How children grieve

My son is 6. My daughter turns 5 tomorrow. Most of their memories consist of Mel being sick. The last two years of their life they spent their Saturdays in hospital rooms visiting their dad. They watched their dad hooked up to IVs dripping chemo in his body. They spent weeks separated from Mel at a time as he was hospitalized. And the last 4 months they saw their dad go from being able to walk to being confined to a bed paralyzed.

And two weeks ago I had to tell them that their dad died. Children grieve different than adults. The day Mel died we came home from the hospital and played with their toys. We watched cartoons. We did arts and crafts. They understand their dad died and is not coming back. But they are kids. And kids play. They watch cartoons. They do arts and crafts.



But they are kids who miss their dad. Mourning and grieving with children is interesting. There are moments when I break down and cry uncontrollably but much of my day is spent being a mom to Malachi and Hannah. It's in the morning when I first wake up and in the evening when I go to bed that the pain of not having Mel here anymore becomes overwhelming. During the day as I interact with the kids hi absence is always felt. Kids grieve different than adults but they grieve. Malachi and Hannah don't spend their day crying but they are very much mourning the loss of their dad.



At bedtime that is when Malachi and Hannah tell me how much they miss their dad. But during the day their actions illustrate how much they miss him and how hard the last two years have been on them. Hannah is a lot more sensitive to things than she usually is. And Malachi's feelings are hurt more easily as well. At six and five my two little children are hurting.



And the pain they feel is one they will feel for years. They will continue to play, watch cartoons and do arts and crafts but they just lost their dad. And as they get older that pain is likely to grow. We have pictures and memories that convey what an amazing dad that Mel was. And that is something malachi and Hannah will mis out on as they grow up. It doesn't matter how amazing of a mom I am to the two of them, they will always not have their dad and there are going to be many times as they grow up that the pain of not having their dad is going to be intense. Their grief may even grow stronger as they get older. They will mourn the loss of their dad into adulthood.




And I know these two have their eyes on me. I cry in front of them letting them know it is okay. I talk about the memories I have of Mel letting them know that is okay. I talk about the feelings I am experiencing because it is important for malachi and Hannah to know those feelings that they have are okay. And I pray that I am everything they need in a mom and that God will fill the void they have in their life from not having Mel with them. They will have questions that they will ask God as they get older and I pray the peace of God fills their life. I pray that as God is providing me with comfort He would fill Malachi and Hannah with comfort.


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