Yesterday, a woman at my work conveyed her concern (read: displeasure) for the manner a woman in her church was taking in the grieving process of the loss of her (12 year old) daughter. With the sudden death less than a year ago, the women’s FB wall is apparently plastered with posts as this women tries to move forward with her life. My colleague felt that this was okay in the initial period after the death — but perhaps not so much at this point in time. More specifically, her concern was in relation to the inequality of the posts for her surviving children. Her concernwhich I could not hold myself back from trying to minimize.
I attempted to point out that such social media posts never provide you with the whole picture. As I am sure many of you remember, I never shared the complete picture of my coping in the early days of my own grief journey; I shared an experience, or feeling, from the emotional soup of which I flailed about miserably in my attempt to stay afloat within. Perhaps the women is still sleeping with her youngest to help the child fall sleep, I suggested, insisting that there is no telling how this mother is with her other children in the privacy of their own home. I went as far as to say that perhaps her open display of grief was serving these children in a way no one else could appreciate; perhaps her example of letting her emotions out was serving as in invitation for her teenager to do the same with his peers.
Speaking from my own experience, I shared that grieving when you are taking care of your own grieving children is really tough. Early on, I learned that children need to process the loss in relation to where they are in their own development; they re-process the loss at every stage of development and it is important to support them as if the loss was brand new. I let her know about some great local programs for grieving children and parents of grieving children which might be a good resource to enhance the support that the church has been providing. I do believe that this type of support is critical. [Read more…]