Our kids became very close after our son’s death, bonded to each other in a way they had never been before. They were each other’s support system, sharing the loss of their brother as only siblings could.
My husband and I grieved together as only parents could. We were all doing our best to find our way, but it appeared we would do so, not as a family, but on two separate paths.
The lives we had lead previous to our loss became submerged in our grief. Our hearts had been broken and at least for the time being we had neither the desire nor the ability to participate in our lives as fully as before. This apparent lack of interest in what had once been our normal life was hurtful to our kids. Both had been dealing with significant issues in the months leading up to Mason’s death, so they found themselves at the beginning of the grieving process overwhelmed. Their emotional resources were already exhausted and now their parents were too wounded to be of much help. The hurt our family felt created a perfect storm and it took a long time before it rained itself out. It would seem our first few steps on the grieving path had been missteps.
You will likely encounter the same emotions in your children that you and your spouse are dealing with, and you may end up being the recipient of misplaced anger and fear. Not everyone is able to grieve in a heathy manner. It’s hard and exhausting work, full of unrelenting sadness, pain and tears. It’s so much easier to be mad than it is to be sad. This is where grief counseling can be of such help. Each person in the family needs to process their grief in such a manner that no unnecessary hurt is felt and no additional harm is created. On the other hand, ignoring grief can make one toxic and destructive to themselves and those who share their loss.
Our children suffered a great loss when their brother died. Losing Mason was the hardest thing any of us have ever been through. It’s my understanding that the loss of a sibling and the loss of a child are experienced at profoundly different levels in our soul. The love you have for your siblings, though deep and abiding, can not compare to the love you have for your children. The love is different, the loss is different, and that’s something only parents who have spent a lifetime loving and nurturing their children would understand. Our children stepped out of their intense grieving much sooner than my husband and I did. We were on different paths, on different schedules, with different grief. When these differences aren’t understood and allowed for, feelings can be hurt. The potential for additional damage to your family is real. It’s a complex situation that deserves your awareness.