As my son approaches his eighth birthday, I noticed a slightly change in his behaviour. It’s been 27 months since his dad passed away – it seems a lot sometimes and, others, so recent that I barely can’t believe. For my son, he spent almost 1/4 of his life without his dad’s physical presence.
He started asking questions like “why dad had to die?”, or “why can’t we travel in time and save daddy?”
These comments caught me off-guard and I responded using my natural way: with transparency and honesty.
“Because he had cancer” was the answer for the first one. “I would love to be able to travel in time and have daddy back in our lives!”, for the second.
Suddenly, I realized that he was not just asking random questions but going through his second wave of grief. I read and heard that kids will grieve through stages as they mature. Or, in another words, they will revisit their grief as they age, because each stage will bring some different comprehension about this complex and, why not?, fascinating subject called death.
As soon as I realized he was grieving, I took all the ‘death’ books from the bookshelf and made them accessible to him. He is now capable of reading them himself and, sure enough, he picked a few of them. We didn’t discuss death after this episode because, for some reason that I can’t really explain, I decided to throw a couple of books about birth and how the babies are made, like the one pictured here, It’s not the stork. As we are talking about the end of our lives, why not talk about the beginning as well?
I am also preparing for the (near) future and booked his first counseling section with a specialist in kids. It will be in a month but this will give me time to prepare him for the event. I find that being a single parent (and when I say single, I really mean the only one) is tricky at times. I caught myself dreaming of having Ricardo’s help many times during difficult situations. Not to mention how I miss someone to share stories and sometimes just think out loud as a way to find a solution to something that I can’t seem to find any.
Hopefully, I will create a community here that will help us to help each other – because this parenting thing can be a very lonely adventure sometimes…