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A place to learn, mingle, and share

This room is for those who have lost a spouse and need support or who can provide support to those who have.

Saint Paula is the patron saint of widows and Saint Stephen is the patron saint of deacons
Learn More: Saint Stephen and Saint Paula

Oct 4th 2012 new

(Quote) Christiane-898493 said: Thanks Tim and Ray.I had to laugh though at that parting shot, Ray... I migh...
(Quote) Christiane-898493 said:



Thanks Tim and Ray.

I had to laugh though at that parting shot, Ray... I might live here, but I'm not British! I'm from the Caribbean. My husband and his family are, in a technical sense - Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland, still considered by some to be 'occupied' Irish territory. If anyone asks, I'm in Ireland, ok?

I realized this week, in talking to my three year old that... he somehow has managed to retain some memory of his Dad. Whether it'd last or not is something only time will tell but, he had a cold and was coughing. He was going about all proud of himself, saying he's coughing just like his Daddy.

Now, my husband's chronic cough (treated by the doctors as an allergy, with an inhaler) turned out to be a sign of his heart problem - only discovered post-mortem.

I certainly never told my son that his Dad coughed a lot and on asking around, nobody else told him either. Everyone has been assuming that someone else must have said it... it seems that the cough, however painful a memory it is to the adults, is something my son remembers, associates with his Dad and ... well, it doesn't bother him so I guess I'd need to not tell him why it makes the adults choke when he says it?

I don't know about sainthood, there are days when all I want is to go asleep and wake up when the kids are 18... but I figure all we can do is get through the day-to-day and hope we're doing the right thing?

--hide--
You're very welcome, Christiane.

For perspective, it's helpful to think about the thought process of a 3 year old. At that age, they have a simplistic way of looking at things. In many cases, they come up with questions or do things that make adults "cringe", as you said. Simple questions are best handled with simple answers. Adults are squirming while a 3 year old is comfortable in his own skin. It's still difficult, to be sure. Sometimes you have to probe to see exactly what a 3 year old meant -- what does he really want to know? Ask the Spirit for help during those times and you find yourself cringing less.

It's sad and frustrating to hear that your husband's medical problem wasn't diagnosed properly. It's hard to say if doctors didn't examine the symptoms closely enough -- there are so many common symptoms for several medical problems. Unfortunately, no matter what the circumstances were, the end result is the same -- you've lost your husband.

Day-to-day is the way to deal with all of this. Yesterday is past, tomorrow isn't here yet, so we have the "present". Time is a most valuable gift. You've been given a cross that's heavier than what others are carrying. Somehow, in His infinite wisdom, He feels you can handle it. You are dealing with a heavy load. Carry it as best you can, offer it up, and you're on your way to sainthood. Tired? No doubt about it. Some rough days? Certainly. But the children are at such an enjoyable age and can bring a lot of cheer to your home.

Oops -- didn't really pay attention to the Belfast -- just the Great Britain part. My simplistic, 3 year-old way of thinking concluded that if you're in Great Britain, you're British. Well, Irish it is. hug

Oct 4th 2012 new

Christiane,

I am now 62 and my husband died when I was 32 in a car accident. My children were 18 months and 3. There was no help for children then. People were just starting to talk about adult grief. I really had very little support. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to let them verbalize - they do not have a Dad like the other kids and yes it is crummy. Encourage them to talk about their father and stay in touch with his family. I agree that you have the advantage of professional help and I would absolutely seek it out.

Your children will be okay. They have learned at a very young age that awful things can happen in their family. Go to church and build your faith and theirs. Overall, I believe that is key as it is what will help them get through the hard times.

You will know joy again and taking care of yourself is very important to your children. As you sort through your grief and become happier, so will they. I believe counseling for yourself is a good idea too. That I did - and it helped a lot.

One mistake I made was drawing too close to family as they believed they could tell me what to do. A position they would not have moved into if my husband was alive. You truly do know best for yourself and your children - even though you feel deeply wounded and not strong right now. Trust your instincts and follow through on them.

I wish you the very best and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Remember God will give you the strength and courage and will see you through this. You will laugh and enjoy live again.

God bless,

Bernie

Oct 5th 2012 new

(Quote) Bernadette-792394 said: Christiane, I am now 62 and my husband died when I was 32 in a car accident. My child...
(Quote) Bernadette-792394 said:

Christiane,

I am now 62 and my husband died when I was 32 in a car accident. My children were 18 months and 3. There was no help for children then. People were just starting to talk about adult grief. I really had very little support. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to let them verbalize - they do not have a Dad like the other kids and yes it is crummy. Encourage them to talk about their father and stay in touch with his family. I agree that you have the advantage of professional help and I would absolutely seek it out.

Your children will be okay. They have learned at a very young age that awful things can happen in their family. Go to church and build your faith and theirs. Overall, I believe that is key as it is what will help them get through the hard times.

You will know joy again and taking care of yourself is very important to your children. As you sort through your grief and become happier, so will they. I believe counseling for yourself is a good idea too. That I did - and it helped a lot.

