Teaching Children About Loss

My kids have had a lot of loss. They lost their family, their house, their community, their state. They lost their culture and their language and their way of living.

They lost it all at once, in an emergency, with police and flashing lights. If I could prevent all future traumas, I would. I know I am supposed to want them to experience loss and trauma to facilitate growth, but I don’t feel like that. I feel like shielding them, forever.

Today I had to tell my sons that their teacher had died last night. It was their art teacher. Middle child had liked her very much, she impressed him from the first and he was anticipating her return to school, as she was out for maternity leave (The baby is fine, a healthy girl). My oldest child was not sure who the art teacher was. Maybe not understanding faces is a blessing at times like these. It must be hard to get close to people you do not see. I was lucky to be able to say that she passed instantly, without pain.

My other children were very sympathetic to Middle Child, hugging him and comforting him.

Middle child went out to play and the older neighbor boy (RAD) wanted to play wrestling. I don’t allow wrestling, and said so. Having PTSD kids wrestle does not always turn out well. Okay, it never turns out well. Middle child tried to bow out, but RAD friend insisted, by physically instigating the play when I was out of sight. RAD friend got hurt and came to me immediately to see what consequences I would enforce. I reminded him that I do not allow wrestling and he should refrain from that sort of play and I asked middle child to go into the house. Middle child wanted to ride his bike. I asked him to play alone then, if he were to remain outside. He agreed. I asked RAD child to leave him alone, and explained what had happened. RAD child immediately went to my middle son (again out of sight from me on his bike) and teased him- my oldest child got in the doorway, told him to leave and told him also that what he was doing was wrong. Which was good. I want my autistic child to be able to stand up and speak out. I found my middle child in tears behind his big brother and we all held him and agreed while he cried about how wrong it is to tease about death and dying. I learned my lesson not to expect so much from RAD child, no matter his age or intelligence.

He fell asleep just now. Exhausted after the emotional seesaw and the comforting distraction of a Lego story. He begged me to pick him up immediately after school tomorrow so that he does not have to see his RAD friend at all at daycare, which they both attend. I agreed. I will be waiting outside as he gets off the bus tomorrow. His school will be having grief counseling and etc all day tomorrow. For which I am grateful.

I cancelled his appointment with the psychologist. I think he should be in school with people who understand his pain, and this way I won’t have to drive a borrowed car far away. Borrowing cars makes me nervous. I have already told him that the grief counselors are nice ladies, he knows the company they work for and has been there for special needs sports. I hope the boys took my encouragement to talk about their feelings to heart, and sees the counselors as needed.  I am proud of how middle child talked about his feelings to me. I am proud of how his brother and sister reacted to his pain. I hope this weekend is relaxing for him, he starts gymnastics on Saturday.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Teaching Children About Loss

  1. Wow. Not easy. Praying the weekend brings some joy.

  2. Sorry for yours and your children’s loss. What is RAD?

  3. So sorry to hear this! I am glad you feel positive about the way the school is handling this, though.

  4. Wow…you do a good job. Your oldest son took a stand for safety…good job. I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of the teacher. It sounds completely unexpected and that would certainly up the emotional ante in someone with PTSD.

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