Author Topic: Help Me. Please.  (Read 2401 times)

squidley1992

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Help Me. Please.
« on: March 24, 2016, 03:12:02 AM »
I don't know what to do. I am 23 years old and the love of my life and father to our 4 year old daughter, got hit by a truck and passed away on February 26th 2016. My daughter at first when we told her that "Daddy went up to heaven to take care of Tinsel (her cat that passed away)" she didn't really react. She didn't understand. But the other day one of her friends was talking about her Dad and said "What's your Daddy's name?" and my daughter kind of was trying to distract herself and said "My Daddy......I love him." and started crying. I don't know what to do. I lost my dad when I was 11 so I was able to comprehend it better. She likes to go and light the candles we have set out where he got hit, but we always run into people out there that want to hug her because she's Camron's daughter. I just need advice, this is so hard in so many ways.

Portside

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Re: Help Me. Please.
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2016, 06:35:50 AM »
As hard as it is for us to deal with the death of our spouse, to watch our kids struggle with the death of their mom/dad is even worse.

Sadly, there are no magic words or phrases to say to the kids to help them out. They are just left with trying to power through it in their own way with support from us.

My boys were 9 and 10 when their mom died. At that age, they of course understood the concept of death but, just like your daughter, could not escape comments or questions from others which just opened up the whole thing afresh.

The good news is most children are very resilient and, after time, will have put the tragedy behind them and gone on to happy, productive lives. My kids have but, as I said, it took time.

Just keep an eye on DD and comfort her the best you can. If serious issues crop up, get her to a family therapist who is skilled in dealing with grief.

Best wishes - Mike
The war is over for me now. But those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.

MrsDan

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Re: Help Me. Please.
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2016, 07:27:24 AM »
Oh Squidley, I just want to give you a hug. I don't have much advice, as my daughter was three months old when my husband died. She grieves, but differently and I was spared, in a way, because her grief wasn't something I had to confront straight out of the gate. But there are lots of parents here who have faced what you are facing, so coming here is a step in the right direction.
You are the Bear of my heart dear,
And nothing can take that away.

NoKindaDancer

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  • widowed 2013, sudden.
Re: Help Me. Please.
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2016, 08:30:56 AM »
Squidley-
Almost 3 years ago my husband was also hit by a truck and died. My kids were 3&5. I'm so sorry you are going through a similar experience. I will write more later today with specific advice but for now, I just want you to know that you're not alone.
"I may not be as strong as I think, but I know many tricks and I have resolution." - Hemingway

1979-2013.
My love, my teammate in life.

NoKindaDancer

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Re: Help Me. Please.
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2016, 10:33:45 AM »
Squidley --

I have included some things below for you that I have written to others in the past about my experience with my kids.  We are now almost 3 years out, and we did grief therapy through the local Children's Bereavement Center for 2 of those years.  This was incredibly helpful for our whole family and I highly encourage it if it is available in your community.  Also, I want you to know that now, my kids are good.  They are resilient and well-adjusted.  They are comfortable responding when others ask about their dad or talk about him.  All of this comes with time.  Your daughter will be ok, even though she's not right now. (and so will you)


Regarding people coming up to hug her -- I had the same experience.  It was annoying to me.  I felt like people wanted to hug my kids or give them presents just to make themselves feel better.  The kids looked at me confused about it.  So I just explained it to them matter of factly -- "this is a person that knew Daddy. they worked together. (or whatever).  Daddy was important to them and it makes them sad he is dead, and they want you to know that they care about you." I usually said this in the presence of the other person since they often didn't have the capacity to say those words themselves about why my kids are getting hugs from random people they don't know.  I would also sometimes ask them if they wanted to go back to the car or whatever to escape those interactions. 

Regarding the questions/understanding of death:
I kept all my answers honest and concrete because this is the developmental stage where they are at. When my son was 3 my mom was dying from a brain tumor and I found out what to tell him from our local bereavement center.  I have applied that knowledge now also - "abstract" concepts like heaven and angles watching them can be confusing (so my 5 year old says daddy is in heaven, but I don't suggest it to them).  The book called Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie and The Family Book by Todd Parr have been helpful to my 3 year old.  Also, I have been very straightforward about the "medical" side of all this - my DH and I were/are both doctors, so the kids are used to dinner discussions about organs and bones and such. 

Here is mostly what I've told them: Daddy was hit by a car while walking on the sidewalk on the way to work and that the doctors and nurses tried hard to save him but his body was too hurt and he died.  His heart didn't have enough blood to pump. Dying means that he is dead and he won't come back.  We can see him in our memories and in pictures.

Other questions they had:
1. where is daddy? - at first, his body is at the funeral home but his spirit has left his body.  later...his ashes are in the box in mommy's room.

2. his ashes? why do they burn him?... - this is what daddy wanted.  he wanted to be cremated - where they heat up his body and turn it into ashes.  one day we can spread them somewhere else.

3. was his face hurt? could he walk? other questions about EXACTLY what happened to him?  - I just answered very honestly.  his spleen was hurt, this stores the blood and his liver was hurt.  they tried hard to fix the bleeding but it was too much and his heart didn't have enough blood to pump to his brain and his body. 

4. when can I see him?  we can look at pictures and see him in our memories (personal choice not to include heaven...I don't want my kids to want to go there yet to see him, and is the whole abstract thing...but I understand that others will do this very differently)

5. how come xxx has a daddy? lifetimes are different for different people.  your daddy had a shorter lifetime.

