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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
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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" rolling eyes

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.

Sep 29th 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--


Sorry, Christiane, I tried responding to you a few days ago but my phone wasn't cooperating. Children process grief much differently than adults. Mine were 9 and 10 at the time and some of their behaviors I viewed as insensitive, but found out from counselors that they were entirely normal for their age group. I would recommend seeking a professional grief counselor. It helps to know why they think what they do. Also, I found Angel books where they could draw pictures or write those things they remember about their dad. It helps them remember.

I'm sorry for your loss and sincerely wish you didn't have to go through this. Our children give us a reason to wake up. I found that because if them, there is still plenty to laugh about. Prayers ascending for you and your family.

Sep 29th 2012 new

And,while juggling your grief and caring for them can be exhausting, rest assured that your love and prayers will see them through. A priest assured me that my children would have an empathy that mist others their age will never attain. I can see it now, when at the time all I worried about was that their lives were shattered and they'd seek non-healthy ways to cope down the road.

Please let me know how you are doing. I didn't know anyone that was going through this with young children. There are some good support systems out there and I'd be happy to share some if those resources with you.

Kathy

Sep 30th 2012 new
Christiane - My deepest condolences. My young ones were 3 and 4 when they lost their mom. Although difficult at times, I feel the more we talk about their mom the better. I believe they understood the loss much better than most folks think. It is a beautiful Holy Spirit inspired understanding. An understanding of a child is often more insightful and true to our Faith than many adults, in my experience. I focus on our need to pray for Mommy or through Mommy. Our Faith tells us she is very much alive....and our prayers have real effect. I believe in a spiritual way they can be every bit as close to their mom in death as on life....keeping you, you kids, and late husband in prayer.... Jerry
Sep 30th 2012 new

(Quote) Jerry-440743 said: Christiane - My deepest condolences. My young ones were 3 and 4 when they lost their mom. Although diffi...
(Quote) Jerry-440743 said: Christiane - My deepest condolences. My young ones were 3 and 4 when they lost their mom. Although difficult at times, I feel the more we talk about their mom the better. I believe they understood the loss much better than most folks think. It is a beautiful Holy Spirit inspired understanding. An understanding of a child is often more insightful and true to our Faith than many adults, in my experience. I focus on our need to pray for Mommy or through Mommy. Our Faith tells us she is very much alive....and our prayers have real effect. I believe in a spiritual way they can be every bit as close to their mom in death as on life....keeping you, you kids, and late husband in prayer.... Jerry
--hide--


This is a lovely first post, Jerry. Welcome to the forums and may God bless your family as well!

Sep 30th 2012 new

(Quote) Kathy-635104 said: This is a lovely first post, Jerry. Welcome to the forums and may God bless your family a...
(Quote) Kathy-635104 said:



This is a lovely first post, Jerry. Welcome to the forums and may God bless your family as well!

--hide--


Thank you, Kathy and Jerry. I hope you and your kids have found ways to come to terms with the loss.

For me, I have been feeling pretty 'boxed in' lately... I got such criticism for seeking counselling for myself that I decided not to tell the family that I'm organizing counselling for my 3 and a half year old son. He's got a million questions that I'm simply afraid to give the wrong answer to.

I can't explain a heart attack to him... I don't want to lie to him either and as for letting him draw his own conclusions? I overheard him tell a neighbour's child that, 'Daddy died because he touched a cigarette once'. While it's a great anti-smoking message, I don't want him to get freaked out if he sees his aunts smoking!

My husband's family believe firmly in ignoring the child's questions and not discussing the deceased - at all. I've been told that the only reason my elder boy is so caught up in talking about his Daddy, is because I don't let him forget. Well... why should I want him to forget? I'm glad that he remembers anything at all! I think it's a good thing, that he can explain death, heaven and the reason he knows Daddy still loves him though he can't see him, to his friends - all without breaking down.

So... really, I guess this thread is just me checking, to be sure that my instincts are right. It's sort of my main goal in life, to do whatever is best for my children.

God bless everyone who's been there and especially, survived it with their faith intact. Heaven knows it took me a while to stop feeling angry with God, long enough to build my trust in Him back.

Oct 4th 2012 new

Christiane,

My son was only 20 months old when we lost his mother in a car accident. Unfortunately he has no memories of her. Since she dearly loved him while she was here, I want him to know that and about her. I have always made sure that we talk about her. My son is now 12 and at times I see things in him that are just like his mother. He really likes hearing about these things. It is often a good place to start conversations about her. Also in the bed time prayer we say every night, we pray for her.

I also think it is very important to be able to talk about your loss. Being able to talk to people about this to anybody has been very theraputic for me. Any avenue like counseling for your son to allow him to talk about it is a great idea. I have never shyed away from questions my son has asked about her.

Keep loving those children. They are the light that helps us build our lives back up.

Tim

Oct 4th 2012 new

(Quote) Christiane-898493 said: Thank you, Kathy and Jerry. I hope you and your kids have found ways to come to term...
(Quote) Christiane-898493 said:



Thank you, Kathy and Jerry. I hope you and your kids have found ways to come to terms with the loss.

