Some people are always caring for others, in one way or another. And for most parents, grandparents, and caregivers, there is no greater joy than taking care of those we love. But this (like so many other things) can change after loss, and this seems especially true for those caring for children.
I had a woman tell me recently that she was struggling to parent her toddler following the loss of her spouse. She was afraid that she had been crying too much, that she was scattered, preoccupied…that she just wasn’t herself.
Now it’s easy for me to validate this experience and tell her that of course she is struggling, how could she not be? But it wouldn’t necessarily help guide her in what direction to take next, and let’s face it – of all the things we don’t want to “mess up” after loss, parenting (or even grandparenting) may be the most important.
A lot of articles that talk about children and grief focus on what the kids’ needs are, and of course those are very important (click here for more resources on kids and grief). But I’m a firm believer that for kids to be okay, they need the adults in their life to guide them. So how to guide and care for a child when you’re grieving and barely able to get by? Some ideas and thoughts below: