How do you stay strong for your children after the loss of their daddy?

Mindy - posted on 06/02/2009 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I was just wondering how anybody manages to cope with their child (ren) after the death of daddy. She was 3 at the time. Still have bad times, after 1 1/2 years. Although not just her, me to.

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Janice - posted on 06/14/2009

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Hello, my heart goes out to all of you that wrote about your losses. I am a nurse, and deal with families and patients at work. So many heartaches sometimes I feel overwhelmed myself. I cannot imagine what you are going through. I'm glad that we are able to connect and share our problems. I too believe that it helps to just let it come out, the good and the bad feelings. I support the idea of grief counseling, and that there are good days and bad days. This is the first time I've ever written on a post! I feel a little awkward, just want to let you know that I feel for you, there are people that care. Sincerely, Janice Ruffino

Racqual - posted on 06/04/2009

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I think talking is the best perscription for you and talking to people you dont really know is sometimes so much easier than talking to those around you. Even if you just right all your feelings down and then burn the paper if you dont want anyone to read it. Takes a huge weight of your shoulders. I went through a really hard time couple of years ago. Felt like I wasnt really living just doing the things that needed to get done kind of like living in a fog. So one day I was sitting watching tv and the preacher came on and I thought to myself these preachers on tv are so crazy and this was even a lady which made it even more weird. Anyway she was telling the people when you carry a burden that is so great that you can not bare that it is controling your life and you feel the weight is to great than give to god and he will take it from you.. Just say please take this burden from me help me to carry it the weight to much for me to bare. And he will take it from you. And I thought to myself ya right but what the heck I have nothing to lose. So I tried it and 3 or 4 days later I realized after dealing with this problem every single day and minute for 4 or 5 mths I finally felt like I was coming out of my fog. And I hadnt thought about my tragedy for that many days. I still think about it of course but its not controling my every thought and life like it was and I can deal with it so much better. I really hope this helps. Let me know. Congratulations on the new baby. Your daughter will be fine children are amazing. Keep her involved in life. That new little spirit thats coming into your home will keep you occupied and keep your mind busy.

Sue - posted on 06/04/2009

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There is such great advice here and such a good community. This is a blessing. I guess keep it natural... I cried daily in front of my 18 month old. She speaks of her sister and so does the "baby" I was pregnant with... They know her even though they were so young they could not understand. As they have grown we revisit the loss of their sister. and they mature their understanding changes. We keep any topic open for disscussion, nothing oof limits... even if it makes me cry they know that is okay because crying is normal...and okay. Life just has these moments...it is like a wild rose bush with lovely blossoms and thorns. don't worry count blessings :)

Vilena - posted on 06/04/2009

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I have never had such an experience, but I'm sure it's difficult. Sorry for your lost and I would probably just suggest that since the child was so young at the time, always continue to talk about the good times spent with daddy, although young, but she still remembers. I hope that helps you and god bless your family.

[deleted account]

Hi MIndy,



Speaking from experience, you have already been through the worst thing you could imagine, and both you and your daughter have survived it. My kids were 8, 6, and 2 when their dad was killed in a car accident, and sometimes I think the only thing that kept me going was knowing that they needed me. Nobody can tell you how to handle a thing like that, and to this day, I don't know how I did it, even though the kids are now 15, 13, and 9.



My daughter, the youngest of the three, doesn't have any memories (of her own) of her dad - she was just too young. I found that she didn't have any issues until she started school. Her kindergarten class played music during quiet times, and she would just dissolve into tears, without really understanding why. She began to realize that she didn't have "Dad", like the other kids would talk about. With the help of a fantastic school councillor and her older brothers, she has come to the point where she can ask questions or hear stories about him without it causing her obvious pain. With a child that age, it's almost as though you have to go through the process of losing him all over again, just because they are trying to understand. Till the day I die, I will never forget my little girl at his funeral, looking at his picture at the front of the church, saying very loudly, (and happy as an angel) "That's my daddy!".



Children are incredibly strong, and your daughter obviously has a fantastic role model to look up to. Just make sure that you are getting the support you need for yourself, one way or another. People often assume that a year later, five years later, ten, or more, that everything is ok, and you've already handled all your grief, but then a song comes on the radio, or there's a smell in the air, a look from your child, or someone asks you a question, and you feel as though someone has taken all the air out of the room. I wich I could tell you it stops... I can tell you it happens less often as time passes, and I've come to think that even those moments of crushing pain are worthwhile to keep the memory of one we loved close to our hearts.

