Caught between grieving and responsibility

Users who viewed this discussion (Total:8)

Joined
Apr 11, 2016
Messages
175
Likes
35
Points
28
Thread starter #1
My sister, whose husband just died, is now compelled to work fulltime to provide for her 2 kids who are both in middle school. They used to always spend time together, especially during weekends. But she is now skipping bonding time because of work, and she feels guilty about it. She is worried because it’s the critical age where her kids needed her most, plus the fact that they are supposed to still be grieving.

She would often call crying and all I can do is just listen. I am not sure how to comfort her and not sure how I can help for I am also busy with my own family. Any advice you could give me (or for my sister)? Or anyone who has experienced the same?
 

djbaxter

Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Nov 10, 2016
Messages
1,509
Likes
720
Points
113
#2
That's so sad but it's something many parents world-wide have to cope with.

The reality is that your sister is doing what she has to do to keep her family going. It's not a choice. Somebody has to pay the rent and put food on the table. Helping your sister to remind herself of that is important. She is not abdicating her role as a mom; she is simply doing what she has to do to be a provider for the family as well as being a mom.

I've been in that position myself. All she can really do is try to give them as much time as she can when she is able to do that - and at the same time try to find some down time for herself since she too is grieving and trying to balance work, family, and her own individual needs.

You don't say how old her children are but one thing that may help (it was helpful for me and my children) is to try to work out periodic but regular times when each of the children gets time alone with their mom, i.e., time when they don't have to share mom with a sibling. I tried to base it on what the individual child liked. With one of my sons, it was going to his favorite restaurant for brunch once a week, just him and I. For his brother, it was a nature walk or going fishing. These don't need to be huge blocks of time - just an hour or two once a week may do it. It's a way of reassuring the children that despite all the things that have changed, some things haven't, and one of those things is how important each child is to her.
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2016
Messages
175
Likes
35
Points
28
Thread starter #3
hi, djbaxter sad to hear that you experienced the same... not sure of the kids' exact age, but both are in middle school.

thanks for the advice... having a time alone with each child is a good idea... I can also do that with my kids, a great way to know them more.

By the way, may I know how long before you were able to cope? I'm afraid that it would take long for my sister to get used to her situation. I don't want to see her suffer from depression or nervous breakdown again like she used to when we lost our mom.
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2016
Messages
175
Likes
35
Points
28
Thread starter #4
Such a sad situation. Listening to your sister does help her vent and that alone will aid her healing. Somehow, get her to do something fun with her family. Go out together to get Ice cream or go to a movie together. Even a walk in the local park together can open up conversation and reestablish bonds. You can initiate the fun by getting everyone together for an afternoon of enjoyment. Maybe you know of their interests and can start with something they like doing like hiking or a zoo...something fun. Be patient and in time your help will show.

Great! I think I can use my off to be with them and I can bring my kids, too, so they can bond with their cousins... Thanks for the suggestion...
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2016
Messages
175
Likes
35
Points
28
Thread starter #5
Hi, I just talked to my sister earlier on the phone and I shared with her your suggestions. Her voice sounds calmer and when I asked her, she told me that she tried this online counseling site, ReGain. They have given her some advice which she started applying and so far she is happy with the result.
 

Leigh Steele

Administrator
Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Messages
41
Likes
51
Points
18
#8
I am so sorry to hear of her loss. I think you are doing a great job of supporting her. Keep reminding her to:
1) Allow herself time and patience (both with grieving and with ramping up with work). Kids are remarkably resilient and forgiving.
2) Check out resources that could help her financially (government and community programs)
3) Remind her that spending time with her kids can still happen, although it may look different. It's quality vs. quantity and kids can feel that. Also, things will settle back into some sort of rhythm and routine at some point (albeit many months or a year or so) , so remind her it just takes time
4) Help her ramp up community support with her friends and tribe. People are always willing to lend a hand with helping out with meals, carpooling, errands, etc.
5) Have open, vulnerable, and honest conversations with her kids as they all grow and evolve together in grief and loss
 

VirtualGlobalPhone

Moderator
MVP
Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2016
Messages
642
Likes
241
Points
43
#9
Grief is very powerful and need to be handled / dealt with complete acceptance of reality without any resistance. Once this is realized then "Moving on ..." becomes little better.

The point of realization that moving on is the only way will help. That only as a brother you can create with the future along with her with right type of positive seeds in her mind.
 

djbaxter

Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Nov 10, 2016
Messages
1,509
Likes
720
Points
113
#10
VirtualGlobalPhone that is often easier said than done. Sometimes, grief needs to wait for the right time for you to process it. But it will wait - for years if need be, so eventually it must be faced and it must be processed, one way or another.

There are no rules for grieving except that one. There is no universal right way to grieve and no universal right time to grieve. Each of us does it his or her way at his or her own pace and time.

I don't personally like the term "moving on" either, although it works for some people. You don't really "move on", or "get past it", or "get over it". You find ways to accommodate the loss in your life and to continue living despite the loss, but that loss will always be with you like an empty space in your life. You know you are starting to get there when you are more able to remember and honor that person's life instead of being so focused on the end of that life.
 
Top