After spending the day at grief camp yesterday, I have been thinking about grief. Last Friday was the anniversary of my brother-in-law's death, and the kids were acting out all day. I took them to the movies, I took them to the craft store, and finally I suggested taking them to the grave. We watered his flowers and talked a bit about him, and then came home. The kids were sad, but they had faced that grief.
Grief camp gives a safe place for kids to acknowledge, discuss, and confront their losses. I sat yesterday and watched their faces, some sad, some calm. I watched one boy who had cut up a bit sit down with the rabbit, run his fingers through Bob's fur, and go to a far away place in his head. At times my losses seem too huge for me, and I am an adult--the losses I experienced are expected. These kids have been blindsided by grief.
Kiki has talked to the school counselor about her losses, and she feels at ease about the deaths most days. Nita is younger and developmentally on target, and we aren't sure where Rocky is developmentally, so it is like playing Whack-a-mole to deal with his emotions.
I have been thinking about previous generations, people who lost children or siblings much more regularly than we did, back when losses were expected. I don't know if it was because death was so much more a part of life, that it wasn't sanitized, that they didn't invest so much in their relationships, or that society dealt with it differently. I find that people ask me at work "what is wrong with you" because I am not functioning up to my previous performance level, and I am told that I need to "snap out of it." Could it be, because our grandparents had smaller, closer communities, that people understood better?