I found that childrens books are a wonderful way for them to learn about death and their own grief and how to process.  It is a nice way for them to hear something over and over and over and slowly process it.  These are the books that helped my kids the most.

Lifetimes - the beautiful way to explain death to children - by Bryan Mellonie
The Family Book - by Todd Parr
The Feelings Book - by Todd Parr
The Invisible String - by Patrice Karst
Wherever You Are - my love will find you by Nancy Tillman
I'd know you anywhere, my love - by Nancy Tillman
Always By My Side - by Susan Kerner
 
http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/grief
video to watch with the kids. The whole toolkit also has a book "something small - a story about remembering"


It is a horrible thing to have to explain to a small child that a parent is dead.  I'm sorry you have to do it.  There is no right or wrong way and we often just have to find the way that works for us and our family.
"I may not be as strong as I think, but I know many tricks and I have resolution." - Hemingway

1979-2013.
My love, my teammate in life.

TalksToAngels

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Re: Help Me. Please.
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2016, 09:16:55 AM »
So sorry wish I had more to offer

SoVerySad

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Re: Help Me. Please.
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2016, 01:16:33 PM »
My children were older when their dad died, so I don't have helpful age-specific advice in that respect. But I do know how hard it is to see our kids dealing with such a tremendous loss at such tender ages. What we want to fix for them, we can't. We can only support them. It hurts worse than our own pain, IMO.

Sending you tight hugs...
Without you, Baby, I'm not me.

Virgo

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Re: Help Me. Please.
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2016, 12:23:14 AM »
I'm so sorry for your loss.

My daughters were 14, 12, and 6 when my husband died.  My 6yo's biggest fear was that she wouldn't remember her daddy. I got her a journal to write memories down. She's 8 and still writes in it. Not just memories but things she wants to share with her daddy.  I know your daughter probably isn't writing yet, but maybe she could tell you what to write. Maybe sharing memories will help her process him being gone.
Jen

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." Dr. Seuss

April

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Re: Help Me. Please.
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2016, 11:01:41 PM »
my children were 17, 11, 9 and 2 when my husband passed last year.. they all handle it sooo differently.. at 4 your daughter can kind of remember her Daddy.. my now 3 year old.. I didn't think did.. till one day I had a father of one of my sons friend here fixing the dryer.. she squatted down next to him and started handing him tools.. saying.. "here you go Daddy".. I couldn't stop the tears.. It was surreal (this poor man fixing my dryer.. I know felt so awkward and was trying so hard to brush it off).. my husband loved her so much.. he loved all our children.. but she was the baby.. and she won't remember him at all.

Tatianakm

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Re: Help Me. Please.
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2016, 10:59:02 AM »
[quote author=April link=topic=2195.msg28398#msg28398 date=1462334501
 she squatted down next to him and started handing him tools.. saying.. "here you go Daddy".. I couldn't stop the tears.. It was surreal (this poor man fixing my dryer.. I know felt so awkward and was trying so hard to brush it off).. my husband loved her so much.. he loved all our children.. but she was the baby.. and she won't remember him at all.
[/quote]

Oh, April, this just broke my heart, I can not even begin to comprehend how that might felt for you.  :'( :'( :'(
My daughter is just three months old and was only 3 weeks when her dad passed away suddenly. She will have no memories of him at all, beside a few pictures we managed to take in this very short period of time. I am so aftraid that she will project and seek out the father figure in every man that will be near. And the story you shared kind of confirms that...it is so heartbreaking to think how it could be different for our children if... If only she can feel how caring and loving her daddy was. If only he was still here, she would have the best father a girl can have...if only...I know it gets me nowhere. Hugs to you and your children.
To the whole world you were one person; to me you were the whole world.

April

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Re: Help Me. Please.
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2016, 11:12:20 AM »
"I am so aftraid that she will project and seek out the father figure in every man that will be near"

I worry about that too.. my 10 year old daughter (was 9 when her dad passed).. took it soo hard.. harder then my then 11 year old son did who was so close to him.. and my then 17 year old son that blamed himself for my husbands death..  my daughter immediately put together all the should haves.. all the things she will miss out on with him.. weddings, graduation etc.. she was Daddy's "baby girl"... she wailed out for him.. had to be carried off at the funeral.. I couldn't grieve.. not for myself.. my heart was too broken for my children.

hugs to you too and your daughter <3

Sugarbell

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Re: Help Me. Please.
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2016, 07:19:06 PM »
My oldest was 4 when his Dad passed...he took it the hardest...in turn it was an emotional roller coaster for a couple of years. He totally understood the concept and what was going on...yet immediately wanted a replacement Dad::like a toy I could get from
Walmart or something.

Every kid is so different at that age...for him...he had to be busy constantly to deal with it. We never did therapy...but I communicated with his preschool teachers and watched things carefully that first year. He ended up doing like his own play therapy and got a lot of things off his chest while playing with trucks, pretending he was q Dad will a son, etc. it broke my heart to watch...but it did really help him.

He's now 13....And remembers very little of all of this. Only a few positive select things. Kids are resilient...kids do fall into a new normal much quicker than us adults do. Sending you hugs because I know the heartache you are dealing with..
B.W.H. 9/24/2007