Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dealing with Loss: How to tell The Kids...

Hey guys and gals, I have to apologize in advance, this posting is not one of my normal cheerful fun ones.

This week, my husband's grandfather passed away after a long battle.

Then we received news that my grandmother is in the hospital. Right now the doctors aren't sure but they've given us a bleak outlook regarding her recovery. My parents, especially my Dad, are trying to stay hopeful.

Our children are still young, so they may not understand what's happening right now, with all the planning going on. They just know we need to go here and there.

Our oldest being four, is now at an age where she remembers the events happening around her. She's also quite perceptive and it's likely the questions will soon follow, "Why?" "Where did they go?".

To be honest I'm not sure how to respond to these questions, but I don't want to hide the truth from my children.

Now my husband and I are not church going people, but we believe in a higher power. Do we know what truly exists? No. We know what we feel to be true and I was brought up on stories of the bible so I know what is expected of me as a human being in treating others as I would want to be. But, I don't trust churches (this is strictly a personal opinion). I'm not saying the church is bad, but it's more the people I've seen when I attended youth group back in the day. A person would act like a good hearted, god fearing Christian while at church but then be completely false to that persona outside of the institution. We had neighbors and friends who were the same way and it really burned our trust to be associated in the drama and clique like behavior that sometimes becomes associated with it.

No one should judge anyone. It's not your place. But people still do it and use religion sometimes as the crutch to guide them in ignorance.

One great example was when my brother came out to our family as being gay. He had come out to me years before when he was in his teens and I was almost 18. I was happy he finally found who he was, and I had known he was struggling with his identity for a while. However, when it was time to tell my parents, my Mom was none too happy and then turned to the church to "fix the problem" because that's what others told her to do.

Eventually she came to terms and listened to what my brother was trying to tell her all along. She is still a religious woman but she accepts him still as her son, just not so much of his lifestyle. But they still love each other and are close again. Love is love regardless of it's bumps and bruises along the way when it comes to a parent and their child(ren).

Now I know your wondering why the rant on religion, well now here is my point. As I explain Heaven to my oldest daughter she is now open to questions. "Who is God?" "What is Heaven?" and other such inquisitiveness that comes with this territory.

I tried my best to explain what I believed and who He is. I even talked to her about Heaven. We talked about how our loved ones never really leave us as long as we remember and love them.

But there was a doubt that maybe there was more that I could have told her, or exposed her too enough sooner, for her to understand this wonderful place we move onto after life.

My husband and I have talked in the past on and off about going to church, but my apprehension is still there. One such major one is what they will teach her. Like her uncle being Gay. She loves my brother and her other uncle, my husband's brother is straight. I don't want a favoritism to happen because of any seeds of ignorance planted into her mind.

Now I know what you'll say, there are new age churches, not everyone is like that. And I will say yes but it's a little more complicated than that. I wasn't raised in a church going home and neither was my husband. We know the stories of the bible but we also know of those who abuse the system and use the morals of those stories to force their views on others, especially younger people.

I want my kids to have a freedom to believe in what they want and to understand loss in a way where they can grieve and still look at life as something precious, not short with only judgement to look forward to.

So unless someone can convince me different, this is what feels right for our family.

I know I'll never be able to answer all their questions. I also know not everyone may agree with it. And if you don't, that's totally ok. You need to do what's right for your children, just as I feel I am doing right for my own.

I do recommend calling those around you often and telling someone close to you that you love them today, you may not have tomorrow.