Laura - posted on 06/03/2009

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I'm going to come at this from a different angle. My dad died form an accident at work 11 days before my 11th birthday. I can tell you what not to do. Don't hide. Your child is stronger than you're giving her credit for. As she grows older, the memories of that day will fade and they will eventually become memories of memories. But you being older, that pain doesn't go away. I was so SICK of people telling me "Oh I'm so sorry..." In my head I was being spitefull thinking "Why are you sorry? Did you drop that hunk of metal on him?" But in truth, I was so angry and hurting I couldn't stand it and my own mother disappeared into a bottle for two years so I was totally on my own. The best piece of advice was "Time does not heal all wounds. But with time, you get stronger and better able to handle the pain."
I am happy to say, that I eventually got past all the hell I went through. I'm happily married and with two teenage step-daughters and my own little boy. But on top of my desk, under the stuffed Bambi (the last thing my dad ever gave me) is a picture of my dad looking down on me everyday and watching me. Remember the past, but look to the future.

Jeanne - posted on 06/03/2009

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I am so sorry for you and your daughters loss. I cannot imagine what you are going through but all I can say is that you have to take it one day at a time. I lost my dad when I was 15 and I must honestly say that I miss him to this day (I just turned 40). The pain is not what it used to be but sometimes I would love to hear his voice or smell his aftershave one more time. For your daughter I know that their are support groups for children who have lost parents and help them deal in an age appropriate manner with their grief....it is sometimes easier for a child to tell a stranger about these things because they can feel that it makes you sad. Have faith and stay strong it will get better and I know that sounds lame but it is the truth, but if you can try and bring back the good times with daddy to your daughter and not the pain of his loss. I will keep you and your daughter in my prayers .....good luck to you both.

Libby - posted on 06/03/2009

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Ooops, make that 9 losses, I missed 2 aunts when counting on my fingers. Geesh do I feel bad because they were all family members and I didn't think of them the 1st time.

Libby - posted on 06/03/2009

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I don't think there's any right or wrong way to cope since we all do it differently. But you have each other and I'm sure you keep moving forward because of each other. That's what is important is moving forward. There is no way to get over a death in my opinion, but as long as you keep moving forward you are making progress. When you experience such a devastating loss that progress can sometimes feel like it's coming slow. That's ok too. Our family has lost 7 people in the last 3 years and the last one being 6 months ago was my daughter. I can tell you what has helped us cope is God. If you want to know more about that journey feel free to message me. Take care.

Carmen - posted on 06/03/2009

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I am so sorry for your loss. I have not lost anyone, but my best friend has lost her husband and the other day we were talking about it, because my son's teacher's husband had just passed. My friend lost her husband like 10 yrs ago, and we were just talking about some of the hard times and how she got herself and the children trough. At the time she had a 5 year old girl and a 2 year old boy. And I think the biggest advice she could give anyone is you have to be the parent you were, before the loss. That is not to say you are not to grieve, but that you do have to go on. If your child was in dance, keep her in dance, if your child loved a certtain meal that maybe dad also loved, fix that meal and talk about how good it is that it is your child's fave. Parents need to be especially careful that the child does not define themselves by the loss, and even you ned to be careful of that. For example My name is Mindy and I losssed my husband. You are so much more than that, please don't lose yourself in your loss. And I agree with some one else as far as where you are at now....If you love this new man, then hallejuah! I am sure that your husband is looking down in love and so happy that his daughter is going to have a new brother or sister, that you will be taken care of. There is no shame on going on, you did not die. I know that if I was to die I would want my husband to move on and find happiness for himself and my children. The only thing I told him is she better be good to my children! We all want our spouses to be happy and it doesn't change, just because 1 passes on. Hold your daughter cherish her for the part of your husband that she is, and hold the new one and cherish him or her as a new part of your life. The new one is truly a gift and a blessing to healing. Lots of love and prayers coming your way, Carmen

Mindy - posted on 06/03/2009

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All I can say right now is "Thank You" so much Words of kindness means so much. Would love to talk more but right now just isn't the best of time. I will chat more later.

Ann - posted on 06/02/2009

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I also need the answer to a similar question: How do you cope with children who have lost their mommy? I am the mother of a 23yr old girl who has three children, Well Heather was in a horrible car accident on 09-02-08 and died at the scene. it was the heartbreaking when the state troopers showed up at my door at 11pm Mind you the accident occured at 6:42pm--or thats when the state troopers took the call. I am now trying to cope with not breaking down in front of the kids everyday Jared is 4 and Madison is 3 Hunter is 2 but Hunter lives with his dad. So far I do talk about Heather and how wonderful she is and how funny she is, just a loving kind person, so unfair this happened to her. I have many pictures around the house. The kids seem to be ok and they talk about her, Madison is the one I am worried about, she thinks she is somewhere and we will be going to see her one day. Its heartbreaking it really is, Jared knows what happened, you see Jared was at her friends house that night and heather was driving her friends car, Well that girl told Jared that his mommy wrecked her car and she died. I have heard him arguing with Madison and telling her that mommy died in Kari's car. I did not tell him that, and so I was not going to lie to him, and I tried to explain it. (it was in the newspaper, but I have not shown him that.) I guess we will have to take it one day at a time. and answer their questions honestly, I would hate to tell him a story that was not the truth and for him to find out later. Its hard. but I know we can all do it! WE HAVE TO!
Ann

Anissa - posted on 06/02/2009

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Mindy and Emily,

I am so sorry for your loss. You will be in my prayers!

