4 Lessons I’ve Learned Watching My Children Grieve

The last 4 years have been filled with not only a lot of change but grieving and healing as well. Within two weeks of us landing back in America late 2016 while facing the fact that their new school now had metal detectors and along with all that comes with repatriation back to the states, The children and I were hit with the news that their father had Stage 4 cancer. ⁠

This was a lot and it was HEAVY to say the least. I had nothing to refer to on how to support children facing repatriation and dealing with a terminally ill parent simultaneously. I spent days consoling a child who would ask “If God loves me, why won’t God save my daddy?.” and nights trying to figure out where to place my own feelings without feeling guilty.⁠

While their father continued to fight cancer, they eventually lost their paternal aunt who fought her own battle against the disease.⁠

As weeks turned into months and months into years, they remained hopeful that their father would win because to them winning was simply the only option. No child should ever have to face watching the light fade in their parent’s eyes.⁠

Unfortunately, 8 months after their aunt passed of cancer (May 2018), their father gained his wings after. two-year fight(Jan. 2019). Five months after that, the children’s paternal grandmother passed from a broken heart. She had buried two of her three children in a matter of months.⁠

Facing the death of a loved one is simply unavoidable. During this journey, I’ve learned a lot about the Cool Kids and even more about how to support grieving children.⁠

1. Give them space to not only grieve but openly speak on happy memories.⁠

2. Understand that not all children will go through the grieving stages at the same time.⁠

3. There was a point when they reached the “anger” phase of grieving. Shots were fired and they held no punches. Initially, I was hotter than fish grease. That was until I understood that I couldn’t take it personally. It wasn’t about me they were simply grieving and processing their emotions⁠

4. Therapy is KEY⁠

5. Children are absolutely resilient ⁠

~Psalms 23:3

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