Helping a grieving child

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Helping a grieving child
Thu, 09-05-2013 - 1:31pm

My dad died Monday night, right before D started classes (first year). His death was expected, and we all went to Seattle to hang out with him and say goodbye at the end of July. Nonethless, it's hard for all of us, but especially for DD who is embarking on this new college adventure, trying new subjects, and trying to make new friends. The first year dean emailed her professors, and I emailed the coordinator for the RAs, and everyone has been very nice to her.

Still, she's kind of a wreck and wants to know when this awful feeling will pass. I don't know what to say. I did go down there (we're less than an hour away even if the traffic is bad) and take her off campus to buy art supplies for her drawing class, and that seemed to help a little. I know she can take a short leave, but neither she nor I think this is a good idea, as it will just make things worse when she has to catch up. (We have some experience with this from soph year in HS!)

Has anyone else been thru something similar?


Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Thu, 09-05-2013 - 4:23pm

My condolences on the loss of your father. Even when its expected or a blessing for someone who is suffering it is never easy for those who remain. Good mom for worrying about your dd, but how are YOU doing?

I second the advice of both previous posters. It will take time for the intense sadness to go away, but eventually it will diminish. There's no "right" way to grieve so its okay to feel however she feels. 

My dad died 20 years ago, my mom 9 yrs ago and my brother 3 yrs ago. I still miss all of them, sometimes to the point of tears. I may go days or weeks without thinking of any of them, then other times one or all are on my mind. When my mom died I got an excellent bit of advice: to be aware that the first year will be the hardest as each holiday or significant date arrives. After that first year, it starts getting easier and less sad.

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Thu, 09-05-2013 - 2:29pm

My ds was very close with my parents (albeit 300 miles away) and they both passed unexpectedly when he was 15, nineteen days apart. He acted all stoic but I knew he felt something.  It's been a little over 5 years and he FINALLY broke down this summer.  Serious meltdown.  So I guess for him it just took a very long time to be able to let go.  I think he's still hurting but knows how we felt/feel now too - he just didn't talk about it for this long. I think finally opening up let him realize we also feel things this much later as well, and that's ok, and so is talking about it.  I'd say just be there, be open, tell her everyone grieves in their own way, and there's no 'wrong' way, no time limit, and that you'll always be there to talk.  Hugs to all.


Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 09-05-2013 - 2:07pm

My mom died unexpectedly, in my house, when my girls were 9 & 12.  They were VERY close to her, as was I, and things were very sad for a while.  I actually was back in college myself at the time.
The best way is to acknowledge that everyone is hurting, and that being sad is normal.  But keeping busy, keeping up with life, makes the hurt more manageable.  Sitting around doing nothing except thinking about how sad you are, does not help.  I think that carrying on is the best idea