Author Topic: Newly widowed parent of 4 yr old  (Read 691 times)


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Newly widowed parent of 4 yr old
« on: January 08, 2017, 09:12:12 PM »
My husband passed unexpectedly on December 11th, 2016.  Although he was sick he was supposed to get a liver transplant. We have planned accordingly for the past 3 years to get him the best care and opportunity for a transplant but then he got really sick really fast (too sick for transplant) and passed away suddenly.  We have a 4 year old son who obviously misses his daddy as do I. I have been able to be out of work (teacher) since he passed but am very anxious about starting back next week.  Any advice on transitioning to single parenting of a little one? This is all so depressing.


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Re: Newly widowed parent of 4 yr old
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2017, 11:45:26 PM »
Very sorry for your loss, Dragonfly. It's just so hard. You've had a lot on your plate taking care of your ill husband, his death, taking care of your four year old and your upcoming return to work.

As far as what to do, well you're likely already doing much of it. Loving and caring for your boy in this sad time. Take whatever assistance is offered. People really do want to help, be it meals, childcare, or just a shoulder to lean on. You may not be 100% up to speed when you return to teaching and it's OK. It will all fall into place.

At some point, play therapy might be helpful for your son. It was for my little boy when my husband died - he was five and nine years later he is a happy, healthy young man. I also have two other children who are also doing well.  Getting through this day by day is what we all do.

Take care and know there is a community here who cares about you.
"I'm breaking through, I'm bending spoons, I'm keeping flowers in full bloom" - REM


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Re: Newly widowed parent of 4 yr old
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2017, 07:09:41 AM »
So sorry for the sudden and unexpected loss of your husband, dragonfly. My children were 5 and 2
when my husband died after a 21 month battle with cancer. My older child has autism and at the time was nonverbal so it was hard to gauge what he felt. I know my fist priority was to find a male figure. I asked my brothers but they didn't seem interested. Eventually my son qualified for services that would enable me to hire workers to help him. I chose all male workers. They all have been kind enough to include my daughter from time to time. It works for us.

Organization was a big key in the early days. Packing the night before school, lists, meal planning & advance preparation helped a significant amount. I couldn't focus or think clearly. The lists helped keep me on track.

Journaling was another avenue of relief. I couldn't cry in front of my kids. My son had huge sensory issues. It was a way to relief myself of the tremendous emotional burden I was carrying.

Try to rest when you can. You will need energy.

Sending you strength,
My life is better because you were in it. You encouraged me to stretch my wings. I will forever be grateful. Rest in Peace Babe. Till we meet again.


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Re: Newly widowed parent of 4 yr old
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2017, 07:39:14 AM »
I am so sorry that you've had to join us.  My daughter was 6 when my husband died; he was and I am a teacher, too.  First, try to always remember that you will find your way.  It will have ups and downs and it may be a little ramshackle sometimes but you will find your way. 

I will just offer three pieces of advice based solely on my experience:

1) Accept help when it is offered.  Find help when you need it.  I tried to do too much on my own for too long before I accepted that I needed help.  This complicated life unnecessarily for us.  In a similar vein to what the others say, I found a counselor for my daughter.  I couldn't tell you empirically what impact she has had on my daughter but she likes her and so even now, four years since Scott died, we still go see her - not as often as before but regularly.  I've tried to keep a tight knit group of people consistently surrounding my daughter - people she knows love her and whom she can trust.  I believe that has helped her.
2) Know that there is no one right or wrong way to do this solo parenting thing.  My daughter and I found our stride eventually - like I said, it was sometimes ramshackle, unconventional, and disorganized but it is ours and out of it we've come through it as a pretty indomitable pair.  Through rebuilding our life, we grew very close. 
3) Be kind to yourself.  You will not be able to "do it all, all of the time" so pick your battles and pick your priorities and forgive yourself every time you feel like you're not doing enough or when you lose your temper or when there isn't bread in the house to make a pbj or or or... in other words, don't sweat the small stuff.  I made a lot of mistakes but eventually I stopped beating myself up, shrugged my shoulders, hugged my daughter and moved on. 

Edited to add:  4) Right now, it is most likely too soon but one thing that helped me/us a lot was to remember to laugh.  To find reasons to laugh at what was funny but also what was absurd.  It sounds trite, I know, but it helps. 

You can do this! 
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 08:35:15 AM by TooSoon »