One mistake I made was drawing too close to family as they believed they could tell me what to do. A position they would not have moved into if my husband was alive. You truly do know best for yourself and your children - even though you feel deeply wounded and not strong right now. Trust your instincts and follow through on them.

I wish you the very best and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Remember God will give you the strength and courage and will see you through this. You will laugh and enjoy live again.

God bless,

Bernie

--hide--
Thank you so much, Bernie.

This is exactly the situation I have found myself in, where the family on both sides believe that since I'm alone, maybe they feel I need someone telling me what to do, how to live? On the one hand, I appreciate the effort that some have really put into making me feel supported, but at the same time, I feel that this tiny unit, myself and my children are my family and the decisions are mine.

Some have gotten upset at my not taking their advice, one or two have severely damaged the relationship with me because I didn't do as I'm told... I've been consistent, I explain to each that I am only doing what I believe is best for my children, but sometimes that isn't enough, when people expect their word to be law!

I feel sneaky, that I have to hide that I'm looking for counselling for myself and the kids. As is, my mother in law was in tears because I am seeking a professional opinion for my two year old who I am starting to suspect may be mildly autistic. It's not the worst thing ever, but she can be a bit dramatic at times. I love her but I don't want to face her 'palpitations' over every tiny issue!

Okay... enough venting for this morning.

Thank you again, so much Bernie. It helps getting a perspective from people who have truly 'been there'.

God bless!

Oct 6th 2012 new

(Quote) Christiane-898493 said: Being widowed fairly early with two very young kids, I'm struggling just about every day...
(Quote) Christiane-898493 said:

Being widowed fairly early with two very young kids, I'm struggling just about every day, trying to make sure I'm being fair to them while not putting the weight of my emotions on their tiny shoulders.

I've also been getting a lot of 'advice' from family, about whether I should or should not discuss issues with them... My children are two and three years of age, the three year old is the one with a million questions, he is the one that remembers his Daddy. The younger boy was only 6 months old when his Dad died and to date, has pretty much refused to talk, except on the odd occasion, to inform all and sundry that, "I am baby"

Is anyone else, or has anyone else been in a similiar position? How did your kids adjust? I just want to be sure I'm doing right by my sons.

--hide--


Christiane, I am so glad you are posting here. It sounds to me that you have a pretty good handle on how to care for and provide for your children. You have good motherly instincts. Trust them and surround yourself with friends and family who will support your choices. I have seen families who, in their efforts to "do the right thing" by a widow will almost act like she somehow lost her ability to think when she lost her husband. Not so sure why this happens, but I suppose it does make is easy for the "helpers" to take over and "do the right thing".


My granddaughter was 6 when my husband died. She had lived with us for almost 1/2 of her life...her folks were in the military. My husband died so suddenly, that I all I could do was put one foot in front of the other for quite a while. Fortunately, her mother was not deployed at that time and was very sensitive to her needs. My granddaughter was with me for about a year last year while her folks were in Afganistan. Whenever she wanted to talk about her grandfather, we did. In fact, we were able to laugh about things she remembered her grandfather doing. She surpised me when she started making duck sounds that he used to make and then laughing. I found that she loved to hear stories about her grandfather, her mother, aunt and uncle and herself when she was little. So each time she asked to hear another story, I would tell it. I think those stories connected her not only with her grandfather but also they wrapped her up in her family and made her feel part of something bigger than herself, which I think today's children may not have as much as I did when I was a child...especially children who move so much like those who are in the military.


Another thing we found that was helpful was play therphy. I deal with this a lot in my work. Children who are so young like yours do very well with play therpy. They have fun and don't even realize they are in counseling. My granddaughter looked forward to going each week while her folks were in Afganistan and I was surprised to hear that her grandfather's name came up more than once.


My children were adults when their dad died and their grief was awful to watch. But, now when we are together, we all find ourselves laughing at some of the fun things their father used to do. That is a long way from the first Christmas when two of my children argued over who was going to make the meatballs that their father always made at Christmas...one supported his position because he was the only son and therefore he should take his dad's place in this important (and it was a very important part of our Christmas) matter and the other supported hers because she always helped her dad make the meatballs. The irony of this first Christmas is that Christmas was always fun because their father made it fun and that first Christmas was a competition in the kitchen that wasn't much fun at all.


Lastly, I encourage you to take care of yourself first. There is a very good reason that the airlines warn parents to put their oxegin mask on first before putting their children's own. You are the best person to care for your children, so take very good care of yourself so you can. I look forward to more of your posts and updates on the children.


- Elizabeth


PS My granddaughter loved to look at old pictures of our family and had a million questions about them. So we put up some of those pictures in her room. She began to look at her grandfather as a real person in heaven talking to God about her rather than just someone from her past.

