Thursday, August 4, 2011

A long-term thing.

My daughter is 8 years old. She will be 9 soon.
Her Dad died when she was 7. She is a bright, beautiful, thoughtful, intelligent child. My blog name for her is Miss K. ...
...and Miss K has had a rough day.

For Miss K, most days are rough: she misses her Dad.
But she copes with her day at school.
No..... she does more than that ... she loves her days at school.
and at home.
But at night, she often feels the loss of her beloved Daddy more acutely.
Because he is so obviously missing from our lives.
...and we talk about her feelings a lot.
...and she sometimes talks to a psychologist about her feelings.
... but really, the verdict is that she is behaving and acting "normally" for a young girl in her situation.


...sometimes, the sad feelings show at school.
Like when the school play unexpectedly shows life savers reviving a swimmer as part of the play.
And her emotions float to the surface.
.....and she cries. (so did I).

....and this scares other people.
this idea that children are emotional beings.

Other people tell me I should worry more about her.
I do worry.
But not overly.
But I struggle to explain to others that she NEEDS to feel sad.
She won’t get over this quickly.

This sadness is long term.

Even though we are working through our grief … together.
Even though we might function OK.
Even though some people think we should be “over it” by now, or able to move on or able to function as we were in the Before.

This sadness is here for the long-haul.

And you know what?
It probably should be that way.
Grief shouldn’t go away overnight.
Grief shouldn’t go away within a year.

It needs to be felt, everyday, until we can run our fingers over the scars without screaming , and see how strong we are.

...and while I know that people here at Widow's Voice will understand, I struggle to explain this to other people: Grief is a long-term thing.


  1. As a parent who's teenage daughter's rarely speak of the saddness they feel over the loss of their dad, I say do not listen to them. It makes things easier because she is not hiding her feelings so it helps you to understand why she might act in a certain way. And in some ways it is healing for you to know how she is someone else who misses your husband. And as a young woman, I lost my mom, others do not know anything about what that is like. I have gone through life missing my mother at different points in my life- crying at times still at 47. Those who have never experienced the loss of a parent/ husband will never get it, but here is what I try to explain to them that grief is something you do not get over, but learn to live with! I does get easier, but it is always there.

  2. Hugs to you and your daughter and thanks for being so brave and honest. My daughter was 24 when she lost her dad 17 months ago. Her dad was her biggest fan and they were indeed great friends. I encourage her to talk about the pain but she refuses most times. I think for me watching her suffer is even worse than dealing with my own grief.

  3. We call it "our forever sadness", my 10 year old daughter and I. She will always miss her dad, and we, too, talk about it alot. Thanks for your words today.

  4. This post brought tears - in particular when you referred to how it's toughest at night, as that is how it typically goes in our house too. I sometimes worry that my oldest (4 when he died, now 6) doesn't express herself enough, but I realize it's only in the way that 'I' expect, and paying attention to other cues, it's there. Even my youngest - who everyone said would not really be truly affected, feels it too.

    'Forever sadness' is right. And, I agree that is how it should be.

  5. Reaching out to you and the sweet Miss K, knowing that even time will not heal the feelings generated by these incredible losses. Forever changed, my widowed BIL says to me, it will become a new normal, never like it was. He is right.

  6. One of the hardest things was watching my son on a playground shortly after my husband died. My son didn't know I was watching from a distance. He was running around laughing cheerfully one second and then suddenly, as if in slow motion, he just sank to the ground and cried. My tears started pouring as I watched to see what would happen. Nothing happened. None of the adults in charge even noticed him sobbing on the ground. He had just turned seven.

    A few months later, I realized that while my co-workers avoided discussing my husband's death, my son's friends did not avoid the subject. Every day he was faced with questions about his dad's death from other children. It's just what children do. They are curious. It was so painful to watch him go through it. It's difficult to watch and not want to "fix" the situation for him, but I can't. I can't fix dead. I can only help him learn to deal with it.

  7. Love this, Amanda. So good to know that other mamas are dealing with these issues alongside each other...