You are going through the normal state. In watching my family, the biggest thing I learned is not to hide your grief from your kids. If you need to cry, cry. If you are angry, let them see you angry. As you well know, kids pick up on everything! They are much smarter than we give them credit for. If they see you go through the emotions then they know it is ok when they go through them. My family also talked about him everyday and still included him in daily activities. If there was something special they all use to do together he was still apart of it. They would bring something special of his or his picture. They never removed all of his belongings from the house. He was teaching my niece to Yodle when he passed. He was always able to calm her with Yodling since she was born, also cheer her up with it. My aunt took a recording of him Yodling to build a bear workshop, and they put it in a teddy bear. When she is missing him she hugs the bear and hears his voice. She also has a digital picture frame by her bed with memories of them and he and her mom when she was little. To show her he didn't dissappear, he is still watching out for her.

The best advice I can give you....Take Care of YOU! Everything else will come in time. I think your baby is a blessing...maybe from your husband to let you know he is happy for you that you are moving on and giving Emily a 'family' again. Your husband might really like this new bo, and would like him to stay around to take care of his family, so he is helping out by giving you two the gift of a child.

Mindy, I think you are doing all the right things with getting help for you and Emily. In time things will get better and memories will be remembered with laughter instead of sadness and anger.

One day at a time.....

Take Care of You and God Bless!

Nis

Sue - posted on 06/02/2009

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by the way I know the Pregnancy thing is not perfect but as bad as it seems it is not the worst thing in the world...a baby can also help give you a reason to change you point of view and situation...I was expecting when my daughter died...lots of incentive to keep going in a forward direction. you have been given good advice by the others too...I will keep you in my prayers.

Sue - posted on 06/02/2009

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I want to say I am sorry for your loss. I know how difficult it can be to raise a child alone and I know loss from a different perspective. First of all I want to suggest that God is not the one who took your husband but He is the one who has provides a safe haven for him and any who believe on Him. He did not cause your pain but has provides a way to be reunited for eternity in heaven. I was a single mom for several years, with 5 children who loved and missed their dad and cried and wondered why he left...only mine walked out on me while I was 4 months pregnant with #5. My loss is my first born child, my daughter and my joy...but not my only joy. It has been 9 years and I still miss her and cry...it is okay. But I had to decide to not stay there... to move on...to allow the loss to be and be real. my kids went to support groups when needed, Therapy as needed, talked openly with good friends...I did too. I don't hide my pain but live with it as a part of life and enjoy the good. Everyday you have a choice to see the blessings ( you life, family, daughter, the time you did have, the good and happy memories) or the curses ( the loss of your husband and the uncomfortable changes that has brought to your lives). It is not an easy choice and I do not make lite of it. Some days will be better than others. success comes in fits and starts little bits at a time. So you see where you are and look to where you want to be and begin. Emily will be fine and so will you and God does have a purpose in what He does...His stated purpose is to give you a hope and a future He has plans for you...And He didn't take your husband, satan kills, steals and destroys...God gives life abundantly so God's only action in this was to catch his child as satan attempted to do his evil work. If you want to talk more let me know lsbruns@wctatel.net My daughter was 16 when she died Dec 21 1999...Christmas was always our favorite and though difficult it still is but I like Easter alot too Resurrection sounds great to me...

[deleted account]

Okay. You just made me cry. My heart goes out to you. It sounds like you and your daughter are still mourning your loss which is completely understandable. 3 years before my father died we lost my brother. He was hit and killed by a car and you want to talk about angry! What sense is there in taking a 13 year old boy away from his family? Then my father died and my mom said, "I'm glad your brother is not here. I miss him so much but there is no way that I could have raised him alone. Your father was the only one who could get through to him and his death would have devastated him." So maybe that was the reason. Also, my father was very sick for a long time and the only way he was able to accept his death was knowing that his son was waiting for him in heaven. It's okay to be angry and it's true that time heals all wounds. Unfortunately we don't know how long that will take so we simply do our best and live our life. I hope that you will continue going for grief counseling - not just for your daughter but for you too. Right now your hormones aren't helping and that's why you may feel the way you do. Talk to your doctor about your depression and get the professional help that you need. I will keep you in my prayers.

