Day 3.1: myths, continued

{Because sometimes you need a "point-one". Windows and Android can do it, why can't I?}

It's just like me to not quite be ready to put yesterday to bed when it is time to start a new day. But, I must continue on with some of the thoughts I deleted yesterday because I felt the post was getting "too big for its britches," as my sweet, funny Grandma used to say.

So, there is a little more I wanted to share about the myth, as I see it, that children should be excluded from conversations about grief and death. The main message came to me just this morning as I spoke with a friend who is walking a very different road than mine, but has been allowing me to walk alongside her as she grieves the loss of her marriage. She shared that people have told her that it was not good for her children to see her cry.

"TEARS ARE NOT TOXIC," I told her.


I was not born with the tear-sucker-upper gene. Once that hot, salty water starts boiling up in me, it's coming out! So, my children have seen me cry. . . a lot.

Ava came into our lives when my son was two. Even at that young age, he was so in tune with my feelings. He most often would say, "You missing Ava? Need a tissue?" He would run those sweet stubby legs of his over and grab a Kleenex and run it back to me with a hug.

Even if I had tried to hide the tears in solitude in another room {sometimes mommas just NEED the solitude} his little heat-seeking radar would sniff me out pretty quickly.

One time I was on the phone downstairs talking quietly with a friend and he was upstairs with Daddy. I gasped in a big gulp of air, and a few seconds later I heard the pitter-patter of little feet across the ceiling above me and then a yell coming down the stairs, "MOMMY, YOU CRYING? YOU NEED TISSUE?" Ah, laughter through the tears.

I always made a point to say, "I am very sad that Ava cannot live with us. And, I am so happy that you are with me." Sometimes I tell him, "I have so much love in my heart for all my kids that it just overflows out of my eyeballs!" I never want my children to think for a minute that I was so sad that I didn't have their sister that I could not be overjoyed to have them with me.

I planned while I was pregnant with Ava, long before we knew my body would be the only home she would know on this earth, that as a mother of two it would be important to make special time for each of my children. Even though she did not come home from the hospital with us, this still has held true.

Grieving parents need time and space to love ALL their children for the rest of their lives. This sometimes involves rivers of tears, sometimes only a misty eye, other times a smile. It involves having safe places to speak about them without judgment, without well-intended urgings to "get over it" or "move on."

I say, parents, let the tears come. Emotions and tears are God-given soul-cleansers. They are not shameful. {Our boys need to know this, too.} They do not mean you are weak. They do not necessarily mean that you are depressed. If you grieve with your children, they will not become morose, fearful or emotionally scarred. When explained in a loving, honest way, I believe our tears can help our families.

It shows our children that it is okay to feel and express themselves in a healthy way. When they are faced with troubles some day -- and oh, how I cringe at the inevitability of that for my kids -- hopefully they will remember how we were able to face tragedy head-on as a family, crying when we needed to, and yet still finding joy and gratitude together along the way.

*   intro   *   day 1   *   day 2   *   day 3   *   day 4   *   day 5   *   day 6   *
*   day 7   *   day 8   *   day 9   *   day 10   *
day 15



3 comments


Jordan Hamilton said...

Love, Love, Love this post.

Our oldest, Calder, was two when our youngest, Tripp, died. I remember our counsellor telling us right at the start not to shield Calder from our pain. He told us, "You are kidding yourselves if you don't think Calder can tell you are sad. Just be sad. He will only be confused when you tell him you are happy when you are clearly not. Cry when you need to and let him comfort you." You said EXACTLY what I would have said for this post except probably better! Kids need to be part of it.

I love how you explained that time grieving for our babies is time spent loving them. Beautifully put.

Laura Monchuk said...

Thank you for sharing this, Jordan. That was great advice from your counselor. (And it is nice to hear these things from a professional who has seen how this all plays out many times.)

I will never forget your reaching out to me, a stranger, only days after I had Ava and letting me know that everything that I felt, no matter what it was, was RIGHT. So powerful to me then. And, now here you are with great encouragement for me as I begin to share more. You are a wonderful woman and mother. Thank you.

hope said...

Tears are not toxic that's something I needed to hear! Thanks

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