Grief is the most difficult process for all of us to understand. As adults we process our thoughts and stages of grief in different ways; we still have to be parents and struggle with the new life that we are faced with. Grief is especially hard for children as their voices are silent. Grief has affected my daughter and I twice. The first time on February 3, 2012, when her father my childhood sweet heart and friend was killed in the line of duty. I had to deliver the news to my seventeen year old that her dad was gone, I still can hear the screams that came from her body and how I just prayed that my child would be okay. During this time Jasmine’s voice became silent, we had to learn to live without turning on the television and reading the papers to avoid reliving the same day over and over again. We lived on fumes most days do to lack of sleep, crying, and not wanted to eat. (we was numb). Every one was consumed with their pain and grief, the cries of Jasmine, and her sibling went unnoticed they became silent children. Jasmine was definitely a Daddy’s girl this was the year he was suppose to buy her a car, to make sure she could drive better than me. Jasmine went from this happy girl to a sad shell who suffered silently inside. The world grieved for Officer Steven Green, Jasmine and her siblings grieved for their Daddy. Jasmine went from being a shy quiet child, to a child who suffered in silence, and became an angry withdrawn child.
The silent voice was afraid to speak up, she did not want to return to school, she did not want to talk about it she just wanted to go back to the days of her and her dad watching Law and Order, and discussing Auburn’s winning streak. She was confused, and afraid to ask for help. I knew that her grief was different from my grief, her step mom’s, her grand parents, and her aunt’s, and uncle’s. Jasmine and her siblings were put into Counseling so that they could talk about their feelings. In the beginning Counseling did not help Jasmine because she was now faced to live without her dad. The children are the silent voices as they can not express how hurt they are, and trying to understand why parent’s, or grandparent’s are gone from this world. Now we do things to honor her father: We light a candle in May each year during National Police Month, as a whole family we celebrate his birthday with a dinner, we light a candle on each holiday and share a story about him, we speak of him often especially when she arranges her face in a certain way the same as he did. She brings joy to her grandmother because she see’s her son each time she looks at Jasmine. Jasmine and her sibling’s suffers in silent each of them being different ages, and raised in different homes did not help the dynamics of grief that they each suffered they continue to suffer this very day.
Our children are our most precious gifts, and we just want to nurture them keeping them safe from harm. In 2019, when my husband passed away, Jasmine was older an adult. The day he passed her adult voice became silent because she now had to deal with both men who she loved was now gone. Now she deals with grieving a little different because she asked for Counseling, realizing that she needed some help to deal with another beloved person being gone from her life. Jasmine would lay in bed with my husband and I like a little child and talk to us about her day, watch with us, and would often tell my husband she was glad that he was in our lives. She would talk about how on her wedding day she wanted Kenneth to walk her down the aisle, and be the preacher to marry her. She talked about how a piece of her dad’s clothing would be sewn into her wedding gown. All of these plans are now being altered and that silent child has resurfaced: now very confused as to why her two dad’s are no longer here to be the protector for her, to give her dating advice, just simply love her. I did not learn until my husband passed that my child actually had thoughts of taking her own life after her father passed, her voice was silent. Now Jasmine lives in somewhat of fear as she expresses it, she checks on me during the night to make sure that I am breathing. She states, I only have one parent and I need you to help me raise my children, plan my wedding, walk me down the aisle when I get married, I just need you to be okay. A child’s grief turns into adult grief , pay attention to the silent voices.
My advice to those that are now widow’s raising children please pay attention to your children, do not let them suffer in silence, pay attention to their moods, their body language, get them to open up about how they truly feel, do not let their voices stay silent,