Daddy Died

Welcome to the March 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Tough Conversations
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have spoken up about how they discuss complex topics with their children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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One of my favorite pictures of Daddy with Big Z. 
I knew I had to say it straight, with as few words as possible. I knew I couldn't add explanations or too many words, or it wouldn't sink it. My brain and body were so overwhelmed with emotions. I had to control myself and be strong for just a few moments to get the words out. My children were seated at a small children's table in the Hospital waiting area with my sister in law. They spent the night for the first time at my brother's house the night before, so I hadn't seen them that morning. I walked into the room and they looked happy to see me, but they could tell something was wrong. I sat down next to my oldest and in a soft yet strong voice I said to my daughter "Daddy died." She just looked at me puzzled, disbelief was in her eyes. She just saw her Daddy yesterday, he was fine. He just called before she went to bed last night and he prayed with her over the phone. Now she just said, "What?!" and I had to say it again, "Daddy died." Little brother was there too, but he didn't say anything. He slumped over and sat on my lap. This was a bit too much to comprehend all at once. This month will be 6 months since I've had to had that conversation with my children.It's still too much to comprehend at times. We are still grieving, but the memories are beginning to get easier to talk about. This was only the beginning of the tough conversations... Why?.. Where is Daddy now?.. Why did this happen to us?.. Will you die too?.. Will I die? Where's Daddy's body?.. Can we keep Daddy's things? ... My strategy is still the same when these questions arise, I try to answer them as simply and as straight forward as possible. What is your strategy when faced with these tough conversations?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • A Difficult Conversation — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
  • Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
  • Tough Conversations — Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
  • Real Talk — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explains why there are no conversation topics that are off limits with her daughter, and how she ensures that tough conversations are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner.
  • From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetweenMrs Green talks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
  • When Together Doesn't Work — Ashley at Domestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
  • Talking To Children About Death — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she's explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she's learned along the way.
  • Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
  • Preschool Peer PressureLactating Girl struggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren't so friendly.
  • Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis unpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she's had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
  • When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler at Ursula Ciller's Blog.
  • How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter's horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
  • Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
  • Parenting Challenges--when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica at ChildOrganics shares her story.
  • Opennesssustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
  • Embracing Individuality — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
  • Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire of Crunchy-Chewy Mama also values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
  • Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
  • How Does Your Family Explain Differences and Approach Diversity? — How do you and your family approach diversity? Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her thoughts at Natural Parents Network and would like to hear from readers.
  • Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
  • Tough Conversations — Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
  • Protect your kids from sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who'd want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
  • Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn't have a simple answer.
  • When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noise talks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.

10 comments

Oh, Erica. I can't imagine the pain of saying those words to your kids. I agree that the only way is to be honest and simple when answering those questions that just keep coming. Hugs and peace to you and your family.

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Erica, this is such a strong and important post and I appreciate you sharing your approach to having this sad and awful conversation. Wishing you continued strength in your family's grieving.

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One question at a time. One day at a time. One breath at a time. That's how to get through it.

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What a mountain of questions death brings. I'm so sorry your family has had to wrestle with them twice now. Continued peace to you.

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This is such a strong and clear post about a very hard time in any family. What a touching piece of writing. One question at a time, one moment at a time, you are mothering your babies through a great loss. I admire you for your strength, and I will keep you all in my prayers!

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I'm so sorry for your loss; my father died when I was eight, and its such a hard thing to go through as a family. My thoughts to you and your family as you continue to grieve.

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I'm very sorry to hear what you've had to face. I have just started a book called The Last Best Cure that talks about Adverse Childhood Experiences making people more likely to face chronic illness as adults. It is explaining a lot for me and helping me get more committed to re-setting my stress response through meditation, breath, yoga to try to undo some of the damage my body has undergone in the last 20+ years. You can never bring back their father and goodness knows I have no idea what you must be facing, but I wanted to just say that cultivating a practice of deep breathing might actually pay future health dividends for your kids. This new brain research is so powerful it's kind of scary, but the idea is that if we know how to reverse the way the body starts to crumble when we have trauma in our childhoods, we can prevent some of that response and be healthier in the future. I hope my intent is coming across. I wish you the best.

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You must be a very strong and open person to share such an emotional post, and I am truly sorry for your loss. you are going through a difficult time with a young family - your kids will likely have the same inner strength as they grow up.

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My heart goes out to you and your family... Thank you for sharing... xoxo

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Thank you for sharing such wise words. I am going to have to use these words soon.

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