A friend asked me the other day how I was able to tell my children their Dad had passed away, as they were quite young when he died. I couldn’t answer her! I replied by saying, “I don’t really know. I just had to”.
It is not unheard of these days that people are dying at a young age. Children are being raised by one parent or their grandparents, a youngster will become a widow from an early age – as sad as it is, it is unfortunately what is happening around the globe. Illness, stress, road accidents, relationship murder or addictions are some of the major reasons for youngsters dying at an early age, and then there is the other reason, suicide.
It seems like there is no control, or lack of self control, in our younger generation.
As I thought about it, my mind went back to the day my late husband died. I can remember the day as though it happened yesterday. Once I received the phone call from the hospital, I had my melt down, but nothing really sunk into my mind that it was all real. I contacted my family and I remember my Mom saying to me, “I will come pick you up from work, take you home and we will sort out what needs to be done, but please leave the kids at school, where they are safe and you can concentrate”. My front door did not stop buzzing that day. There were visitors, flowers being delivered, phone calls, tears, food and drinks being made from one side of the kitchen to the other – but I remained as calm as possible. When the kids arrived home, I asked everyone not to say anything. The news that their Daddy was no longer on this earth, had to come from me. My friends and family who were with me, all agreed and we chose to celebrate the afternoon in his honour.
The following morning as the kids were in the lounge watching TV, I went and sat with them. I switched off the TV and asked them to give me their undivided attention. When I had all four eye balls staring at me, I started to explain to them how sick their Daddy was. That he had lived in a Home and I reminded them of the nurses who cared for him and our visits to the hospitals and home, his medicine he had to take and the days we spent with him. We discussed that one day he would fly to Heaven and be an Angel, and live with Jesus. As I watched their eyes, I could see their little faces change. I knew in my heart they already knew their Daddy had become an Angel, but I had to still deal with the process. When I told them that he was no longer with us, I remember my son, who was 4 years old, did not respond too dramatically. His eyes were downcast, but he said, “at least He is flying Mom!” My daughter, who was 5 years old, took it harder. Her outburst broke me. In fact, it was the first time they had seen me cry for my husband. It was uncontrollable. He was gone forever.
That day, once we had settled and I had answered as much as I could and we chatted about the good moments, I took them shopping. We did everything and anything their little hearts desired, and what my pocket would allow for the expense, and we enjoyed our time together. It was only the 3 of us now. I remember walking through the mall thinking, “I am a widow”. My children no longer have a Daddy. I was numb.
As time went on, I never changed the kids routine. There were nights they wanted to sleep by me, which I accepted, in fact, I think I needed them more. I had been alone for so long, but now I was really alone. I answered any questions they had as honest, and for their age level, as I possibly could. Dealing with grief is not easy for anyone, at any age. If you have lost a partner, or loved one, and have children, don’t despair. Take each day slowly and be kind toward yourself. There are no right or wrong answers, and each one of us handles grief differently.
Here is a list of steps I took to help with our Grieving. Grieving never stops. I don’t think a person ever stops grieving the loss of a loved one. You can never forget. However, time does make the pain less, and laughter cleanses the soul with joy once again.
1. Try not to change your children’s routine too much. If there is no ‘fixed routine’ – start with one. Bed time must be the same time each night. You are now a single parent, and you need your strength. You also need time alone to gain your strength and sanity.
2. Answer your children’s questions as briefly, but as honestly as you possibly can. It is okay to ‘make up’ a ‘fantasized’ story, but remember, they will grow up, and ask more questions. Keep your answers simple, yet truthful.
3. The “WHY” questions will come. Again, answer their questions at their age level. My daughter is at the age where any question goes, but I am still very cautious what my answers are to her. There is a time and an age for everything!
4. Get in touch with a group for family counsellors. I had a group of counsellors who came to our house on a weekly basis to watch my kids play and socialise with us. I made it a ‘fun day’. We would have snacks, play games, chat, the kids would have free play, they would connect with the kids, and it was time for me to talk about how I was doing as well – in the comfort of my own home, knowing my children were nearby playing in their environment.
5. Along with the counsellors coming to our home, my kids and I were also booked in with a psychologist on a weekly basis. We had three sessions of six meetings held at different stages of our grieving. In fact, this started during my husband’s illness, and followed for almost 18 months after he had passed away.
6. Allow your children to see you cry. They will more than likely cry with you, but don’t avoid showing emotion. The saying, “big boys don’t cry” is a lie! Children should be able to learn to deal with their emotions. It is a vital part of grieving. If you are consciously throwing things around the house in an angry state, then perhaps that wouldn’t be the time to show your kids ALL the emotion you have bottled up inside, but there will be days you will be angry. It is normal. If you feel you are having a really rough day try vent when your kids are sound asleep or when you are alone, or with a friend who does not mind hearing your outrage about how unfair life is, and sitting next to you feeding you tissues and drinking cold coffee with you until early hours of the morning! (Keep those friends close!)
7. Don’t put away all the photos too soon. I knew of a lady who lost her husband and the next morning all the photos she had of him were packed away in the cupboard. Time is a healer. As I said, we all deal with grieving differently, but take time for your mind to settle.
As time went on I changed pictures in the house, and when we moved I made the kids their own frame for each of their rooms. They chose the pictures of their Dad they wanted in their frame. They will need to talk about their loss. It is part of the process. Memories should always be held sweet.
8. Make jokes and discuss the memories of their lost parent. If there is a place that reminds you of your loved one, talk about it. If possible, visit occasionally and make it an outing for the day. Laugh about the special moments you shared. Your children need to know that their parent will always be valuable and hold a special place in each of your lives. Even though they are no longer present, they will never be forgotten.
9. If your children are at a suitable age, give them chores to help out around the house. It will also give them a sense of security – as though they are contributing towards keeping the home together. But be careful not to hand too much responsibility onto your children. My son automatically went and sat in my late husband’s chair at the dinner table, and said, “now I am the head of the home!” He was 4! As cute and innocent as it was, I asked him to return back to his seat and tried to explain to him that he is only 4 and does not need that responsibility upon him! (I think that one caught me off guard!!)
10. Give yourself time. Don’t spare the hugs with your children. Love more, laugh more, and enjoy one another. There will be good days and bad days, but if you have respect for one another, and remind them that you are still their parent and they need to obey you more now than ever, you will find the process does have a positive release in your lives.
May God bless you and comfort you. May His light shine upon you and give you strength every day of your life. In times of difficulty, lean on Him. He is just a prayer away.
Love and God Bless,
Subscribe to : lifetotell.com
Email : email@example.com