3 Ways I helped My Grieving Child Mourn

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The past two months have been crazy busy. Most of it has been good but some of it has been sad. Two weeks ago, my ex-husband’s grandmother passed away. She had been very ill for a long time. By the end she was in a lot of pain and was suffering greatly. For my son, Conner, this was a great loss. My grieving child had a lot to deal with and I did my best to comfort him.

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The pain she was in often made her irritable and cranky. Two years ago, she had deeply hurt Conner’s feelings. Long story short, eventually, she apologized to my ex-husband and he told Conner. She was so remorseful for her behavior and I think maybe she was afraid that Conner hated her.

When we were told that she had very little time left we talked to Conner about it. Conner wanted to see his great-grandmother and tell her that he loves her. So the day came when his dad brought him to see her. He had prepared Conner as much as he could to see her because she was so thin and weak that she could barely even open her eyes.

Conner went to her and told her he loved her. I don’t know what else was said because I wasn’t there but my ex told me that about a minute after Conner left the room, Great-Grandmother stopped breathing. Conner was still there. He knew what was happening. She passed away and my son’s grieving began.

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Adam handled it better. He knew his great-grandmother had been very sick and he understood that she was gone. While Conner chose not to attend the wake or the funeral, Adam chose to go to the wake. He wanted a chance to say goodbye. Both boys wrote her a beautiful goodbye letter and they were placed in her casket with her.

Watching Adam kneel beside her casket, I could see a slight apprehension on his face. I was prepared to console my oldest grieving child but he surprised us all. Everyone grieves in their own way. When I asked Adam if he needed to talk he simply said, “I know she’s in a better place and that I will see her again.” And with that, he was ready to leave.

Conner is a bit different. Death is really hard for him. He feels the sadness immediately and deeply. When he was only 3 1/2 and his Godfather died, his sensitive little soul felt it with a force like I’ve never seen on such a young child. Last year when my mother lost two of her cats one after another, Conner felt it. My grieving child cried over them for days.

So what is a parent to do when their child is in so much emotional pain? I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers for how we help our children deal with the loss of a loved one. As parents, our first instinct is to shield our children from all the bad in the world. What do you do though when one of the bad is a natural part of life?

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Here are the three ways I comforted my grieving child:

  1. I let him feel his pain – A few days after Great-grandmother’s death, Conner and I watched Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Everything was great until Superman’s funeral. That scene is about 5 minutes long and my grieving child just let it all out in that moment. All I could do was hold my baby and let him cry into my arms. We sat like that through the rest of the movie. I simply held him.
  2. I gave him space – As soon as we got home he didn’t want to talk about it. He wanted to play Minecraft. I let him because I knew he needed something else to focus on. Every now and then he would stop playing and come cuddle with me but he needed that space to tune out and to process.
  3. Listened and answered questions honestly – This happened more when he was younger. When he had questions about death I answered them to the best of my ability. I was also as honest as I could be. Anyone who knows Conner knows that his questions can be very specific and sometimes out there. If I didn’t know the answer, I told him so.

These are the ways in which I helped my grieving child mourn his loss. I let him feel his sadness, ask his questions, and gave him the space he needed to process everything. He’s doing better this week but the road to healing will take time.

How do you help your child deal with loss? Feel free to leave a comment below

Thanks so much for reading!

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26 thoughts on “3 Ways I helped My Grieving Child Mourn

  1. I’m really sorry for your & the boys’ loss. It’d definitely be a lot to take in with Conner being there when his grandma passed away. It was like she was waiting to talk to him before she went. Your strategy to help the boys handle their grief sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing with us at #BloggerClubUK x

    1. Thank you Becky! I was really worried about Conner because he was there and at first it was hard for him but after talking g with him and agreeing that maybe she was waiting for him before she went comforted him a little and he has been doing better. Thanks so much for having me at #bloggerclubuk

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about this. It’s hard to know what to say or do in this situation, but it sounds like you’ve really got a good handle on it all. It’s great that Connor is able to talk to you and cry with you when he needs to.
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

    1. When he first started crying hysterically during the movie for a split second I was frozen. I was caught off guard but then I managed to just comfort him and he’s doing better this week. I’m proud of him. I’m proud of both of them and how they’ve handled losing their great-nana. Xx

    1. I wish you the best of luck with it but I am confident that you will be able to get your daughter through it like the awesome mom that you are. Thanks so much for reading!😊

  3. It is one of the trickiest things isn’t it. And with each of us being unique and processing things our own way there is no perfect way to help them or grieve ourselves. I think you have handled it beautifully, giving him enough space, yet staying close enough for hm to know where he can get the hugs and support he needs when he needs it. Other than pets my children haven’t lost a family member they know. With the pets I found Aspen needs to cry and get mad and really feel it for short time an then she moves on. But April feels it even deeper but yet in a quiet way. She will just randomly cry out of nowhere a very silent tears only cry. Adam seems to just shake it off so far, but being seven I don’t think he realises the permanence of it all. You are an amazing mum xx Sending love #mg

    1. It’s amazing how we know how our children grieve in different ways isn’t it? Unfortunately having experience with both them losing their godfather years ago I was prepared and knew what to do for each kid. I’d like to think its instinctive with to help our kids and to know exactly what to do but that is t always the case because losing a loved one is hard on everyone. Thanks so much for reading Mac!😘

    1. Thank you Jeremy. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks but my boys are doing pretty good considering. Thanks so much for stopping by:)

    1. So far they’ve both dealt with it really well considering those first few days were the toughest. They both occasionally think of her and get sad but then we talk about her and some positive memories of her and that helps them. Thanks so much Tracey for stopping by!😊

    1. Unfortunately my youngest son’s first experience with death was when he was 3 and that was really tough. I’d like to tell you that it gets easier but watching your child feel that kind of pain is never easy. Thanks so much for stopping by!😊

  4. Oh I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you’ve handled it brilliantly Hun. I think giving them space is a big point, so often we overcrowd our children at times like this. Great point. I looked into ways to help kids with grief when we lost my nana. It helped me too. Take care 💙 #mg

    1. Yeah there are many different ways in which parents can help their kids but I agree with you that giving them space is important as much as answering questions and letting them cry in your arms. I’m just naturally a person who gives space because I need space especially in sad times. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!😊

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