BELGIUM: A Child’s View Of Grief

BELGIUM: A Child’s View Of Grief

2014-08-27 20.19.11“Are you sad, mommy ? ”

It was my eldest asking. She has a way of noticing these things.

Although the question took me by surprise, I had no alternative but to answer it. Truthfully.

Yes dear, yes. Mommy is sad.

“Why are you sad, Mommy?”

Mommy is sad because bad things are happening to good people. Mommy is sad because she will have to say goodbye to somebody very dear to her much too soon. She is sad because she kept hoping for a miracle of sorts, but it never came.

I know it is OK to feel sad, but I try not to show it in front of my children, for fear that the sadness in my heart will to spill over into theirs. And I don’t want that. My first instinct is – and has always been – to protect my children. Protect them from harm, from illness, from heartbreak. To prolong their innocent happiness.

So instead of crying I try to be cheerful, hiding my worries behind a smile. I try not to upset their secure world more than necessary. But they noticed anyway. Apparently my eyes weren’t smiling anymore.

Serious illness and death which sometimes follows in its wake are new to them. When my father was diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago they were too young to really grasp what was happening. Granddad was sick and in the hospital, the doctor could make him better. He was in the hospital for a long time and visiting was no fun, because the hospital smelled weird.

But now, at 4 and 5 years old, my children are at that age when curiosity for EVERYTHING is at its peak. Although they may not fully grasp the situation or understand the permanence of death or the seriousness of illness, they do notice something is off. And they want answers and when they want answers they turn to ‘Mommypedia’.

There is no need to sit them down at the kitchen table and discuss for half an hour. I let them come to me of their own accord. This usually happens when they are colouring or when I’m driving them somewhere. It is impossible for them to NOT be active in any way, so when the body is forced to remain stationary the mind starts to work.

I try to keep things as simple as possible, try using the same words over and over so they won’t be confused. I compare the body to a clock which is broken and no watchmaker can fix. I explain why I’m sad, what will happen. If necessary I explain four or five times in a row.

But I don’t always have the answers. Even though the questions are so simple.

How do you talk to your children about death and grieving?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Tinne of Tantrums & Tomatoes from Belgium. Photo credit to the author.

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes

Born in Belgium on the fourth of July in a time before the invention of the smart phone Tinne is a working mother of two adorably mischievous little girls, the wife of her high school sweetheart and the owner of a black cat called Atilla. Since she likes to cook her blog is mainly devoted to food and because she is Belgian she has an absurd sense of humour and is frequently snarky. When she is not devoting all her attention to the internet, she likes to read, write and eat chocolate. Her greatest nemesis is laundry.

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WASHINGTON, USA:  In Fond Remembrance: The Rainbow and the Bald Eagles

WASHINGTON, USA: In Fond Remembrance: The Rainbow and the Bald Eagles

Picture1It’s dark-thirty in the morning.  The alarm goes off.  It’s time to start the daily grind.  I go into the bathroom, turn the faucet on, wet my toothbrush, spread some toothpaste on it and start brushing.  I look up into the mirror.  I look tired.  I stare at the three white hairs that have started to grow along the part in my hair.  All is quiet.  Everyone is still sound asleep.

I start to wonder…what would be different if I were not here?  It makes me sad to start thinking of not being around my girls and my husband.  No more morning hellos with sleepy eyes peeking out from under disheveled bed head hair.  No more bedtime stories and good-night snuggles.  No more gentle kisses on warm sleeping heads as I watch my girls sleep before going to bed.

I get teary and have to stop thinking.  I am thankful for this day.  I will enjoy the day, be present in moments when I am interacting with those I care about, and at the end, reflect on the good things that have happened.

Why?  Because life is fragile.  We take it for granted.  And the truth is we just never know when a lifetime will be cut short. (more…)

Eva Fannon (USA)

Eva Fannon is a working mom who lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her hubby and two girls. She was born and raised on the east coast and followed her husband out west when he got a job offer that he couldn't refuse. Eva has always been a planner, so it took her a while to accept that no matter how much you plan and prepare, being a mom means a new and different state of "normal". Despite the craziness on most weekday mornings (getting a family of four out the door in time for work and school is no easy task!), she wouldn't trade being a mother for anything in the world. She and her husband are working on introducing the girls to the things they love - travel, the great outdoors, and enjoying time with family and friends. Eva can be found on Twitter @evafannon.

