Specific Situations > Young Widowed Parents

My son

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I'm writing here because my son  doesn't have his dad. He's 19. His dad died when he was 15. I've helped him as he struggled and still struggles with depression.

He finished highschool in a daze.

He attempted to go away to university and did't leave his dorm room for 3 weeks, surviving off of noodle bowls and midnight runs to the vending machine because he couldn't handle facing new people. Needless to say that wasn't going to work so he came home and hibernated in the basement, finally reconnecting with some highschool friends in the spring and summer.

He went away to a different university the next fall, closer to home so that if need be I could come rescue him  and give him a respit at home.  He used that a little but basically managed things better although he did still hole up in his room in Res a lot and the vending machines were still a main source of food.

He's now in second year, in his own basement apartment, shops at the grocery store and is managing. It's not all good, he still wears alot of anxiety and fights depression with mood enhancers( which then make him worry if he is his true self and whether he is addicted)

Anyway the reason I am writing this out here is twofold.  I went to see him on the weekend and he shared a poem he had written for one of his second year english courses......it was about his Dad. It was amazing!

So I'm proud ....and sad.  And I wanted to tell somebody!

The other reason to share is it's been a difficult journey but one that at least at the moment is heading the right direction...and positive stories are always good right!?!

Teenagers are complicated and my eldest also suffers with anxiety and grief management. She was also bullied and it destroyed her self confidence that never waivered before as it was her shield. I think with her defenses down trying to learn to cope the loss of her dad, it made her vulnerable. We all just want to help them get through but since they are at that door of adulthood and independence, we can only let them know we are there while they learn and understand what will work for them.

It's great to hear that things are looking up with your son! Hugs!

I hear you, klim. I could write parts of this myself with each of my kids. They ranged in age from 13 to very early 20's when their father died.

Somewhere along the way, I read about ways a child losing a parent during adolescence can be challenging- they're in a stage where in the "normal" world, they're on their way to separation from their parent/s and developing independence. The death of a parent can short out and completely throw off the process of gaining their own identities/independence. If there were already pre-existing challenges (anxiety, depression, etc.), this effect is compounded. And that has been my experience. (I also think their experience of their dad's 2 yrear illness in a losing battle took an additional toll. I think that alone would have still taken it's own toll had he not died.)

That's wonderful that your son is getting his bearings, and was able to express himself like that! You're right to be proud of him! Still experiencing mixed developments in my household, but I've seen some great strides toward healthy independence in my family too, which makes me very proud of them, too- and greatly relieved in some cases, frankly!

You could be writing about my son as well.  He's happiest when he's in his online existence, and panics at the thought of meeting new people.  I even pulled him from regular high school last year - He now home-schools himself.  His main diet is pizza rolls....  It's tragic, but, now that we're about 2 1/2 years out, he's finally coming back - finally putting effort into little things like brushing his teeth, taking a shower more than once a week....  and finally putting effort and interest in school work and just started talking about college.  What a relief it is to have some time behind us....  No, it's still not easy... but it's better.

I can relate as well.  My son was 12 when we lost his father.  He is now 19 and in college.  He has no trouble socializing with his peers, but to have to interact with adults or authority figures - forget it!  He avoids it at all costs.  He procrastinates on everything and doesn't want to deal with adult responsibilities.  Not sure how much has to do with losing his father at a young age or is normal for a 19 year old but it is challenging! 
I have to believe that our kids will get there - maybe they just need a gentle nudge more than others would.  And considering all they've been through that is probably understandable.  Baby steps.....


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