Life and Sadness
All of a sudden we had to say goodbye to Maxigirl. This has had a huge effect on our children. The coming part was a happy occassion, the suppose to stay part was for some of the kids a big adjustment. But they were able to wrap their minds around it. And then she suddenly left, that was a big blow.
It was something that happened seven months ago, but still effects the children daily. Questions they ask regularly are: Where is she? Why? Can this happen to me too? They are afraid. Their feeling of safety is affected by this occurance.
A Sudden Goodbye
On the day after that unexpected day, July 31st, I wrote this on Instagram for Maxigirl.
We will miss you.
Every morning when we come downstairs and find that you are not there anymore. Not reading your book or watching your show on your phone.
We will miss you when we are preparing breakfast and we can’t drink licorice tea together.
We will miss you during our morning homeschool rituals where we are reading stories and are drawing them.
We will miss you remembering the times you were focused on studying maths or when you get stuck and we could help you with it, those were great times.
We will miss you when we go outsides on our walks and discover new parks. Or when we again realize how good our life is when we find another beautiful spot and it feels like vacation. How we wish you were here to share it with you.
We will miss you when we drive places and listen to audiobooks.
We will miss your comments and your beautiful smile.
We will miss the bus rides together to the library and the stack of books you bring back home.
We will miss your curiosity about plants and that you dry them.
We will miss your laughter filling the house.
But most of all we will be missing feeling complete as a family.
And know foremost, that we will miss YOU!
Grief and Stages
The kids are grieving. And like our grief it goes through different stages.
When Maxigirl first left the kids were sad. Everything went so suddenly and quick. One day she was here. Laughing and happy. And the next day she was gone. It was not only sadness, it was more a feeling of being in shock. What just happened?
We are open in our communications. But apparently this was too hard to talk about. The kids ignored our conversations and we left it open. Meaning, we explained it and they could revisit it anytime.
Did Life go Back to Normal?
After that initial shock, life went back to normal. The kids seemed fine. But were they?
Miniman started sleeping in our bed again. Midiman was more angry than he was before, banging his head on the floor. He had trouble finding words for everything that he wanted to say. He was so frustrated. Miniman was basically glued to Dad and Midiman to me. Maximan turned inward and got overwhelmed easily. Miniman was the only one who really seemed to be doing fine.
And then there were our feelings and grief too. Which wouldn’t gone unnoticed by the children. For us it felt like one of our children, which we came to love dearly, got ripped out of our lives. It broke our hearts. A devastating experience. All we thought was: “she was supposed to stay. Her mom wrote a letter signing over custody.” What happened?
So besides their own grief, our children had to deal with parents with broken hearts as well. How hard must that been on them!
Just now, after seven months, Maximan starts to talk about it. He asks questions when Maxigirl is coming back. If she is coming back. He tells us that he is scared someone will come for him.
Our job is to make him feel safe and answer his questions. Even though we don’t have questions to some of them. We are here for him. And we are so happy he is finally opening up.
It is tough to see the impact that a happening like this has on your child. How it affects there core feeling of safety. And we realize that how much we talk to him, hold him, try to reassure him, something got broken due to this experience. A basic feeling of safety and that your parents can protect you. I do hope we can give that back to him.
The sadness is real, every day. Sometimes it fades to the background. But then something happens. Something they like to share with Maxigirl, and she is not here. And they are overthrown again. And after the sadness that feeling of not feeling safe kicks in. Especially for Maximan. I am happy that it is not affecting the other kids too much.
Midiman still has troubles finding his words. It is a tough one for us. He was doing so well before and it feels like developmentally he is thrown months or maybe a year back in time. Back to where he had trouble speaking and finding his worlds.
Miniman can express he is sad and he is our child that uses our emotion nvc cards on a regular basis. If he doesn’t know how to give words to what he is feeling. He will get the cards and he will show it to us. I am happy he found this way and it helps me to help him the best I can.
Meeting Their Needs
The most important thing we do to meet their needs, is be present and stay open hearted. The last one was really hard for me and I got help and guidance from a friend to do that. Sometimes mom’s need help too and that is perfectly fine. It is part of self-care.
I was suffering and I didn’t want to feel it. By closing my heart, I thought I was protecting myself, but actually I made it worse.
I closed down the connection with my kids. I wasn’t able to help me or help them truly because I wasn’t present and I was going through the day on automatic pilot. Not coping with my grief. How could I help them. So in order to help them, I had to help myself too!
We are Not there Yet
We are in the middle of our grief process. All of us. Right now the sadness is real. We went through denial (shock), through anger and regression, we tried to ignore it and as I said, now a lot of us are going through sadness. Eventually we will reach acceptance, when ever that will be.
We learned that going out in nature is helpful. Being outside helps all of us to clear our minds. It is also a safe place to let our emotions go freely. No matter if it is burning energy, or screaming, yelling, laughing, crying, talking, throwing rocks in the water. It is all fine.
We also found this wonderful organisation called Guided Hope. They offer therapeutic horseback riding and it is really helpful for the children and for us as a family. A true gift, which we are really grateful for. It is not only the horseback riding, but the whole experience on their ranch. From cleaning out the stables to taking care of the horses.
The interesting thing with grieving is, that it is not a linear process. We can be sad one day and angry the next. And everybody goes through their own process.
While we as parents go through our own grief, we are also here to guide our little ones with their grief.
And for me personally, my grandma passed on this week. Even though it was her time, I am still in shock. I will miss her. And a lot is triggered since she passed.
I feel compassion in my heart for Maxigirl’s mom. I know our lives have changed but I can’t imagine how her life must have changed. Everything could have been so different. And we still don’t know what happened. Why she did what she did. What made her change her mind?
Maxigirl could still be with us, living the life that she was busy building. All we know is that none of her children are in her care at the moment and that is a sad sad situation. I (we) probably never understand. That is something else I am mourning. The loss of a friendship.
Foster Parenting one Bridge too Far
Because we see our children suffer like this, we are looking for other ways to help foster kids. We do want to help. We feel we need to help. Our hearts are big. But at the same time we don’t want to damage our children. We haven’t made a final decision yet on this topic. It is a tough one. There are so many kids out there wo need a loving home. And we wouldn’t ever shut our door to a child in need. But right now, our family needs to heal. That is our priority.