informed Jackson of what was happening.
“I grew incredibly anxious thinking about having to tell Jackson,” Kelly wrote. “It felt awful to have to share this dark cloud with him but we knew it wouldn’t be fair for him to be surprised by her death either.”
“Through tears, we explained to Jackson that his sister would not grow up to be a big kid like he was. That her brain was really sick and that no doctor in the world could make her better. That we weren’t sure when, but at some point in the next few months, Adelaide would die.”
Kelly placed an order for a number of children’s books on coping with loss and grief and even helped Jackson construct a memory box, which included a plaster cast of him and his sister holding hands.
“To be honest, following that initial conversation, I wasn’t sure that he got it. Death is a lot for an adult to process so how in the world would a seven year old make heads or tails of it all? ” she said. “Most of the time he doesn’t say much but a couple times he’s let me know, in a very clear way, that he understands what’s happening and how he’s feels about it.”
“It’s sort of shocking to hear a child working through such complex emotions and in such a healthy and mature way. Then 2 minutes later he’s making fart noises and telling me about some crazy thing he saw on YouTube. Kids are resilient, man. Really freaking resilient.”
She shared that Jackson had been in therapy for a year and is now more free and open to his therapist because siblings often conceal their own painful feelings trying to shield their parents from further emotional damage. “In an unnecessary role-reversal, the child tries to protect the parent.”
“I’ve accepted that I can’t change Adelaide’s future but I can make sure that Jackson has the best opportunity to emotionally navigate his.” she added. “To do this though, we have to be sure that Jackson is not neglected while everyone clamors to keep his sister safe and comfortable. Miguel and I cannot unknowingly sacrificing his well-being while grieving hers.”
“So, I will continue to get out of bed everyday because he needs me to, but also, I need him too. As I write this, sitting with Adelaide and analyzing her breathing, I can hear Jackson laughing and playing in the other room. Even in the midst of the most suffocating dark he brings light into our home. Guiding our ship on this journey one fart joke and squishy kiss at a time.”
The next morning after the post was published, Adelaide died. Kelly confirmed the shattering news in a heartbreaking photo of her daughter’s empty bed.
“The machines are off. Her bed is empty. The quiet is deafening. Miss Adelaide Grace left us early Saturday morning. She went peacefully in my arms and surrounded by love.”
“Finally, she is free from pain, reactions and seizures but leaves our hearts shattered. We love you so much Adelaideybug and forever after.”
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