I have posted before about the grief and loss groups I facilitate at work. I run four groups on Mondays and 1 group on Thursdays. I have done this every week since November. So you would think I have become an expert on this, right?
It is a whole new ball game when it's personal. I have been through loss before. One of the hardest times in my life was when my son's father passed away in 2006. It was sad and tragic. I had a very hard time coping. My son was only five at the time, so I dealt with my own loss more than his. I grieved over the future he would never have with his dad.
Now, my Nana is going to pass away soon. She is older (in her 70's) and has lived a wonderful life. My son is now twelve and having a very hard time dealing with this. I knew he would be sad, but I didn't think this would impact him as much as it has. No amount of knowledge or preparation can ready someone to see their child truly in such a state of sadness.
This must be one of the hardest parts of being a mother. I think I am saying all of the "right" things. I have officially gone "counselor" on him. I am spending more time with him, telling him about death, telling him it is ok to be sad, and trying to make him laugh. But there is nothing I can do to make him feel better.
I know this is a part of being a mother, but that doesn't make it any easier. I know with time he will be ok. The pain lessens and sadness will not be there everyday. It's just waiting for this time to be over that is the hardest. Seeing him sad multiplies my sadness by a million.
I think sometimes the stars align just right to fill us with sadness before moving on to a better time.
One of my co-workers recently passed away (last week). He was only 61. When I was younger, that was ancient to me, but now, it seems way too young. He was a wonderful man and helped so many people. The sadness I feel for his family is overwhelming.
I am trying to reach into my mind for all of the words of "wisdom" I had to offer my students during their time of grief. I think what helped them most was not the art, not the games and not the activities. I think it was just being with each other and knowing they weren't alone.
Everyone dies. We teach our children to tie their shoes, do their chores and study hard. As well we must teach them about death and how to lose someone we love.