Children and grieving…..
is a very complicated process.
Parent/teacher meeting was last week for the 8 year old. Wow. I was so encouraged. We seem to be back in the normal curve with academics and wanting to be there and actually liking school again. Yes, an eight year old can shut down from grief..and she did. My heart sings that she seems happy again. My heart is VERY thankful for teachers that have invested tons of time in her emotionally.
I only wish that my four young adult children were as “easy”. Many times I have wished that I could take all the grief and leave them free to grow up unhindered by it all.
A lot is expected of children. For some reason they aren’t given the same allowances that people give adults when it comes to processing grief. One ran away for 3 months to try to escape the pain, another lost 90lbs running 5-10 miles each day to try to escape the pain, another is still having nightmares of the accident, and another is severely depressed….still.
I struggle as a parent with the wisdom of helping them cope with the grief but not letting it slip into being a victim of your circumstances. It’s a super fine line and the line is different with each of them. Understanding that grief is a process not an event is something I need to constantly tell myself….almost 3 years later.
Grieving children often feel alone and misunderstood. How many times have I heard “you just don’t understand, mom, nobody understands” ? I don’t. As young adults they feel the added pressure of “having a plan” (I”m shocked at the number of people that ask what they are gonna do in the future instead of asking them how they are doing right now….seriously??? we adults can be pretty dumb) for their life while dealing with the weight of grief. I’m pretty sure most adults would crumble under that. I want to keep them moving forward but have compassion for where they are.
Yep, they are normal kids. But they are not. Somehow trying to teach them to live with their grief without allowing it to derail them is harder than I thought it would be. Teaching them that they can rejoice AND grieve at each of the milestones in their lives…that it’s okay to do both. That they have to do both because that is their lot.
I am a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of person. Which basically means I can be kind of uncaring. That being said..underneath that facade, I’m still a mom and my children have my heart. No matter how many bad choices they make. I am still their biggest fan…I will still fight for them every step of the way. I still want them to be successful and happy. But what I’m hoping and praying for, is that maybe through this they will be more compassionate people…I see it when they hear of a tragedy in someone elses life. Maybe through this they will value relationships. Most of all, I pray they will see the love and grace of their Savior. I pray they will trust in His sovereignty and care for them. I pray that He will help me love them through Him..and while I’m telling them to pull up their bootstraps, I will still show compassion.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
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