Thursday, May 27, 2010

Children and Grief

A couple of weeks ago we posted about the Mother's Day Walk for Peace that MVFHR member Tina Chery has organized for the past several years. This week, a Psychology Today blog about children and grief quotes from a piece by Tina. Blogger Phyllis Silverman writes:

I found in my e-mail recently a piece written by Tina Chery, whose son had been murdered. She was writing it to explain why she walks on Mother’s Day with other parents whose children were murdered. This is the 16th Mother’s day since her son Louis Brown was killed when he inadvertently walked into the cross fire of rival gangs in his neighborhood. Hers is a different tragedy than what happened to survivors of the Holocaust, but nonetheless involving violence caused by human disrespect for others. As I read what she wrote I see that she is talking about a silence that she tried to maintain, as she fought facing her grief and the pain when she confronted what she had lost. She did not hide the fact of the death from her other children but she was trying to hide her grief, in some way, from herself as well as from them.

I quote what she wrote:

“Our children are grieving and we as adults are not equipped to know what to do and how to help; our children often feel the need to protect us and we as parents believe that we are protecting them by putting on a MASK of “I am FINE”

In the first few years after Louis was killed I remember not wanting to do anything or go anywhere with my family; we would make plans and when the time came I would cancel, feeling guilty for moving on and leaving Louis behind while at the same time not being there for my two babies. I remember my daughter at age 5 asking me if I still loved her and her brother. That day hearing her ask me that question and watching her sad face got me out of my trance.

How could I forget my children; they too needed to know me. I prayed to transform my pain and anger into power and action. The Mother’s Walk for Peace was born. I realized that if I was feeling this way how many mothers were in the same situation.

My children are my teachers not my friends. Louis in his young life, taught me to be a good mother. Alexandra and Allen today are teaching me to be a better mother, a mother who has had to learn to grieve the death of her oldest son while at the same time finding joy in celebrating the life of her two living children.”

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