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10 yr old daughter not talking about losing her daddy

(13 Posts)
irma2706 Wed 11-May-11 23:58:29

After two years of illness, my husband died aged 50 on April 21. The morning after, his dad died. We have two fantastic daughters aged 8 and 10 - it's all unbearably sad, but I think I'm coping OK, my survival instinct is well and truly in place, though I'm sure the worst is yet to come. My youngest shows her emotions, the oldest doesn't. She doesn't cry, she doesn't want to talk to me (or anybody else) about it... I know they both loved him dearly, were very close to him and miss him, though.

We've been surrounded by family and friends until two days ago, which obviously distracted from the pain - but now it's just the three of us and not four, for the first time, I'd expected "something" from my oldest, not sure what, but not almost complete avoidance of the subject and so on. I'm sure she's struggling internally, is it too early-days to seek professional help? I've read all about bereaved kids and their inability to stay with a feeling they have for very long, the "stepping through puddles" that's kids' grief and so on - but... Just want to do the right thing for her, for now and her future.

Any words of wisdom?

PandaEis Thu 12-May-11 00:06:38


im so sorry to hear of all you and your family have been throughsad

i have nothing of use to say to help but i didnt want you to go unanswered,even for a short while.

im sure some more knowledgable ladies will be along shortly with words of wisdom

exexpat Thu 12-May-11 00:25:21

My inclination would be to let her deal with it in her own time and not push her to talk before she is ready. It is still very early days. But make sure she knows it is OK to talk about it, it is OK to get upset or angry or cry, and she mustn't worry about upsetting you - I think that can be a concern with older children, not wanting to make things worse for the surviving parent.

My DH died more than four years ago, when the children were 8 and nearly 4. They didn't talk about his death very much directly either, but they still come out with questions and recollections about that time now. I make sure I talk about their dad a lot, but mainly about the good things and the happy memories.

I offered my older one the option of counselling, play therapy etc, but he has adamantly refused it. I do hear very good things about Winston's Wish, though, if you are in their target area, and there are a few other similar things around the country. Have you tried talking to the WW phone helpline?

irma2706 Thu 12-May-11 21:21:06

Thanks for your replies xxx and exexpat, I hope your kids have come through it OK. I somehow find it v hard to pick up the phone and talk to WW etc... Will see how things go next week, though, and perhaps then look into seeking some professional help.

exexpat Thu 12-May-11 21:57:27

Thanks, irma - yes, my kids seem to be doing fine - cheerful, confident, doing very well at school etc. You certainly wouldn't meet them and think they had suffered any major family trauma. We get the occasional wobble, but mostly they are fine. But you just never know - I think thoughts and stuff can be bubbling away under the surface, and just emerge at different times.

FWIW, I didn't do any kind of counselling either - there seems to be an assumption these days that trauma and grief automatically require some kind of professional input, but apart from finding useful advice on the web (have you found the Merry Widow website yet? it's a very good forum for younger widowed people, many with children, so it can be a good place to talk things through with people going through the same stuff) and in books, I didn't feel the need to talk it through with a stranger. I know some people find it useful, but I think it depends very much on who you get as a counsellor.

cupoftea123 Sat 14-May-11 00:02:59

Just spotted your thread and wanted to share with you a list of books that could be helpful to share with your daughter...

Kerr, J. (2002) Goodbye Mog. London: Collins.

‘The story of the death of a child’s cat, the responsibility of caring for others whilst grief works its journey’.

Stickney, D. (1982). Water Bugs and Dragonflies – Explaining death to children. London: Mowbray.

‘Stickney effectively conveys her belief that life’s most basic truths are found in a simple story’.

Varley, S. (1994). Badger’s parting gifts. London: Picture Lions.

‘This sensitive book can help children come to terms with the death of those they love’.

Cattanach, A. (2008). Malpas the Dragon. JKP: London.

‘This beautifully illustrated book is about loss and survival. It will be enjoyed by children and adults alike and is ideal for parents and professionals to read with children who find it hard to love and be loved’.

Sunderland, M. (2003). The day the sea went out and never came back. Bicester: Speechmark.

’This book is all about the pain of human loss, and how to help children with this. Children need help with the pain of loss just as much as adults. They often need help with how to grieve’.

and ones about angry feelings...

Bang, M. (1999). When Sophie gets angry – Really, really angry… London: Scholastic.

‘When Sophie gets angry, she runs out and climbs her favourite tree. Different people handle her in different ways’.

Oram, H. (1982). Angry Arthur. Hong Kong: Red Fox.

‘An important book, a brilliant one even, on something known to every child but not much spoken about – deep frustrated rage’.