For me, I have been feeling pretty 'boxed in' lately... I got such criticism for seeking counselling for myself that I decided not to tell the family that I'm organizing counselling for my 3 and a half year old son. He's got a million questions that I'm simply afraid to give the wrong answer to.

I can't explain a heart attack to him... I don't want to lie to him either and as for letting him draw his own conclusions? I overheard him tell a neighbour's child that, 'Daddy died because he touched a cigarette once'. While it's a great anti-smoking message, I don't want him to get freaked out if he sees his aunts smoking!

My husband's family believe firmly in ignoring the child's questions and not discussing the deceased - at all. I've been told that the only reason my elder boy is so caught up in talking about his Daddy, is because I don't let him forget. Well... why should I want him to forget? I'm glad that he remembers anything at all! I think it's a good thing, that he can explain death, heaven and the reason he knows Daddy still loves him though he can't see him, to his friends - all without breaking down.

So... really, I guess this thread is just me checking, to be sure that my instincts are right. It's sort of my main goal in life, to do whatever is best for my children.

God bless everyone who's been there and especially, survived it with their faith intact. Heaven knows it took me a while to stop feeling angry with God, long enough to build my trust in Him back.

--hide--
Christiane -- In the normal course of life, you shouldn't have lost your husband at an early age. First, there's the grieving on your part, and at the same time, seeing the need to go on because you have two children to raise. There's no problem or shame in getting counselling -- it really comes from NOT getting professional help if you need it. It's not unusual for people who lose their spouses to attend counseling sessions to help put things in perspective and be able to eliminate at least some of the stress. How can that be criticized? If your family has a problem with it, you don't have to tell them.

Do you really want your children to forget their father? It would actually be a dishonor to him to stuff all memories away. The children need open and honest answers. They can't absorb everything at once, so a gradual approach is more sensible. Also, you have to tailor your talks to their needs and intellectual capabilities. You can't soft soap the situation -- children have a way of seeing right through that. There's a way of being gentle in your conversations without euphemisms or being too blunt. They need to know that they didn't cause the problem, that they still have a mommy who will be with them, and some information about their father. Even the 3 year old won't remember much about his father. Right now, he's loaded with questions. Try to take them one at a time, or just a couple of them. There's only so much they can absorb.Certainly counseling can be helpful to the children.

Just in case the funeral home didn't make you aware of it, there are some bookets and pamphlets that can guide you as far as how to share information with the children. The funeral homes usually have some on hand to give out.

Have you talked to your parish priest? Many of them have experience in counseling and can add the spiritual dimension.

The big difficulty is trying to make sense out of all of this. If you're having a hard time with it, think of the children who are of such tender years that they can't grasp a lot of the concepts that come into play.

Be sure to make time for yourself -- some "me time". It'll help. Single parenthood isn't easy, as anyone here can tell you. Selflessness and sacrifice are standard for the role. Yes -- you'll be tired for quite awhile until the children are capable of taking care of themselves. Feeling overwhelmed is a sign that you need to step back and get things into perspective once again. My own thought is that single parents in situations such as yours are close to sainthood on earth.

Try your best to maintain spiritual health. It's good to have a solid foundation and can improve your outlook.

It won't be easy, but a countless number of people have suffered through similar situations and have made through just fine. If you can't rely upon relatives to be your support network, try your friends. Your situation isn't hopeless -- but it is difficult. While your children can wear you out at times, they are also a source of strength -- watching them grow and develop along with their laughter and merriment.

Place your trust in the God of your Faith. The Spirit works wonders. Don't be shy about asking the Almighty for help. That's His job.

Try to keep up that well-known British "stiff upper lip".

Blessings upon your endeavors..... hug

Oct 4th 2012 new

(Quote) Ray-566531 said: Christiane -- Try to keep up that well-known British "stiff upper lip".
(Quote) Ray-566531 said:

Christiane -- Try to keep up that well-known British "stiff upper lip".

--hide--


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? shhh

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. wide eyed

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?

Oct 4th 2012 new

I can relate so much to all you have said. Grief is exhausting, then add in the additional responsibility of being a full time mom to young children. Unless your family is close, it is hard to find time for yourself. Walks help. The kids can join in and it gives you a chance to clear your mind.

My kids were afraid to talk about their dad. If I joked about something he said or did, they thought I was being disrespectful. I explained that is how we keep him alive in our hearts. It allowed them the freedom to talk about their own memories. While, what they remember and what happened are sometimes different, their dad was always the hero and I never spoke against that. You are the parent. You lost your husband. Your children wear his smile and will be a constant reminder of him in your life. Celebrate that in them. It could be his family can't yet grasp their loss. Everyone is on a different path.

My husband's brothers didn't mention his name for a few years. That hurt me, as he was all I could think about when I was with them. You need to trust your heart on how to raise your children. My kids refer to "their fathers who art in heaven." They know that when I can't be with them, their dad is. He will always be a part of your life. Better to let it be a good memory rather than taboo.

My prayers are with you and your children. Love them and they will turn out just fine.

Kathy

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