How Do We Help Our Children Process Grief?

istock_000005466158small.jpg

Losing someone you love is one of the most difficult things we face in life.  

I have read every book and article I have been able to find on the grief process thinking maybe it would help me understand the process or suddenly make it easier.  

But the other night as I was sitting on the floor flipping through one of the books on grief in the “self-improvment aisle,” it suddenly dawned on me that no book was going to ease my grief or outline exactly what I will feel and at what month I will feel it. 

For each and every person the way that they grieve is going to be different and the pace at which they do it will be different than someone else.  It has been seven months today since my dad died and although it is getting a little bit easier, what I am finding is that there are certain moments that will trigger and overwhelming wave of grief just like I felt in the weeks right after he died.  Last night, I saw that my children are experiencing those moments as well. 

What is so heartbreaking to me, is that as a mother, I want to scoop them up in my arms and take their pain and suffering away.  I want to say words of comfort that will ease their pain and do anything I can to fix their hurting hearts.  These sudden moments when an event or activity triggers their sadness over the Papa’s death, it leaves me feeling so helpless.

My youngest two daughters, Moira and Elle, had their first softball games of the season last night and they both did great in their games. I was happily chattering about how great each of their plays and hits were when suddenly from the backseat of the car I heard little sobs.

“Baby, what is wrong,” I asked my sweet Moira.  She is number four in the lineup of the six children and at times I worry that she gets lost in the shuffle because she is so sweet and goes happily with the flow of things not ever calling attention to herself.  My dad used to tell me that his “Mo” was such a special girl and he always went out of his way to give her some one on one attention since she never really demanded any with so many older and younger siblings that are a bit more vocal.  He was her first softball coach when she was six years old and has never missed on of her games in the past six years. He was in the bleachers for every game last year.  We never imagined he wouldn’t be there this year.

“Mom, I kept looking for Papa in the bleachers and really thought maybe if I wished hard enough God would bring him back,” she said through her tears.  I felt like such a bad mom that throughout my busy day I had not even thought about how this would be their first softball game that my dad would not be at. I have tried so hard to get a grasp, understanding and even a schedule of how my grief would to that I forgot about their grief.

Last night as I tucked her in bed, I held her tightly with her sweet tears falling.  She asked me why did God have to let him die. It breaks my heart to see my baby hurt but is even more difficult when I can’t give them answers because I ask the same question each and every day. 

How do we get our children through the process of grief and death when we struggle as adults to make sense of it as well?

If you have any tips on helping children through the death of a loved one, email Blythe at bwnewsome@hotmail.com or share them on facebook.com/blythenewsome.

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply