Being a parent when you have lost your own

(9 Posts)
VerucaInTheNutRoom Thu 19-Dec-13 10:59:06

I have lost both of my parents, my mum when I was a child and my dad a few years ago. My stepmother and aunt and uncle all died in the last few years so it has been really tough. I also live away from the rest of my family so don't see them often so my DCs only know DH's family. I have photos of my parents around the house and I tell my kids stories about my parents and what we did when I was a little girl, they do love to hear about that. The worst part is that now I have children of my own I understand how much bloody hard work is involved and how you worry about them ceaselessly. I now look back at how I was critical of my dad's parenting choices and feel shit for not appreciating that while he wasn't perfect, he did his best for us (for a long time as a lone parent) most of the time.

MyNameIsAnAnagram Thu 19-Dec-13 10:47:20

My dh and I have both lost a parent, and have ds1 (3.5) and ds2 (7m). Ds1 is fascinated by families and who is who's mummy, brother etc and has started asking who is your mummy to me and who is your daddy to dh. I'm ashamed to say that so far we have managed to change the subject as we are just not quite ready to discuss it with him. We haven't yet had to explain death at all to him and are s bit at a loss as to how to do it. And also part of me just doesn't want him ever to know that mummies and daddies aren't always there, the thought of him thinking we might not always be there for him is heartbreaking. It's not helped by the fact that my family is a bottling if feelings type so we don't actually talk about my mum much at all, which makes it a big deal if we do iyswim, so I do tend to get upset even though she died over 30 years ago.

So for those of you who have talked to your children about it, how did you broach the subject?

nightbird80 Tue 10-Dec-13 13:50:06

It is so hard. Sorry for everyone's losses. I lost my dad as a teenager and my mum 3 years ago. My dad obviously never met my children. My mum met the older two but not the toddler. I love that I can joke with the older two about nanny but feel sad for the youngest who will only know 1 grandparent. Also not helped by the fact that mil has a clear favourite in dd.
It hits you at strange times. Like sat ion a bus overhearing a couple talking about what they are getting grandchildren.

t875 Sun 08-Dec-13 18:43:57

Same here we talk about my mum still and do special things in her memory. My children do special things too. And they also talk about her. But we lost her last year.

They have seen me cry but that I don't mind as its good for them to see its ok to cry.

Sorry for all your losses all on this thread. Feeling for you all xx

telsa Sat 07-Dec-13 08:27:32

It is tough. In our family we have always talked a lot about the departed and so made them part of the family history. I know it is far from the same, but it does make them real for DCs. I still break down in tears sometimes after years, but I think it is important to talk about who they were. and I second the idea that getting upset in front the the DC is no bad thing.It teaches them empathy and enhances their love.

Thank you both for reading and replying - sorry for your losses also. I don't think I've ever really tackled how I feel - I've stuck on a brave face and distracted myself by being the 'organiser' or the 'do-er' of things. And its led to big waves of grief that are triggered by things like seeing grandparents in the park, or seeing families out for Sunday lunch.

Now I'm worried that my avoiding tactics are going to hamper my ability to discuss or explain things to DS when he asks. And I'm worried about getting upset infront of him because he won't understand - though I'm probably doing a disservice to his empathy skills. But I feel like I want to protect him from topics like this just now.

Probably not wise?

pippitysqueakity Fri 06-Dec-13 21:50:43

Can't suggest how to make it better, I'm afraid. But I try to celebrate my mum to my DDs, how much she would have (does?) love them.
But totally get the wanting to share bit. My DM would so have loved all of being a gran,I wish she was here to enjoy.
And yes, of course you are grieving, and it never really goes away does it?

ThermoLobster Fri 06-Dec-13 21:50:21

I am so sorry for your loss. I don't think you can make it better. It is what it is. I am in a similar situation. DD1 is 4 and asking lots of questions. When I told her my mum had died, she was so sad for me, it made me love her all the more. She said 'do you miss her mum?' and it made everything worse but everything better as well. Conscious that none of that has helped you but just wanted you to know you are not alone.

Hi, this is my first venture onto here (this part, not MN overall) so I apologise if this is a bit rambly.

I lost my dad 9 years ago and my mum 4 years ago, both before I was 30 and pre-DC. I just feel so overwhelmingly sad, particularly because neither my mum or my dad met their grandchildren.

DS is just three and asked me yesterday where my mummy was. I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach and couldn't think of how to possibly explain to him. I'm really ashamed that I changed the subject, but I'm going to have to brave those kinds of questions one day, because he's starting to work out family relationships etc., e.g. MIL and FIL being DH's parents. Plus we have pictures up in the house and he likes to ask who everyone is.

Sometimes the sadness is like it takes my breath away - no one to share the 'bump' months with, or to share the joy - and bloody hard work! - of baby years etc. I bristle when I see cards addressed to 'grandson' because it seems so unfair. Which is irrational and sounds so mean. Its like im grieving for what I lost and what the DC will never have.

And I don't know how to make it better.

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