We’re parents. But we’re also humans. We have our good days, and our bad days. Our silly days, our grumpy days; and, as Moms…our moody, stay-outta-my-way days! Our kids have those days too. Days when the world they’re surrounded by is too big, too confusing, too over-stimulating. Days when the magnitude of questions, and comprehension are just too much to handle. As a Mom, I’ve experienced many of these days over the past 7 months. I’ve had to compartmentalize my own grief, to parent my children, service my clients, be a wife to my husband, and to just function day-to-day.
If you’ve been a regular reader of Fairfield County Mom’s Blog, you know that I lost my Dad 7 months ago. I think that every one of my blog posts, except maybe one or two, has mentioned him, or been centrally based around the life lessons I learned from him when he was alive, and even in and after his death. But this post will be different. This post is wholly about him, the loss my family experienced, and the way I chose to move forward with my own grief, and healing.
Life is short.
We all say it.
Does it resonate though?
As a Mom, I found that my time to grieve my Dad’s death was almost non-existent. I struggled to find time to come to terms with what had happened. How it had transpired. I searched for peace and gratitude in the lessons and moments of chaos after we found out about my Dad’s death. I really worked on avoiding feelings of anger and resentment. I knew I had little eyes watching me. Little people who needed my hugs and reassurance. Little minds who had all sorts of questions.
I didn’t know how on Earth I would be able to explain this to my very young children. But I knew that I wasn’t the only Mom who had experienced loss of a parent. We all experience loss, and we all embrace it differently.
I am a researcher. A “find-out-all-you-can-and-make-the-best-choic-er.”
An “I won’t stop until it gets done-er.”
And, I realized that, while devastating, this situation; losing my Dad at such a premature age (he wasn’t even 60), was really no different.
My Dad had gotten really close to my kids since we moved back from Colorado 2 years ago. When he was well, he would come to our house, have lunch, read stories, and play with the kids. They adored him. They adored his dog Cody, they couldn’t wait to go sailing with him this summer, though that opportunity never came to fruition. They adored his black Jeep Wrangler, every time we saw one my son, Jaxon, would ask if it was Grandpa. Even now, he still occasionally will ask.
So, when my Dad died, I was scared to explain this to my kids I didn’t want to induce fear or anxiety. I didn’t want to relay that Grandpa was sick, in case next time my son got sick he possibly correlated that he would also go to Heaven. Lucky for me, Jaxon, my 4 1/2 year old started the conversation for me. He’s always been curious, and wants to understand how things work, and so the questions came naturally.
In fact, one day, after driving to school, and a particularly heavy Q&A session, in between long sips of coffee, red lights, and rush hour traffic, Jaxon asked me some of the most insightful questions that almost let me see into the inner-gears of his brain.
What a gift that was to me. To witness death, and loss through the innocent lens of my child. To take away my own selfish feelings of anger and resentment, and have them replaced with only love, kindness, and longing. Longing for a hug, a sail, a ride in a jeep, a story, a song.
I came home that day and I immediately sat down at my computer. I sat the entire 2 hours the kids were at school, and I typed out all of Jaxon’s questions; and what my answers had been.
Seeing this Q&A on paper was almost a therapeutic transcript of the most basic tenants of loss and the legacy that you would hope you leave behind: Love.
After several edits, and more conversations with Jaxon, this transcript became a manuscript, and then, eventually, became a published children’s book.
I created the video below, to explain more about the book and about my Dad, and in the video you can also read some advance reviews of the book from Moms just like you who have experienced loss in their own lives. Moms who have young kids, or grown. Loss is part of all of our lives. My family and I are no different. My main goal is for you to have a way to explain loss to your young children in a simple and loving way. Death is anything but simple, and the swirling feelings caught up around it can be consuming. And as a Mom it may be one of the most difficult conversations you have. How do we explain death to our children, whose lives have only just begun?
Purchase your copy here today and be on the lookout for a Facebook Flash Giveaway!
How have you explained loss to your children? How have you found peace during a difficult time as a Mom?