The Sassy Housewife is a weekly Saturday advice column on Momaha.com by Danielle Herzog, a married mother of two. She’ll cover adventures in housewifery — parenting, entertaining and the interests of a been-there-done-that and somewhat-know-it-all wife.
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Dear Sassy Housewife,
I’m a mom to a daughter who is turning 6 in a few weeks. My grandfather, whom I was extremely close to my whole life, just passed away about three weeks ago. I’m devastated. He loved my daughter so much and we would see him almost every month. I don’t know how to talk to my daughter about him without crying. I told her he’s in heaven but I don’t want to make her sad. How do you mourn when you still need to put on a brave face for your child?
One Mourning Mommy
First of all, I’m so sorry for your loss. I know you have probably heard those words over and over again, and they might not mean anything anymore. But trust me, they come from a place of understanding. I lost my grandmother last year who lived with my family my entire life, and my heart is still broken. I can completely relate to your struggle with mourning and parenting.
I wish I could tell you that it is easy, but it isn’t. Part of being a parent is having to act sometimes. We should probably all receive Oscars at the end of our lives. Think about it. We pretend to enjoy playing with Barbies, we pretend to enjoy the seventh round of soccer tournaments, and we pretend to be happy when we really aren’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s OK for your children to see you be sad and cry sometimes – but the key word there is sometimes. You have to show them how to put yourself back together and keep living.
One idea for keeping those memories alive is to create a memory book with your daughter. Each week pick a day that you will enter a memory into the book. If you can’t think of a specific memory, start asking your daughter questions like, “What was your favorite book to read with Grandpa?” or “What ice cream flavor did he like?” Then put those answers in the book. You can even paste pictures in it or have her color pictures of what happened in that memory. And yes, at times you’ll be sad thinking about those moments, but I guarantee you’ll smile so big when you see your daughter remembering and capturing those times together. Plus, I truly believe that remembering is part of healing.
When I lost my grandmother, I found it hard to let people help me or try to comfort me. The one thing I wanted to hear was, “This sucks.” So I’m telling you – this sucks. But, I promise you, the pain will subside and there will be a day when you realize you hadn’t been sad all day. Then, you’ll realize that you can think of them and smile. And now, one year later, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t stop, think of her and smile.
Have a question for the Sassy Housewife? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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