Daily Thought For March 14, 2019
One Family's Journey Through Grief
This was our work, as father and mother: to help our children grieve and work through their feelings about Johnny's death; to create an environment where the children felt free to talk about anything on their minds, whether happy, sad, angry, humorous. The only way to help our children was by being their model, by letting them see us grieve. Contrary to what many people think, trying to shield children from grief and pain is one of the most destructive things a parent can do. Their grief is real. The choice is to express it or repress it. If they repress it now they will deal with it over and over again in later life. This is a psychological fact of life. A child who sees a parent grieve will know that it is okay to grieve. For the children to see us grieve had this advantage as well: They know how much we love Johnny. And by inference, they know how much we love them. They know we would miss them this much if they were gone.
They also needed to see us survive, because our example would assure them that they would survive. We needed to give them permission to survive and get better and grow through this experience—and thrive once again, however long it might take and however improbable it might feel at the moment. Watching us gave them permission and showed them how. They were watching us even as we watched over them. They were getting cues from us about faith, hope, love, endurance, sorrow, and so many other things besides. Of course we did not want to overwhelm them with our sorrow. But our great concern was their freedom to talk. So we kept talking about Johnny, but not canonizing. We did not want them competing in an impossible race with their brother the saint.
from A Grief Unveiled —One Father's Journey Through The Death Of A Child by Gregory Floyd pp.63-64