Richardson, J. (1989). The Bad Mood Bear. Red Fox Pub

‘Bear wakes up in a bad mood and this affects how he is with others, what he does, misses out on etc. Shows how Bear needs to sort out his bad mood if he is going to enjoy his day’.

Sunderland, M. (2000). A Nifflenoo called Nevermind, a story for children who bottle up their feelings Winslow Press, Oxon.

‘Nevermind always carries on whatever happens. But what happens if these feelings remain bottled up?’

Sunderland, M. (2003). How Hattie Hated Kindness. Bicester: Speechmark.

‘Some children erupt discharging terrible tension in their body and mind through aggression and hurt. This book helps put names and reasons to this need’.

They're from this site which also has helpful info on it if you're interested.

My recommendation is grab as much support as you can take.
Thinking of you x

onlyjoking9329 Sat 14-May-11 23:50:08

Hello Irma, so very sorry to hear of the death of both your FIL and your husband it must all feel so very new raw and difficult for you all.
I think that your daughter could be processing a lot of things at the moment but that when she wants to talk she will find a way to do it, she might want to write how she feels rather than talk?
My DH died almost three years ago after his brain tumour which he lived with for 2 years.
I found with our three children that they found it easier to talk if I wasn't looking at them, lots of interesting and important conversations happened in the car.
They don't tend to recommend counselling for at least six months, but worth looking into now just to get on the waiting list as our children had a long wait to get any.
You've had some good suggestions about books, Amazon have lots of stuff, think the fav book here was called "sad" and it nicely explains things in a way that appeals to children.
The badgers parting gift and water bugs ones are ok if your child's able to make the connection between the death of an animal and how that might relate to the death of their Dad and FIL.
There was a really nicely written article I read last week about talking to children about their father dying, the book is written by Barbara Want who was married to Nick Clarke.
Have you looked at support for you? Someones already mentioned Merry widows but there is also WAY ( widowed and young) which is for people widowed under 50 they also now have a group for those over 50 but I can't remember what it's called.
Be kind to yourselves and accept any offers of help that you need.

Jammygal Mon 16-May-11 11:25:41

Give Winstons wish a call they will send you supportive materials and will advise you ....the website is good too. They are brilliant and will put you in touch with support groups in your area. xx

ItsMyTurn Mon 16-May-11 11:43:48

so sorry to hear of your loss - magnified as it was a double loss for you all. sad. Ilost my dh one year ago. ds was 3 and dd was 12. ds kind of took it in his stride as daddy had been suffering from depression, had had a breakdown and was an alcoholic due to start treatment the day befroe he died. dd will not talk about it at all. we do mention daddy in favourable terms and she will refer to him like that but never anything else. she wont say how she feels about it at all. I have had to respect her wishes to deal with her loss in this way but worry that she will suffer later as a result of holding in all tehse emotinos. I must say that she is happy, confident, popular and outgoing. it does not seem to have affected her detrimentally on teh surface but who knows. I hope you get through this difficult time. sad

lavandes Mon 16-May-11 11:46:22

Hi Irma I am so sorry for your loss.

If this is any help, my son died April last year. His sons were 12 (step son but he loved and treated them both the same) and 9 at the time. They were very close. The older one has not wanted to talk about it hardly at all. The younger one did talk to his mum in the beginning. They both went to the funeral, their choice, and they both cried. Neither of them have really talked about the death. We were all waiting for it but it never happened. Their dad comes up in conversation though. They can laugh about funny things. Both of them are fine they are doing well at school. I think we would know if anything was bothering them.

I think that as long as they know that it is ok to talk about their dad and that you have all the information they will need - like what happened, grave or memorial etc - for the future when they are older and probably will have lots of questions, that is all you can do. I think that all children need is to be loved and feel safe and secure.

I just wish that I could see it all through the eyes of a child. Take care. xx

BelovedCunt Mon 16-May-11 11:51:22

so sorry about your husband.

this article is good

gingegirl Mon 30-May-11 14:34:17

I'm so sorry! I was 11 when my dad died, and a real daddies girl!! I found it hard also, I used to cry on my own that was my way of dealing with it, and I think we are all different!
I lost my 2 year old son three weeks ago and my daughter is 7 and she is finding it difficult to show her emotions also!!! She is happy to talk about Oliver but doesnt want to cry!!! We have thought about counciling, don't know if you fouls consider that?

ShimmeryPixie Mon 30-May-11 14:43:24

On the one hand I'd say let her deal in her own time. However, speaking from experience (my mother died suddenly when I was 7) - if she isn't dealing in the near-ish future/blanks it out you need to draw out from her nhow she feels and work though that with her. I dissociated from my mother's death (necessary at the time as my Dad and brother weren't coping, but it left me very depressed for years and then came back to bite me while I was at uni).

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