Grieving When You're a Mother

I recently read something from Rachel Hollis that said "Your kids are never old enough to watch you have a breakdown." She got a ton of hate online about this statement, and I feel torn about it. To one end of the spectrum, I do think it is very hard for children to see their parents have a break down and seeing this repeatedly can have an affect on them. It can cause fear and anxiety in them. However I do think there is a healthy mix of watching your parents go through tough experiences. When my dad passed away I spent a few days away from my kids, mainly because they were so tiny and I needed to help with the funeral and be there for my mom. I couldn't be there for my kids so my husband and in-laws took care of them. 

In the following days and weeks when I was with my three kids I definitely had my moments of crying. When tears would stream down my face Turner would ask if I missed Pawpaw and I would say yes, and he would give me a hug. Turner was 4 and my twins were 11 months old when he died. I spent most of my time crying in my car and in the shower, away from people. I could process my emotions best when alone, however I don't think we need to hide all our emotions from our kids. They need to know we're sad and it's a great example of learning empathy and how to express emotion. 

It's been almost 4 years and every year the sting gets a little less painful. It's extremely important for me to talk about my dad around my kids and keep his memory alive. My twins don't remember him, but because of the stories I tell I feel like they know him. When they see a horse, they yell out "Pawpaw used to ride horses!" or when we talk about death they always say, "We'll get to be with Pawpaw in heaven!". They also know how he died, and that he had heart problems and died from surgery in the hospital. 

To be honest having kids took my mind off the pain and loss, because I had to stay focused on them. I was so busy raising three young kiddos I didn't have much time to sit and be sad. I was always going, which is why when I did slow down like in my car, I cried. 

If you are grieving with children, I encourage you to be honest and let them see your tears every now and then. It's ok to be vulnerable and allow them to see your pain. You are sad because you loved so deeply, and that is a beautiful gift. Let them know that it will be OK, and you will keep fighting and loving. My children are a part of my father's legacy, and for that I am very grateful. 

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