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SAUDI ARABIA: To God We Belong, And To Him We Shall Return

How do you talk about death to children? It is one thing to talk about it in the abstract, but a whole other thing when you have to tell them someone they know and love died.

I remember my first true experience with death. I was maybe around 9 years old. I was at school one day sitting in the middle row of desks. I turned and saw that one of my closest friends had turned red and was shaking in her seat.

She fell to the ground, some of the children around her got up to see if she was ok, and I just stood there. (more…)

Mama B (Saudi Arabia)

Mama B’s a young mother of four beautiful children who leave her speechless in both, good ways and bad. She has been married for 9 years and has lived in London twice in her life. The first time was before marriage (for 4 years) and then again after marriage and kid number 2 (for almost 2 years). She is settled now in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (or as settled as one can be while renovating a house). Mama B loves writing and has been doing it since she could pick up a crayon. Then, for reasons beyond her comprehension, she did not study to become a writer, but instead took graphic design courses. Mama B writes about the challenges of raising children in this world, as it is, who are happy, confident, self reliant and productive without driving them (or herself) insane in the process. Mama B also sheds some light on the life of Saudi, Muslim children but does not claim to be the voice of all mothers or children in Saudi. Just her little "tribe." She has a huge, beautiful, loving family of brothers and sisters that make her feel like she wants to give her kids a huge, loving family of brothers and sisters, but then is snapped out of it by one of her three monkeys screaming “Ya Maamaa” (Ya being the arabic word for ‘hey’). You can find Mama B writing at her blog, Ya Maamaa . She's also on Twitter @YaMaamaa.

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MINNESOTA, USA: The Bittersweet Reality of Back to School

The letter arrived in the mail on Saturday.  There it sat, long, white and unopened.  My heart skipped a beat.  No, it wasn’t the anticipated college acceptance or rejection letter.  Nor was it a job offer or denial.  It was the letter that would represent my young son’s future:  His teacher assignment for first grade.

I opened it up quickly with mixed feelings.  Who would it be?  Would it be who I wanted?  Would his newly made friends from Kindergarten be in his class?  Or, would he be all alone, faced once again to meet new friends? 

As I read the letter, these thoughts raced through my mind, but a deeper, more powerful reaction took over my mind.  (more…)

Nicole Melancon (USA)

Third Eye Mom is a stay-at-home mom living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her two children Max (6) and Sophia (4). Her children keep her continually busy and she is constantly amazed by the imagination, energy and joy of life that they possess! A world wanderer at heart, she has also been fortunate to have visited over 30 countries by either traveling, working, studying or volunteering and she continues to keep on the traveling path. A graduate of French and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she met her husband Paul, she has always been a Midwest gal living in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Chicago. This adventurous mom loves to be outside doing anything athletic (hiking, running, biking, skiing, snowshoeing or simply enjoying nature), to travel and volunteer abroad, to write, and to spend time with her beloved family and friends. Her latest venture involves her dream to raise enough money on her own to build and open a brand-new school in rural Nepal, and to teach her children to live compassionately, open-minded lives that understand different cultures and the importance of giving back to those in need. Third Eye Mom believes strongly in the value of making a difference in the world, no matter how small it may be. If there is a will, there is a way, and that anything is possible (as long as you set your heart and mind to it!). Visit her on her blog, Thirdeyemom, where she writes about her travels and experiences in other lands!

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Friday Question: Why do you blog?

Today’s Friday Question comes to us from our founder, Veronica Samuels.  This week she asked our writers…

“Why do you blog?”

And here are the responses from some of our World Moms…

Alison Lee of Malaysia writes:
“I love to write and I’m pretty opinionated and where better than to express it in my own little space?  I also enjoy connecting with fellow moms, learning from their experiences, sharing in their joy, sadness and triumphs.  I get a lot of satisfaction from blogging and have gained some friendships along the way.  What’s not to love?”

Check out Alison’s blog at http://mamawantsthis.blogspot.com. (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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