We certainly grieve differently as a spouse than our children who have lost their dad. It seems in the beginning of our loss; we all grieve differently and often neglect or forget to check to see how our adult children are doing. Perhaps, we assume that they will let us know how they are doing. Or they may not be ready to talk to us about their dad. Perhaps all involved, are not sure what to say or how to say it. Grief Share counseling is a good way to start if you are struggling with this.
There are several practices in parental grief. They are:
- #1 – Face your grief face to face with Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) reads: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. If we as adults are not dealing with our own grief, we will be less helpful to our children. It is best if we are comfort receivers from the God of all comfort.
- #2 – It’s normal to feel the emotions of grief, sadness, fear and anger. Grief has a piercing sting that wounds deeply. We need to allow our children to vent and lament. It isn’t easy especially when we are going through the grief of our spouse. One of the scripture verses reads: Romans 12:15 (NIV): Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Easier said than done when you are unable to communicate with your adult children.
- #3 – It’s helpful to prepare when possible. If your spouse died suddenly, it isn’t easy to prepare ahead of time. However, once you acknowledge your spouse has died, it is so important to talk about what happened and what is expected going forward. Be sure to talk openly with your children with any questions, concerns apprehensions and fears they may have. If this is difficult for you, your minister or funeral director will be able to help with the questions.
- #4 – It is possible to hope. The hope we have is in Christ. Christ is the Father who hears and cares, the Holy Spirit gives compassion and the Son gives us peace. Remember that life triumphs over death, hope over hurt and Christ over the devil and evil. Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV) promises: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
This may be the first death you have grieved. With that being said, how do we help our children no matter what their age is. Keep in mind, the ages of your children will differ because of their age. If you have adult children, I would encourage a couple of things. One would be to go to counseling as a family or each go individually. Keep in mind, we all grieve separately. If you have younger kids, I would suggest the following books:
- Tear Soup by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen
- Hope Heals by Sarah Kroenke
Every situation is so unique. We cannot compare our situation to anyone else. With that being said, there are some things that are often similar. Unless one has gone through a death of a parent, they truly do not understand what it is like to go through this journey.
As a parent, it isn’t easy to know who to handle this situation. We want to be there for our children but it isn’t always easy. We can only take a day at a time. We must realize that each one of us has a unique relationship with who we have lost. Thank goodness for patience and forgiveness as that is what will get us through our process of this journey.
Hugs and prayers to each of you. Remember to be patient with yourself. God is with us each step of the way and will continue to be with us.