I interrupt the current blog series to share something on my heart. A personal story from last week.
Tucking him into bed, we held each other's presence with extra reverence. I'd been gone for six days. He called to me, "Mama, we saw Ferdinand with Grammy. It was so sad." He went on to tell me how much he loved the movie and how the little bull wanted to smell the flowers rather than fight the other bulls. His voice lowered as he told me that one day the little bull's father didn't come home after being chosen to fight the matador. With tears welling up in his big brown eyes, he stopped and looked away. It felt like forever as he gained his composure to speak again.
I too, felt my tears filling up and they spilled over just as he looked at me. He whispered, "Then he grew up to be the biggest and strongest bull...he's like me, Mama." We held each other and each cried quietly. Me for my little bull. I can only imagine what my child, now almost six foot tall 13 year old was thinking.
MY HEART. THESE MOMENTS.
Caring for children in grief is excruciating. One minute I want to wipe away their pain and make the world perfect. Another moment I want to make sure they are processing and moving through their grief. And at the end of the day it doesn't matter what I want. A child's grief is just that...their own. Just as I believe we each have our own grief journey and path to move through, the same applies for children, teens and young adults.
I'm learning the fine art of: patience, presence and compassion.
Patience because children grieve on their own terms just like adults. Presence because when there's an opening I want to be there. Ready. Listening. Open. And compassion because when the opening happens what they need is our loving, judgement-free kindness and care.
Tender moments with my son are far and few between. That's just how he is made. He is tough as nails on the exterior, but his inner core is gentle and delicate. So when he bravely lets down his guard and shares something meaningful to him, I'm ready to hold that space. He will know that he is safe with me. And he can share those intimate and piercing moments which release his pain, increase his connection and lets him know that a man can be strong and tender.
Grieving children need our patience, presence and compassion. And what's more, so do every one of us. It amazes me how the innocence of babes can deliver lessons to all. Hug your people. Love them fierce. Be present for the moments.
Thank you for letting me share my journey. My hope is that this connection between you and I brings solace and hope.
Much love, Aimee
*Are you interested in learning more about grief guidance and wayfinding? I offer a complimentary 30 minute session.
Photo credit: Adi Yusuf