Grief doesn’t go away for us. And it sure doesn’t go away for our children when they lose an important loved one in their life. We feel a compounded grief when our children grieve. The pain of watching them as they struggle to make their own way through grief is very difficult on us. We do our best most of the time. Other times we do our worst when we ourselves are consumed with a big wave of grief. Everyone has a full plate in the epicenter of grief, and children are no different. Some stop talking. Some act out. Others pack it all away and do not face their loss and pain.
There just is no rule book here to go by. All of our situations are different and to pull them all together under one plan of action just doesn’t work. One size doesn’t not fit all when it comes to grieving children. Just like the education of a child take a village, so does helping a child through grief. Grief Anonymous wants to be part of giving back to children. And who better to relate to grieving children, than grieving children themselves. Here they can come online, read stories, post comments with their parents if they want to, and not risk having to tell their story to other children who do not understand what they are going through and even become frightened over hearing their experience. When my husband died, several children who were friends with my son had to go to counseling just from being a witness to our experience. They were terrified that they would lose their parent too. It was a big reality check for many people in our community. The feelings that they have at school can be isolating and confusing and cause emotional turbulence in their young lives being around other children who have never felt grief and loss before. Connecting children through the writing of stories and experiences here can maybe allow them to know they are not alone. And they will not have to risk their friends who don’t understand finding out about it. Teenagers are sensitive about self-image and to wear their grief out on their sleeves is very difficult when you are just trying to fit in. We as adults remember this awkward stage we ourselves went through. Imagine going through all of that, along with grief. I think I have a remote idea now as I write this at how important it is that they know they are not alone.
My son woke up this morning having another hard day with lack of sleep and was struggling going to school. I gave him his laptop and said- write it out. He wrote this and asked me to share it with you:
I realized another very important thing about dealing with grief today. It has been the most difficult thing to process in my mind. It’s like this advice has been said to me multiple times and I couldn’t understand it. Whenever I feel upset about something, my mom would say, “you’re grieving your dad.” As a kid, that’s honestly the hardest advice to take. Ever since my dad died, new good things and good opportunities came into my life, I would always have a bad side to it. Now I know, something that has been said to me since my dad died is really true. I never focused on the main problem and that caused me even more pain and sadness when really I could’ve had less had I dealt with my grief.”
Thanks for reading,
This was Jackson two years ago at his father’s company location for a memorial tree dedication, four months after his father passed away . He got up in front of all his dad’s co-workers and told them how much they meant to is father, how he enjoyed hearing the stories from work, and for that he was grateful. I am so proud of this young man. I see his father’s Light through him every day.