Parenting Through Grief

Tonight about an hour after being put to bed, Luke came into my room crying. He told me “I just don’t understand why my dad had to die”.

How do I tell him? That Sean didn’t have to die. In a way, he chose to die.

Of course, I don’t tell him. Luke is not ready to know the whole truth of how Sean died, and even when I do tell him, I’ll stick to the facts and keep my opinions to myself. So, instead I tell him “I don’t know either, buddy. I’m a grown up, and I still don’t understand. I used to get angry at God thinking why would you do this to me? Take my husband away? Why would you take my children’s father from them? But the truth is- it’s no one’s fault. It’s just me, you and Gwenie now. It’s never going to get easier, but we’re going to help each other live through it.”

I let Luke lay in bed with me for a while and hold him tight, I can feel the fast pitter- patter of his little heartbeat under my hand. It’s hard for me to connect with Luke sometimes. I love him dearly, but sometimes I feel some kind of disconnect. I think it’s hard for me to show him my emotions, but tonight, that melted away. I told him how sad and confused and angry I am. How my heart hurts. He tells me his heart hurts too. I pulled up an old video I’d posted on Facebook of Luke and Sean light saber fighting with ice pops. We had just moved to Texas, the folding card table that served as our dining table until our furniture was moved was still there, Luke was four and Sean was so silly with him. How quickly things can change.

Luke asked to take Mimi, our dog, into his room to talk to her. I’m so glad he did this- when Sean first died I told Luke that there will be times that he might not want to talk to me or that he might want to talk to someone who doesn’t talk back and that Mimi has big ears that are good for listening. He took Mimi into his room and he sobbed into her fur for five minutes. When he was done he came out and told me he wanted to write a song for Sean, he’s excited to work on it tomorrow. I gave him my weighted neck wrap to help him sleep and tucked him back in.

He sleeps with Sean’s blanket and has his stuffed Hippo from when Sean was a kid. He asked for the Pikachu that our friends, The Harper’s, gave him (he misses you guys a lot) and is now sleeping soundly. Parenting a grieving child while grieving yourself is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and I have no idea how to do it. There is no manual, no rules. Just you and your babies, one breath at a time. You get angry, tired, sad, you feel like you’re not the best parent they deserve and it feeds into an endless cycle of depression.

After putting Luke back to bed, I came back to my own bed and checked my phone. I had a Facebook message that said “I am here. No matter what. I will come from Lincoln park to you. Never question how strong you are or how great you are doing in the parent game cause you have two kick ass kids that love you. And that speaks volumes.”

Right there. You see that? An out of the blue message for me to read right when I needed it- I truly believe God put these people in my life- To remind me that in the midst of all the grief and broken heartedness, when I feel as though I am failing my hurting children as I am being consumed by my own grief- that I’m doing kinda, sorta ok.

2 thoughts on “Parenting Through Grief

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  1. Powerful story! Sounds like a sweet moment of working through it together. It IS the hardest thing to do!!!
    Feel free to check out my own blog: widowofwonder.blogspot.com

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