So my mom passed away suddenly in February of 2015. She was a very healthy woman with lots of energy. She got pneumonia that turned septic and was gone in a day. I have 5 children, ages 8-21 years old. I know everyone handles grief differently. I just want to share a few things I have learned, and give a few tips that may be helpful.
*I was in shock and mourning the loss of my mom; I wanted my kids with me 24/7. So I kept them out of school until after the funeral.
My 2 oldest girls cried and shared what they were feeling. They continue to talk, cry and laugh with me and each other. We talk about memories, what we would miss in the future, and how to handle what people say to you during this time. We rejoice knowing she is in Heaven. My 8 year old will start crying and feel sad at all different times. She is homeschooled, so some of her memories were with Grammie helping her with school work; which meant school work was an automatic reminder that her Grammie was gone. She is very open to talk and share what she is thinking and feeling. I always acknowledge that this is a hard situation but we have to keep going; this is what Grammie would want and she wouldn’t want us to stop living or be sad all the time.
After the initial shock hit my boys, they cried, then they closed down. They tried not to cry, acted like they didn’t care and then later came some other issues.
I started by letting my kids teachers know what had happened. I believe in informing teachers what is going on at home so they can help while they have my child for 6 hours a day. If teachers are informed they can have a much better understanding of your child’s behavior. For instance, my 10 year old started sucking his thumb again, something he hadn’t done since he was 4. His teacher informed me he was doing at school and was able to help him while he was there. I reminded him to keep his hands out of his mouth while he was at school; although I allowed him to suck his thumb while he was at home. This was the way he was comforting himself while he was grieving. I have to say there are still times he sucks his thumb and I know it helps him to feel better. He also started having a hard time going to sleep at night. I started using essential oils nightly on his pillow along with some Bach music playing until he falls asleep. My 15 year old suddenly had a short fuse and no patience at school stating, “They shouldn’t mess with me, especially right now”. He just expected everyone to know what he was going through. He had so many different feelings and wasn’t sure what to say or share. He is a strong, masculine boy who believed men need to be strong and hold it together no matter what. Seeing his dad, uncle and Grampa cry helped him to see that crying was ok. He believed there were tiers in grief and that he was on the bottom. I let him know we all lost the same person, yes our relationships were different but he had a right to all his grief and sadness. We have had a lot of short and long talks about feelings of grief. He is sharing a lot more with me, but this has been a long process and by no means do I believe all is well just yet. My goal is to keep him sharing and healing.
I continue to talk to my kids and try to pull memories from them and ask how they are truly feeling at that moment. I specifically ask “How are you feeling about Grammie’s death?” This helps me teach the kids about emotional health and that their feelings are right for them to feel. Sometimes my kids feel like they don’t have many memories with Grammie; I just talk about a few things to remind them and bring their memories back.
We will all have to deal with death at some point. Remember as long as someone has accepted Christ, they go to Heaven and we will see them again.
*Keep looking up to God and keep the faith.