grieving in gifted children? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 03-23-2010, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm worried about my daughter. My mother recently died after a 2 month battle against pancreatic cancer.

When they first found the cancer (2 days before Christmas) it was already stage 4 and she was given no treatment options but hospice. At that time my daughter wanted to know what the disease was, what the fatality statistic were and if grandma was going to be one of them that died. She's very black and white, so we explained everything to her truthfully, to help her prepare for her death.

She watched my mom deteriorate over the last month, and I wouldn't let her see my mom the last week (in the last week, she was no longer my mother. She was an empty shell and was a frightening image for me, let alone my daughter). The day she died, my daughter asked about the finality of death and I explained that grandma would never be coming back. She took in my answers and responded with "okay" and then went to read a book.

Since then, she's shown very little emotion about it. She has however, been acting out quite a bit. I suspect this is her way of grieving?

Is it normal for them to show no emotion? She has yet to shed a tear. But when she writes, she writes about how upset she is that grandma died. That she doesn't like it and that it makes her sad. So she's able to express her emotions on paper, but not physically. Is this something that is normal or should I look to find her a grief counselor?

: Karen, wife to my : Mad Scientist and mama to :Emma (10-21-03).
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#2 of 8 Old 03-23-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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I'm so very sorry for your loss. Honestly, I think a grief counselor would be a good idea. Just to get those feelings out before they're bottled up. In my area there is an organization that does group therapy for 12 week sessions for children, maybe there is something similar in your area?
I'm thinking of you and your dd.

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#3 of 8 Old 03-23-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daytripper75 View Post
I'm so very sorry for your loss. Honestly, I think a grief counselor would be a good idea. Just to get those feelings out before they're bottled up. In my area there is an organization that does group therapy for 12 week sessions for children, maybe there is something similar in your area?
I'm thinking of you and your dd.
I agree, and I also am very sorry for your loss.

I attended grief counselling some years ago and what stuck with me is that when a person passes the relationships of those remaining all change (like what was a square shape of connections has to become a triangle). This made it pretty clear that it's about more than grieving the loss but also figuring out how you live this new life without your loved one.

My children's great grandmother passed away two years ago. DD NEVER talks about her and gets "that face" if she's mentioned, or will leave the room. DS cries every single time she's mentioned. Deep, intense feelings can be expressed in a whole range of ways, and it's pretty new for your DD.

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#4 of 8 Old 03-24-2010, 12:55 AM
 
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I'm so sorry for your loss, Icequeen.
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#5 of 8 Old 03-24-2010, 02:18 AM
 
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I'm so sorry for your loss!

Can you go to a family grief counselor, and then have your daughter meet with them, privately, if they wish?

I just lost a dear aunt, and although my kids didn't know her that well (like a grandma) they did know her and were very fond of her.

Going to the memorial service, or visiting a gravel or favorite place of the loved on and having a 'Memorial service' of your own might help.

Its times like this when I am so thankful to be Catholic, because the church really does death well. Maybe (if you are Christian, or not opposed) reading the psalms from the office of the dead.

http://www.breviary.net/allsoulsguil...espersdead.htm

This helped my kids, but they are accustomed to this kind of language and feeling, especially the De profundis. It made it bigger then us, so we could kind of be comforted in the universality of death.


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#6 of 8 Old 03-24-2010, 05:06 AM
 
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Wow. What a hard time for your family. I am so sorry for your loss.

I lost my dad a little over a year ago, and even though my kids weren't that close to him (mostly only my oldest remembered him well -- we got to see him about twice a year), my DS still talks about him and often tells his new baby sister that she has a Grandpa that she will never meet.

If your DD is a very sensitive child, she may also be sensitive to your own grief, and be worried about overwhelming you / starting you crying again or otherwise upsetting you. Is there someone else around that could try talking with her? Another family member, if not a councilor? Also, as others have said, it is still pretty recent -- it might just take a while for her to unfreeze. Give her a little time and patience, and give yourself a lot of grace right now.

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#7 of 8 Old 03-24-2010, 12:43 PM
 
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As someone who doesn't always show my emotions, I'd say that it's great that she can write about it in her journal. Different people grieve in different ways, and it can be hard to articulate a complex emotion like grief.

What about reading some books about death/dying and talking about the books? Since she likes reading, that might be a way to come at it from a less intensely personal angle.

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#8 of 8 Old 03-25-2010, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all. Jilly, you really struck a chord with me. She IS a very sensitive child, and has been VERY worried about my grief. Every time I break down, she runs to me and wants to know why I'm crying, and hugs and holds me. It breaks my heart that she's so worried about me... when I'm so worried about her.

She has had a couple of moments where she'll burst into tears say over a pizza topping not being uniform, and I will ask her "honey... is it really the pizza that you are upset about, or is it something else?" and then I remind her that it's okay to be very sad right now, and it's okay to express that emotion. When I've dove deep like that, she'll quietly say that she's sad about grandma. I remind her that it's okay... that we'll likely be very sad about grandma for quite some time, and that is OKAY.

I guess I just got really worried, because on most days, she's very sensitive and very emotional, yet when mom died, she shut down. The last month of my mom's life we used hospice... and I recall them saying that they had group sessions/counselors for up to a year after the death.... I'm going to check into them, for both of us. Being mom's nurse until the end really tore me to pieces, and I seriously feel like I'm dealing with PTSD in addition to standard grief.

: Karen, wife to my : Mad Scientist and mama to :Emma (10-21-03).
I spend my days : : and seeing how many smilies I can fit in my siggy.
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