My kids were 11, 18 and 19 when their father died. Many days I felt at a loss as to how to help my boys deal with their grief.
How Death Affects The Kids
My oldest son moved away from home, no doubt attempting to establish his independence. Emotionally, I had a very difficult time with this. He was living in a dumpy apartment and associating with people I didn’t know and appeared to have embraced a partying lifestyle.
Even though my 18 year old remained at home, he became distant, leaving me to wonder what was going on inside. I knew intuitively he was as wounded as I felt, but he refused to acknowledge or share anything.
My youngest would cling to me, emotionally and physically. He once asked what would happen if I died also. I reassured him I expected to live a long time, but reassured him that his aunt would take care of him if something did happen to me. What do you say? I admit that for a short while I feared something would happen to me also.
Dealing With Life
Day-to-day living was sometimes excruciating, but there was no getting away from it, life had to be dealt with. The first two and a half years I would never want to relive, but we all came through it, handling each day not always perfectly, but the best we could at the time.
Hopefully we all learned from the mistakes and moved forward. As a parent, you don’t want to see your kids hurting or making the wrong choices, but ultimately, it’s not up to you.
My kids and I grew through the last several years, and perhaps the best thing learned was that life does go on. No one can ever say life after loss is easy, but that’s just life; sometimes it smacks you when you don’t see it coming. If we’re lucky, we rise to the occasion in the best way we know how.
Life wounds each of us in various ways, it’s how we come out of the wounding that tells the truest sense of who we are, or can be.
As a mother raising boys, I’ve found it’s a work in progress, but if we meet the challenges and do the best we can, that’s all we can ask of ourselves.