Being there

By
Updated: March 21, 2016
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Being there

It used to surprise me how quickly people expected my kids and I to ‘get over’ the loss of their dad.   And, in the beginning, I believed that was exactly what we needed to do.  ‘Getting over it’ was not just my agenda it was my mantra.

In the midst of my hardcore grief.  I felt little control.  I cried constantly and my focus was never where I needed or wanted it to be.  I even lost my cool in front of my kids. It felt horrible! I yelled, cried and even chucked things across the room.

As crappy as those mommy tantrums felt, I learned from them. First, I learned I needed to get the cray cray out in healthier ways. More important though, I learned something very important and amazing about my kids. I learned they could relate. My subpar behavior and my sketched out emotions were as real to them as they were to me because they felt them too. I hope that becoming out of control and huffy taught them its okay to feel a little crazy. And, its okay to mess up. I made sure all of our ‘mess ups’ were followed by a talk. We talked about our feelings and how to better cope and deal next time. We worked through our grief together. My kids never judged me. They were there for me just as much as I was for them.

I often felt judged by my adult friends. I heard things like, “good thing you two weren’t together when he died,” “its not like he was helping anyhow,” “we all knew it would eventually happen,” “you need to move on,” “you look tired,” “you STILL go to The Center for Grieving Children?” “it could be worse” and etc. Those statements held some truth but were any of them helpful to a grieving me? Nope. A man I loved and made babies with was dead and this is what I got for adult support? Ugh!

I say, we adults need to take a few lessons from our kids and re-learn what ‘being there’ really means. For instance, a hug is far better than turning away. Asking someone if they’re okay when you know they aren’t speaks volumes. Listening without giving advice. Just ‘be there’ in some small way. And, don’t judge pain. All pain hurts.

It’s no longer my agenda to ‘get over’ our loss. Our loss is forever. Some days we hurt and some days we don’t and that is life as everyone knows it.

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  • Brian Whitney

    Hey I stumbled upon this. I knew you years ago. I have someone close to me who recently lost someone in a similar way, and it is the same thing. I hear people say things to her like “You are still hung up on that? You need to move on” and so on. I loved what you said about “getting over” things. It resonated.

    • Christine Arsenault

      Hi, Thank you. I’m just reading this now. I hope you are well and your friend gets support 🙂 You could connect us if she is interested.

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