Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Discussion of Death with the kids

Ugh.  I am no good with these kinds of things.  If you know me in real life, you should be aware that I am VERY awkward in these kinds of situations. I tend to be the "So sorry for your loss. Here's a joke to make this awkward situation not be so awkward resulting in more unintentional awkwardness" kind of girl. I even struggled with the name of this post. I decided blunt would be best.  Be warned.  It is about to get real in here.

Growing up I was lucky and didn't lose a grandparent until I was 16.  My Grandpa Teddy (on my dad's side) passed away from cancer.  How did I handle it?  My dad came over on our regularly scheduled night out (It was a wednesday.  Ever since the divorce he got me on Wednesdays and we typically ate Chinese) and told me. He asked if I still wanted to go out. I said "no" and went to the mall to cry with my boyfriend.  (Typical teenage girl response I guess.)

The only other people I really ever lost were my Poppy (I still miss that darn old man), a guy I worked with a Pep Boys, and my Uncle Gordon.  I was in my 20's-30's for these. So you see, I never really had to deal with it as a child.  Lucky?  Maybe. The only real losses I had were from pets.  Believe me, those can be just as hard.

So you might be wondering why I am bringing this up.  Yesterday my Stepmom died. Last year right before Aidan's birthday, I think the weekend before, she had a stroke. It was a rather large one and she wasn't herself really since.  Since I never really went through this when I was little I read a lot when we lost our cats a few years ago about how to go about explaining it. I read a lot of people saying "Don't say they went to sleep" I followed that rule and we sat the kids down to explain it. They were shockingly ok.  I mean they literally were like , ok.  Not upset at all over Boog and Sqwerl.  Aidan was REALLY little when Sqwerl passed, so that could explain that one.  

So when I found out that Teresa passed yesterday I was a wreck. I am upset for losing someone that has been in my life for over half my life.  I am SO upset for my dad.  I can't even imagine the loss he is feeling.  I was also nervous because I had no clue how the kids would take it.  Eric offered to tell them when he got home. I was totally going to do that, but then I couldn't sit there any longer without telling them.

I turned everything off and had them sit on the couch and told them.  V had no clue what was going on and just looked at me.  Nate had huge wide eyes as I was talking and then (not trying to make light of the situation at ALL here-just preparing you for the odd questions you might one day get) asked if she was going to be a zombie.  I informed him that "No. Zombies aren't real."  I once told him zombies live in Haiti.  Even after all my insisting that I was kidding, he still believes in them. Thanks video games.

Aidan, just sat there.  I asked him how he was and if he understood what I was saying. He said yes. That she died like Booger and said we won't see her anymore.  He also said he was sad and that was that.

Have video games and tv really made our kids numb to this kind of stuff?  Is this a regular reaction for kids this age?  When Booger died this was the same kind of reaction. Not really a reaction at all. Just an acceptance.  I really am at a loss as to what to say or do at this point.  

It upsets me, but I guess everyone processes everything differently.  We didn't see  her all that much.  She couldn't really come down here due to the pets(highly allergic), so we only made it up there a few times a year, if that.  Could that be why the lack of emotion?

For curiosities sake, what happened when you told a child they lost a loved one.  Did they react the same way?

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