Death, Grief & Spirituality

by cruzanheart 7 Replies latest jw friends

  • cruzanheart

    Yesterday evening I took Jennie & Jackson to Journey of Hope, which is a grief support group for families who have lost loved ones, aimed particularly at the children. I was thinking we might be past the need to go, because Jennie & Jackson seemed to be doing well, and I was feeling better about Dad's death. The children were asked to draw pictures: on one side of the paper they were to draw the bad things that happened last year, and on the other side of the paper what they wanted to be good or fix this year.

    When my group joined the others downstairs, Jennie ran to me and said Jackson was crying and couldn't stop. He was surrounded by concerned facilitators and sobbing like his heart was broken. "I miss Grandpa. I want him to come back." His picture showed Grandpa dead and then in heaven on one side, and the other side was our whole family, with Grandpa standing together and smiling, all alive. Poor darling, that's what he wants and when he drew the picture I think it made it real to him that this wasn't going to happen. Grandpa wasn't coming back. And he finally brought up all the grief and feelings that had been in there that he hadn't dealt with. I held him and comforted him, and even carried him to the car (no mean feat -- he's 50 lbs. now), and I told him to just cry until it was all out. It was hard on his asthma and we had to do a breathing treatment when we got home, but I think it really helped. This morning he was happier and bouncier -- and hungrier! -- than I've seen him in months. He's been having almost constant stomach aches but today he said it was hunger and ate a big breakfast.

    After we left the group last night, I took the kids to Braum's for a chocolate milk shake. On the way, we talked about Grandpa being in heaven, and Jennie said she wasn't sure there was going to be a Paradise. "Well, how do we KNOW it's going to happen?" she demanded. I said that really we don't know for sure until it comes but we can have faith that God will take care of the people who believe in him. She said, "well, it's been AT LEAST 2000 YEARS and he hasn't done ANYTHING." So we talked a little about God's concept of time versus an incredibly impatient 9-year-old's concept of time. Then they both started talking about what they do and don't believe about God, the Bible, and stuff like that. Jennie is very much the questioner and skeptic: "How do we KNOW Moses was real? And Adam and Eve?" Jackson said confidently, "I know Adam and Eve were real -- WE'RE here, aren't we? How could we get here if we didn't have two people to start it off?"

    I was amazed at both of them. The maturity with which they were discussing this subject just astounded me. It shows that they had thought it through and came up with some very adult questions and concerns. I told them what I believed and told them that they were well on their way to proving to themselves what they believed and that, whether it was Bible-based or not, it was okay. What matters is what kind of people they become.

    I enjoyed being able to talk about anything with them without feeling like I had to direct their beliefs in any particular way. No guilt, no pressure, no anxiety that if they didn't believe like the rest of the religion they were doomed.

    Pretty productive evening! (It ended at Blockbuster Video with me buying them each a video because I'm a big softy and can't stand to see either of them cry.)


  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Nina that is so awesome.

    Kids pick up and absorb so much more than we give them credit for.

    My grand daughter lost both of her grandparents (who lived in the same house with her) when she was 2-3. We knew she was suffering greatly from their loss but at that age there seemed to be so little we could do to help her. How wonderful that you found a program and took them. And since kids are so resilient they do recover quite quickly if we give them a chance to express themselves.

    You took a huge step to making sure they will not be seeing a therapist about this 20 years from now

  • ashitaka

    That's awesome to hear. Better them to deal with it now than when they're good to hear that they were able to cry about it.

    Always nice to hear some good news.


  • Billygoat


    I've seen you in action - you are a tremendously wonderful mother!!! And Chris is a great dad too, but since we're talking about you...

    It truly warms my heart to know that you had such a great conversation with the kids. Your children are very insightful and intelligent for their age. Too many times we take for granted how much they can absorb. But more than anything...for your kids sake...I'm SOOO glad you're OUT. So very glad! They now have a better chance than any, to have a fun childhood with fond memories as well as turn into capable and independent adults. You should be proud!

    Love you a ton!


  • gambit

    Nina -- You are so kind and warm. What a beautiful mom (and person). Your kids (and hubby) are lucky. That story really choked me up. It sounds like you really found yourself and are therefore able to nurture your children in their best behalf. This little story really stung... I only wish someone, anyone, 20 years ago (or more) would have asked how I was feeling and be there to honestly listen. Thanks for sharing.


  • Special K
    Special K

    Hey Cruzenheart'

    You said..

    "I enjoyed being able to talk about anything with them without feeling like I had to direct their beliefs in any particular way. No guilt, no pressure, not anxiety"

    This gives me hope! Hope that more parents,like yourself, will allow their children a free mind.

    A free mind is required to explore our inner thoughts and emotions.

    A free mind is needed to live in conjuction with who we are..

    A free mind (in this instance) is needed to express grief and pain of loss of someone who has been affecting them in a positive way..but is now, not there anymore.

    Emotions are to be expressed and for your kids, you helped them express these in a kind, gentle and appropriate way.

    You made a safe haven for them to release their pain

    A truly special mom you are.

    all my best

    Special K

  • Prisca

    Even though I'm repeating what the others have said - you're a great mum, Nina!

    It's great that we have the freedom to guide and direct future generations in a way so different from that had we still remained JWs. The freedom to allow them to reason and come to understandings with the gentle guidance (not brainwashing) of their parents.

    It's great that there are resources these days to help kids deal with grief (and for adults too!).

  • wednesday

    kids have a way of getting to the heart of things.No intellictualizing(as adults often do) he just wanted Grandpa back.

    your a great mom


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