Today is supposed to be our guest blogger day, but I was unable to find someone – well, that is not entirely true.
I was looking for an adult who had experienced the death of their patent when they were a child. I knew of someone, but they did not feel comfortable writing about it. I respect their need to say no and to practice self care. Maybe another day will be the right day for them.
For me as a mom, I worry about the long term effects on my kids because their dad died when they were so young. I have many moments were I wonder if I have done everything that I could possibly do to make it “ok” for them, I worked hard to ensure they were provided with all I could – physically, practically and certainly emotionally. Some days I cried myself asleep worried at my inadequacies as a solo parent. I would stress and ruminate over my failures. I worked so hard to be perfect. I certainly wasn’t up for “Mom of the Year” award any time soon! At some point I had to give up on the notion of perfection. I have come to the conclusion that once you reach perfection, there is only one way to go……down! So now I strive for better. I learn from my mistakes and try to make the next time a wee bit better than the last AND I try to not beat myself up quite so much. I’ll keep you posted on how that works for me!!
That all being said, I still have that underlying fear of how my kids will be as they get older and understand more and more about the true tragedy of their dad dying. Some days it feels like I am waiting for the other shoe to drop and I personally hate that feeling. But there have been a few golden moments over the years that show me that my kids are going to be ok.
My eldest came home in grade 4 with a poster they were working on in class – the theme was a public awareness announcement. I was told that the teacher wanted me to see it and to give it the all clear. The poster was unrolled and raised for me to see. The title was:
Death & Dying = Happy Living
Who knew a mom could be so full of pride by having their child make a poster with that for a title. I have worked hard to teach my children that out of tragedy can come happiness and joy that we never knew was possible. I have worked hard to not let the death of their dad define them, but to be something that makes them stronger, more resilient. Seeing this poster showed me that the messages were getting through – and that my kid was actually listening!!!
I have struggled with my other child and their grief and working to find ways to give the support they need. But the other day, with the thanks to a little angel that has appeared into their life, they wrote “My Dad died, but that is ok.” Brought me to tears. These moments fill my soul with hope and remind me of how truly awesome and special my kids are.
I know that the death of their dad is going to have a lasting impact on their lives – I wouldn’t expect anything less. I know that there will not find a good reason (at least for me) that will help me understand why this happened to us. I know that I am doing everything I can to help my children grow into amazing adults who will lead fulfilling lives. I know I am only human. I know that we are all going to be ok!
I have had a few adults tell me (whose parent died when they were young) that my kids are going to be ok. Hearing that from someone who has lived it lets me breathe a huge sigh of relief.
This reminds of the quote
Children’s grief requires additional care but doesn’t change requirements of parenting, grieving children need all the same things they always needed: * Love * Inclusion *Support
Ceilidh Eaton Russell
Love your kids. That really is all they need.