Oct 7th 2012 new

My stepdaughter was older when her father, my spouse passed away. However, i dated a CM who is a widower and I asked him how they adjusted. His children were around 9, 12 and 13. He stated they never talked about it. This was somewhat shocking for me since I am a person to deal with matters and help relieve pain. I was not ok in accepting how they dealt with it and was truly uneasy. It sent a signal that he was not at all in tune to their feelings because he was not at all in tune to his own. His eldest daughter is in college and has certain behaviors that he is a little disturbed by, so I say, do I blame her? No way. I blame him for not taking the initiative to help his children get through the heavy loss that is probably consuming them still to this day.

Its healthy to speak with professionals which includes through the church. Children are keen on sorrow, loss and behaviors do start up that you are not familiar with. Definitely get help to help them to process this loss.

Oct 8th 2012 new

My boys were 1, 3 and 5 when their father died very suddenly almost three years ago. The kids and I were out of state helping my Mom out after a knee surgery when my husband slipped into a diabetic coma and passed away. My oldest has the most memories, and struggles letting my out of his sight (almost literally). The middle child has the most behavior problems that have manifested from the grief and confusion. My youngest doesn't remember Daddy at all, but is the one who is most in tune to me missing him. He clues into my grief so quickly and consoles me with "I miss Daddy." He knows that is why some days are rough for me. THEY have been my therapy. God knew what he was doing giving me those three rascals. My advice is "pray, pray, pray." I also recommend reading "Holy Abandonment" and "The Holy Will of God." They gave me enormous comfort as they dramatically altered my perspective. God Bless, and let me know if you want to chat more, Christina

Oct 12th 2012 new

(Quote) Christiane-898493 said: (Quote) Bernadette-792394 said: One mistake I made was drawi...
(Quote) Christiane-898493 said:

Quote:
Bernadette-792394 said:

[/quote] One mistake I made was drawing too close to family as they believed they could tell me what to do. A position they would not have moved into if my husband was alive. You truly do know best for yourself and your children - even though you feel deeply wounded and not strong right now. Trust your instincts and follow through on them...... God bless, Bernie


Thank you so much, Bernie.

This is exactly the situation I have found myself in, where the family on both sides believe that since I'm alone, maybe they feel I need someone telling me what to do, how to live? On the one hand, I appreciate the effort that some have really put into making me feel supported, but at the same time, I feel that this tiny unit, myself and my children are my family and the decisions are mine.

Some have gotten upset at my not taking their advice, one or two have severely damaged the relationship with me because I didn't do as I'm told... I've been consistent, I explain to each that I am only doing what I believe is best for my children, but sometimes that isn't enough, when people expect their word to be law!

I feel sneaky, that I have to hide that I'm looking for counselling for myself and the kids. As is, my mother in law was in tears because I am seeking a professional opinion for my two year old who I am starting to suspect may be mildly autistic. It's not the worst thing ever, but she can be a bit dramatic at times. I love her but I don't want to face her 'palpitations' over every tiny issue!

--hide--


Christine;
You don't find a balance Christine, you walk the road together, always, as much as they will allow you to.

And that is, the three of you, with your husband along in Spirit.
And your extended families can come along too IF, Only IF, they allow for God's direction.
My heart goes out to you. We need family yet we do not need more of the grief that often comes with it, they are grieving too, just not in a healthy way for you.
My kids were 11 months, 3 yrs, 10 and 11 years old when Steve died. I 'lost' the older two to their grief and family unknowingly helped it happen. It has caused rifts between all with judgements on all sides. The boys, in the meantime now young men, will come back to emotional health someday, but it will be a long road paved with lots of prayers. I forgive family for their ignorance but I swear that I should have listened to heaven telling me to trust and not to rely on their help, to have relyed on heaven's direction more.

You are in charge now, the head of your household, with God at the helm you can not go wrong, Trust Him.
Prayers and Graces to you and your children.

Oct 12th 2012 new

Sorry, sp, Christiane

Oct 13th 2012 new
I am sorry Christiane what you are going thru. My best advice is to find a place that has therapy for children who experience grief. Talking s the best therapy and be honest with your answers. My daughter, 10, still ask so many questions every night; he is worry about me passing away and who is going to ate care of her, she does not want anybody to replace her daddy ( she told me on the first week and I am still not dating), why Daddy ded to soon, I am going to see him again?, is he coming back? The list is endless. We have been attending a support group, where she can relate with children who are going thru the same experience that her. It is very important to let kids grief at their own peace. Adults and kids. Grief differently.
Oct 13th 2012 new

My children are adults ranging from barely 20 to almost 30. When their dad was assassinated, it was as if the fun was sucked out of our family. It took over a year before they started asking questions. Because my husband was assassinated by someone he trusted and in the line of duty (military), and because four of five of my children are military, there have been a wide range of responses. My daughter does not want people to think she is getting promotions due to her dad's hero status, thus she hides all references to him on her FB. One son got angry. Another wants to go to Afghanistan. Another eats too much. Another has distanced himself from the rest of the family (the only non-military guy). The point is that I can't fix the hurts in my children. I have tried. I keep reaching out. I was the parent that they all ran to, but how does one fix the pain in one's children when one can't fix the loss. I am patient, however. They all have faith and I keep reaching out. Becoming a grandma for the first time did help. I stand with you.

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