The dealings of death with kids..

You may have noticed that things have been pretty sparse around here.

sunset in arizonaThe Mad Hatter Mom family has had quite a bit on its plate.

You may remember about a month ago I posted about the death of my father-in-law. Upon his passing my husband travelled back home and just recently returned. During that time I faced a lot of challenges.

This goes far beyond the normal challenges of taking care of the kids 24/7 by myself. This included helping my children deal with the death of their grandfather; their grandfather that they saw, played, fished, laughed, wrestled, asked questions to, hugged, and kissed just 6 short months before.

My kids are 5 and 6 years old, they have never dealt with death before. We go to church so they understand what death is, but they have never experienced the emotions associated with losing a loved one.

Because my husband left so quickly to be with his family we didn’t get the opportunity to tell their kids together. The task fell to me.

I chose to tell my kids individually starting with my 6 year old son.

When we sat down we talked about how grandpa had been sick and how his body got so tired and weak, that God didn’t want him to suffer anymore so he was called home to Heaven. My son seemed to handle it so well, initially.

During the next week my son started acting out. He got in trouble a few times at school. It seemed like when he was home he was spending more time in his room than with his sister and I because he kept getting in trouble.

Looking back now, I kick myself for not recognizing that all that acting out was a cry for attention. My boy was hurting and I was so distracted with my new business, taking care of the house, and working, that I didn’t see that he needed me.

Thankfully, and I truly feel like there was some divine intervention, I was invited to an advanced screening of John Carter. I knew my daughter wouldn’t really be interested in it so I decided to surprise my son.

To say that my son was excited about the movie is an understatement, but what really struck me was how excited he was that it was just him and I. Usually it’s like pulling teeth to get my son to hold my hand when crossing the street. My son held my hand the entire way from the car to the theater, most of which was on a sidewalk. During the movie his head rested on my shoulder several times, and at one point I was surprised with a kiss on the cheek.

As we walked to the car after the movie my son asked me if the reason he got to go was because I often spend more time with my daughter since she doesn’t go to school all day. I told him that was part of the reason, the other part was because I just thought it would be nice to have a special time with just him and me.

My heart nearly broke when he looked at me and said, “Mommy, I think we should have a whole year of you and me time.”

Here was my little boy, who was hurting and all he wanted to make him feel better was to spend some time with him mom, and I was too busy.

I’m happy to say that my sons behavior has improved immensely since our date. He’s still grieving, and there are times when his bluntness about the the death of his grandpa take me off guard, but I know he is healing.

So, where have I been lately? Where I should have been in the beginning, I’ve “mom’d up” and am helping my family through the process of saying goodbye.


  1. Jessica @FoundtheMarbles says:

    This is such a beautifully written post. You are a wonderful mom and you were just being a human being. Give yourself a break and remember that you were grieving too.

  2. You’rw doing great. I experienced a similar thing with my own 6 year old son after my best friend died in November. She was his godmother and his beloved “Auntie.” her sudden inexplicable death was terrifying for him. He acted out in school too. He still won’t talk about it.
    Kim Tracy Prince´s last blog post ..My Tummy, the Update

  3. RobMonroe says:

    Grateful that he has you as a parent and that you were able to make that time for him. My daughter is just now in the figuring-death-out part of life, though we are blessed to not have had a direct-hit in her lifetime. We have been close a couple of times, but I just can’t imagine. You are doing a ton, and you need to give yourself credit for that. Don’t brush over the “on top of the NORM” of running the house and realize that you need your support person back in place, too.
    Blessings on you all as you live into the new reality of life after a loss. Prayers for you.

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