Mindy - posted on 06/02/2009

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I would like to take some time here and thank everyone for their advice, it is well needed. Here is a little bit of my story, sorry but I am feeling the need to pour my heart out to anyone that will listen. I am a year and a half out. To be honest it has been the fastest year and a half in my whole life. Where in the hell did the time go......... It still seems like yesterday. I have a 5 year old daughter, her name is Emily. She was 3 when he passed away. She found him that morning. That was the worst. i then got to listen to her tell everybody that her daddy was dead and that she found him.OMG so hard! I told peolple that she didn't know what she was saying but now I'm not so sure. I think she knew exactlly what she was saying. To this day she still talks about that day and the days that followed. just recently we went to a place called Erins House, it is a center for greiving children.......they went into their groups ...an hour later she came out with a drawing. When I asked her what it was she replied :" mommy its a picture of daddy in the bed that we put him in before we put him in the ground." Ripped my heart out! we went to a carnival last summer, I won her a stupid little stuffed doggie.... we then went to the cemetery she got out and was waving this dog over his grave. When I asked her what she was doing she said "Maybe if I wave my magic dog over daddy he will wake up and then we can take him home with us" another heart wrenching experience.Our lives are full of them kind of moments. There are days when i think that Emily is stronger than I am. I try not to cry in front of her but that is impossible to do.When she sees me, she comes up and gives me the biggest hug and pats my back.

She has her break downs to, just out of the blue. she is fine one minute but the next she is a mess.



My husband passed away from a massive heart attack he had just turned 44. ( by the way i was 34)His birthday was Sept. 13. He died Sept. 16, 2007. I buried him 1 day before our 5 year wedding anniversary which is on Sept. 21. SEPT. SUCKS !!!!!!!! I was so angry with him for leaving us. This is not how it was supposed to be. I feel cheated and ripped off, even to this day!!!!! Not so mad at him anymore but still angry as all get out to God ! I have tried to go back to church, trying to fill a void in my life but it did not help or work. The pastor that day was talking about how everything happens for a reason, well that to me is a crock of you know what! what is the reason for taking a wonderful man away from me and our child.How dare you!!!!!! I am sorry to be saying these things but it is honestly how i feel about the whole situation.



I have now found myself in another situation.... Don't take this the wrong way but i did finally find myself trying to date....whatever that is. I did meet someone very special, however it felt like I was cheating on my husband. It took a while for that feeling to go away. So here I am 8 months into this relationship and pregnant ! Not good ! So upset and ashamed of myself. I have found myself back into a deep depression. Feels like i am drowning .Don't even know what to say about that so I guess I'll just drop it for now. Already can barely see the keyboard. ihave to go now. Thank you so much for letting me vent! Hope to talk more later.



Thanks again

[deleted account]

I am so sorry for your loss. My father passed away when I was a teenager and I remember hearing my mother cry at night. I guess she waited until bedtime and that's when she would break down. You will miss your husband for the rest of your life but you have a beautiful child that you need to take care of and she needs you to be strong. So, you get up and take each day one at a time. There are always going to be bad days and that's normal. My mom went to grief counseling for a while and that helped her a lot. Ask for help when you need it and surround yourself with your family and friends when you are feeling down. Please take care. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

[deleted account]

First, let me say that I am so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you. My Aunt lost my Uncle when her youngest (of 6 kids) was 3 years old. The lesson I took from that is that you need to please join a support group if you have not already and also look into some counseling for your daughter. My aunt did not do any of those things and the result is that time stood still for her family. 15 years later, they are still governed everyday by their loss. I think what would have helped a great deal is if they had been given the emotional tools necessary to move past the grief to find the joy in his memory. Support and counseling would have really helped. They still have a hard time even just talking about their dad and are unable to feel the joy that his life gave us all. For a long time, no one mentioned him and I think that also was a mistake.



Talk with your daughter about her daddy, about his gifts and his faults and everything that made you love him and the things that he may have done that made you crazy. Make him real for her and make it ok for her to talk about him. Maybe write him a letter on his birthday telling him everything that has happened over the last year and make his favorite meal together. Take her to the places that the two of you visited together. Share your memories with your daughter and make new memories in those places that you visit. I think you will both find strength in remembering and over time, in each other.



All of my best wishes for you and your daughter.

Paula - posted on 06/02/2009

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You said it "your children" they will get you through this day by day and you them. You will have bad days but when you do think of the happy memories that you all shared together and i honestly believe that the people we love never ever leave us when they pass because we hold on to them in our hearts.x. Good luck for the future for you and your children.

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