How to help BF's son thru the grief

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2004
How to help BF's son thru the grief
12
Wed, 09-15-2010 - 8:44pm

BF and exW have been divorced for several years.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-2009
Thu, 09-16-2010 - 4:42pm

Hi and welcome to the board.

Oh the poor child, poor BF, poor exW and poor you. It is heartbreaking for you all.

I think we often tend to forget just how much death affects children. They tend not always to voice their thoughts so we assume they are dealing better than they really are while really their minds are churning over and over. You sound like a very sensitive lady and this is going to help both BF and his young son through this.

I would suggest that the son's questions are answered as honestly as possible but with only as much information as is strictly necessary and not too much detail. It is best to just answer the questions as they come so the child can absorb and process the information. If he wants to ask more , he will. I am sure you will ovoid using the term 'mom fell asleep' to explain her death. It can give even the older child a terrible fear of sleeping and bedtimes become times of increased anxiety. The little boy should be encouraged to face this the way that he wants, let him guide you. For example, although he must be given the choices, he may or may not want to go to a visitation at the church, etc.

He is going to feel so lost but a little thought will make things easier for him. Try to keep a routine for him as this can actually be quite calming when a child knows more or less how his day will run. If his dad goes out and says he will be back at a certain time then try to keep to that time as being late might trigger anxiety. Let him cry when and where he wants. You might find he will be angry and this is normal. I am sure I don't need to tell you that you will need patience and understanding because the very fact you have posted here shows your concern for both BF and his son.

You might find letting him have a special belonging of his Mom to keep with him helps. Also a bottle of her perfume he can sniff as it will help him feel she is with him. A memory box is also good. A special box, all of his own, that only he can touch. he can put cards, belongings, keepsakes that he can take out and hold whenever he needs to do so. My brother's children all have these boxes and they find much comfort in them. My SIL has also written down stories and memories about my brother and they have them in their boxes. Other family members have done the same.

Don't stop mentioning her name for fear of upsetting the child. Yes he will be upset but he will be even more upset if everyone acts like she didn't exist. Have photographs out of her for him . I am sure following his lead you will all come through this. You may also find he develops a fear of something happening to his dad so he will need constant loving reassurance about this.

You sound so lovely and caring, he is a lucky boy that he has you so concerned about him. Please don't feel offended if he resents you and acts out for a time. It is a very normal process of grieving for children. It really isn't personal but be prepared. It may not happen but you sound so level headed I am sure you will cope beautifully.

I am sure your BF will lean on you and will draw comfort from you. Listening, a hug, being there will be what he needs. This is a chapter of his life that has come to an end and even though he loves you, he will feel this loss intensely. He will, like his son, need to work through this and it will take time. He will come through though.

But the best advice of all is.....Just be there. Sometimes just being there helps more than you realize.

I hope this helps. And we are always here for support for you all.

In Gentleness,

Promise













siggy by hubbswifey...Katie


Community Leader
Registered: 10-22-2001
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 10:13am
I think both your b/f and his son are LUCKY to have you in their lives.
You are allowing them space to re-connect, actually realize they may need that father/son time.
Your b/f is grieving for his son and by asking for your help he is reaching out...he is grieving for what might have been if his son had lived with him sooner and although he wanted that, he did not wish it to be under these circumstances.
Time is what they will both need but it sounds like you really and truly understand this.
His son is going to find this so very hard but he has his dad who loves him and his dad will have you.
We ALL grieve differently.
My dd and I grieve similarly in that we do talk but my ds is more quiet.
When my fiancé died it was hard, his Anniversary just went by.
I knew my ds missed him when he said to me out of the blue one day he wished we could finish painting the door he was painting the LAST TIME WE SAW HIM...THAT'S WHEN I KNEW HOW MUCH THIS HAD AFFECTED HIM TO.
His son will have a lot of adjusting, your b/f to.
I would just let your b/f know that you are there to help in ANY way you can.
Your b/f and his son will find a way.
Do you live together?
Does his son know you?
It will be a time of adjustment for everyone...there is no right or wrong way.
His son may like having you around, or he might not. I believe it would ONLY be temporary while he sorts out his emotions.
Kids can feel guilty to.
It is also a major change for him to.
Your b/f has to realize that his son may need him to lean on.
I am sure your b/f might need to lean on you to.
Don't be afraid to let him know what you need to.
<3
Nightangel
Nightangel
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2004
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 1:33pm

Hi Promise, thank you for your post.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2004
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 1:42pm

Hi Night Angel,

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-2009
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 3:11pm

~hug~ Anniversaries are hard Night Angel. I hope you are doing as ok as you can right now.

Promise













siggy by hubbswifey...Katie


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-2009
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 3:14pm

Hi,
you have the best gift already that will help you help your bf and his son. Sensitivity combined with common sense. It won't be a easy ride as bereavement never is but they will come through this. It will take time but healing does take place.

Promise













siggy by hubbswifey...Katie


Community Leader
Registered: 10-22-2001
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 6:29am
I believe they are very Lucky to have you be part of their Lives.
Nightangel
Nightangel
Community Leader
Registered: 10-22-2001
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 6:31am
~hugs~
Thanks Promise, I really appreciated that, more than you will ever know.
<3
Nightangel
Nightangel
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2004
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 6:12pm

As an update to this sad situation BF's exW came home to hospice care Friday and BF told me he booked a flight to come home this coming Wednesday figuring that exW and sons and hospice workers would be in a pattern by then.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-2009
Mon, 09-20-2010 - 2:26pm

Hi,
I am so sorry for all the pain that everyone will be going through now ExW has passed away. There would never have been good time for it to happen but sometimes it is better to think how much pain everyone was spared. The pain exW would have been enduring and the pain of BF and his son in watching it. I am just so very sorry.

It is going to be a long and rocky road for you all but you sound like you will be as supportive to the both of them as you can and that will mean more to them than you will ever know.

I have no idea how this will affect your relationship with BF. It could just as well make it stronger than ever so don't assume it will push you apart. Your BF may go through a stage where he seems to push you away but his may well be that, like a lot of bereaved people, he is scared to love and be close to you because he is afraid of losing you. It is a very real fear for many people. I went through it myself. I was so afraid that I would love someone so deeply then they would be taken from me. I tried to distance myself to prevent that happening but nature wins in the end.

Just remember we are here to support you through this as well as we are able.

Promise













siggy by hubbswifey...Katie


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