Thursday, April 24, 2014

Your Grief and Others

When you are in the middle of grieving over your situation, it is easy not to consider how others are grieving. The situation might be closer to you, but many times others are grieving as well. As a parent of a child with illness or if a parent has lost a child, the grief is heavy. For those close to them such as the siblings or grandparents of the child, there is grief for them as well. It may not be the same as your grief, and they may not show it in the same way.

The grief that a sibling struggles with may not show at first. A child often does not know how to express grief. I remember in the 3rd grade losing a friend to Leukemia. For years I had the little grieving book that the school provided and the little book of pictures that all of us drew of our memories with the boy who had passed away. I feel like that probably helped me. My reaction could have been different. Some children express their grief with anger directed at their parents. Sometimes they may seem sad. Some children hold it inside.

 I caught of glimpse today of a reaction that may be the first sign of grief from my four year old towards his brother. We were tossing a stuffed animal to Trenton to interact with him. He started to get upset by it, and my oldest kept throwing it on him. We had to make him stop. He often struggles with obeying us, but I felt like his reaction to burst into tears saying, "someday I want to throw that," was actually his grief of not being able to play with his brother. I totally get it too. I'm sure it has been hard for him, and it will be hard for him through the years to not be able to interact with Trenton in the way so many other kids are able. We will just encourage him to do what he can.

Our own grief affects the siblings as well. I know that for me having a child with special needs has made me have a hard time with being overprotective. I was always a little bit with my oldest, but when Trenton was born, even though he lived and will probably live for many years, there was that fear of losing the child who didn't have problems. I've had to make myself pull back in that way and give my oldest to the Lord. Both of our boys are gifts from God for a reason.

I know it is also hard for the aunts/uncles and grandparents as well when there is a trial. They are a part of the situation, but they also are not in the midst of it every day. They try to understand what you need and what your child needs, but the situation is so different that it is difficult. The toys and even the clothes your child needs might be different. The way they are able to interact - if they are able to interact is different. They are grieving too.

As you grieve, it is personal, but remember the others who are involved in the situation. Remember that you are not the only one who lost something or have had deferred expectations. Others are grieving with you.

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