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Younger Brother


hello123

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I just wanted to talk about this because it seems there's nobody to tell. Nursing my younger brother today because he's not well. I got just an overwhelming sadness and couldn't stop crying and its weird how it doesn't even cross his mind why I might be upset because hes young? I dunno I dont get it surely even if hes a child he misses my dad too? Anyway I had to pretend I was crying because I felt ill and he was like "I never cry when I'm ill" haha. I just feel so incompetent the one day I have to look after him and I feel so down can't stop crying just suicidal. It's good I have him to make me smile but I can't even call anyone else to say come round and make him feel better. What age will I be able to talk to him about this? He's just turned 9 now.

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Hey there,it's been awhile.I dont comment much anymore,but since we are in the same boat with the little ones...my sister is 9,and when she comes and stays the week I always get emotional.I do talk to her about Dad,but she almost wipes every expression off her face and goes blank.I use to have a little resentment (I'm not proud to say it)toward her because as close as they were she dosnt seem as sad as I would think.I have relaxed a bit,realized there is no way to tell her feelings inside.Also I came to the conclusion that since I had Dad much longer I must hurt more because of that.My brother is 2 and has no clue,which is sad in its own way.Boys are different.My 27 year old brother still dosnt even like to talk about it.I'm sorry your sitting there struggling through this.I have no answer but I do know what your going through.It hurts so much. how completely life ruining it is still takes my breath away.Good luck hun.be good to yourself.

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Hi- when my son passed away, his son, my grandson was not quite 4yrs old. A child that young has not developed much of a vocabulary for complicated issues. Someone mentioned to him that his father was in heaven so he took to talking about the moon. That was something tangible that he could grasp onto. I remember sitting outside with him at night looking at the moon, large and bright and shining down on us. I can see where it would comfort him. Anyway he is 20 now and still living with me. He has gone through grieving the loss of his dad many times over the years. In each developmental stage we have had discussions appropriate to the place he was at. As the toddler, young child, pre teen, older teen, and adult, facing the loss in feelings and words appropriate to the time. It is hard to accept, but grieving does go on for the rest of your life so we should not feel like we have to deal with all the parts of it in a short period of time. So, to answer your feelings, it is appropriate to share your feelings of loss with a child, personally I would not expect them to grieve in the same way someone at my point in life would be handling it. Soon enough they will face it on a deeper level, allow them the grace to enjoy what they can.

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There is nothing wrong with saying to your brother, "I'm crying because I'm really missing Dad and that makes me feel very sad." Letting children see our own grief reactions, along with a reassuring explanation for them (so they know our tears have nothing to do with something they did or failed to do), models and normalizes grief and gives them permission to feel and express their own sad feelings. You could even go on to say something like this: "Do you ever feel like that?"

You ask how old he must be before you can talk to him about this. Children old enough to love are old enough to grieve, although how they experience and process their grief will vary with their age, level of development and other factors. If you want to learn more about how to talk with a child about the death of a loved one, I encourage you to do some reading on the topic. You'll find dozens of helpful and informative articles, books, websites and other resources on this Web page: Child, Adolescent Grief Links.

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Thank you so much for your replies I cant explain how much they mean to me! I felt really silly putting that afterwards and wanted to delete it but my laptop broke! But now I'm glad I didn't. Thanks so much for your replies.

loulou it's so sad how dignified the young children are does it mean they just want to let it out but are scared of upsetting everyone?

whyknot thank you for your reply, and its admirable that he while he has grown up with you you have been able to work with him through his grief. The "allow them the grace to enjoy what they can" captures it exactly. Because he's the baby of the family and he makes us all smile we don't want to see him upset I think thats why we never mention anything infront of him.

Marty, your advice is exactly what I want to do, I find it on the tip of my tongue ALL the time I want to say it I want to share it but I feel restrained like I cant say anything. I know it's wrong because like you said he is old enough to also be grieving now but because of how my family in general are handling this loss it's scary to say anything incase it upsets him. I think he must be upset inside but then the fact that it never crosses his mind I feel like oh maybe he's trying not to think about it so bringing it up would upset him and because he doesn't like to talk I don't want him to be bottling things up inside.

Thank you again

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I understand what you're saying, and I agree ~ but when a child sees an adult crying (or very sad) they usually wonder what is wrong ~ and sometimes (because kids are prone to magical thinking and can be very egocentric) they conclude that you're upset by something they did or failed to do. That's why I suggested offering a very simple (and truthful!) explanation: "I'm missing Dad and feeling very sad about that right now." And by adding the question, "Do you ever feel like that, too?" you're simply opening a door that he is free to walk through, or not. You cannot force anyone to open up to you, but you certainly can convey that you are willing to listen if that person ever feels a need to talk.

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