I should probably post this in the parenting forum but I don't know too many people there and you ladies and men have always given great advice.
3 hours ago I got a phone call telling me that a dear friend of mine and our 13 year old son, was found dead in her bed by her roommate early this morning. She was 30 years old. She was our son's after school care teacher for 9 years and despite him leaving that school, we kept in touch near daily. She has been in our lives and practically part of our family all these years. This will CRUSH him and it is also the first death he has experienced.
I am shaking so hard and crying right now and am at a loss as to how I am going to tell him when he gets home from school this afternoon. Do we wait until we have more information? Do we sit him down and just tell him what we know? I am so concerned because right now we don't know why?! She had been under severe stress due to her getting her Master's in Education. Do we mention that part as a possible cause? 30!!!!
I am so scared right now. His reaction is going to be extreme and I worry what this is going to do to an already hormonal 13 year old boy. His friends mean everything to him and she meant the most.
I cannot stop tremeling.
Ever met a person who can put a smile on your face despite you having a crappy day? That was her. Ever know a person who selflessly gives to others despite having little of their own? That was her. Ever love a person who never forgets what is important to you, regardless if it is important to them? That was her. Ever adore a person who can laugh in the face of hardship and make you feel better about yourself just for having that person in your world? That was her.
Rest in Peace, Dawn.
You always wanted to be Superman and now you have wings.
**** this is hard. Just crying.
So sorry for the loss of her to this world Brennan. I wish I had advice to offer on dealing with your son. I think this will be all together rough for him but in remembering her in the way you do in your second post, I think he will feel better.
Thirteen is a really tough age. I hope someone who has been in a similar experience has better advice for you.
Again, I'm just so sorry for your loss and the loss to the world. It sounds like Dawn was an amazing individual and will be deeply missed.
It was dark and gloomy here this morning. Now it is sunny. Maybe that's a good sign.
The weight of the world on my shoulders. In 5 hours I have to tell our 13 year old son that the one person in the world that meant the most to him (besides family) has died. She was coming over this Saturday and he was already excited and planning what was for dinner. Now, we will most likely be at her funeral.
I guess if it were me, and I am likely too late with this, I would go to the library and ask the librarian what they had on this topic for kids.
But ultimately I would say yes, just sit him down and tell him what you know. The why is not really important, is it? The fact that you don't know might be a good way to focus on the sadness of loss and avoid having to discuss what might be nasty bio details.
"I wanted to let you know that Ms. -- passed away."
Let him feel what he feels. Don't feel compelled to pull him into a discussion or 'steer' him.
If he has questions, answer them. But it sounds like you don't have a lot of information or details right now. If he doesn't have questions, be ok with that as well. Just let him know that he can come to you - and then let him go on his way.
The problem is, he ISN'T resiliant kid. He wears his heart on his sleeve and she has been in his life since he was 4. 4!!! She came to all his birthday parties, all our Halloween parties, Christmas parties, just came over to hang out with us, dinner, out to movies, etc. For 9 years!! We talked almost every day or saw her at least 3 times a week. Besides us, she was the most important person in his life and now she is gone. It's okay to hurt? He won't just be hurting and that is what scares the **** out of me. He will be angry, furious and perhaps lost. Hell, I feel lost right now. Why, just why? She was my friend for 9 years and I feel like I lost a part of my soul. I loved her and our son loved her.
I would just tell him and let him lead the conversation from there. He might have questions, he might not. He might feel the need to talk about her, or not. Let him guide you, though, instead of you trying to guide him. If you try to force him to talk when he doesn't want to, or try to guide the conversation in a direction he doesn't want to go, it'll only make it harder for him.
I would simply say "I have some bad news. Jane has passed away. We don't know anything more than that right now. If you want to talk or have any questions, I'm here to listen and answer your questions as best I can." Then see where he wants to go with it.
If you think he's going to struggle with this beyond what you can help him with, then I would maybe call around and find a counselor who could get him in relatively quickly to help him cope.
Thank you all for your advice. I know I need to pull it together. It's really really hard. She was my friend too and I feel lost. The whys, the hows? The extreme sadness.
He will struggle and yes he will need counseling. He is a heart on his sleeve kind of boy and this death will be earth shaking to him.
13 is tough. I think you can tell him what happened, tell him it's ok to feel anything, then let him know he can ask you anything he wants about it. Let him lead when it comes to what you tell him about the circumstances.
I think after that, it is about watching him for delayed reactions so to speak. That is a hard age to experience death for the first time, especially when it is not someone who was old, or obvious sick.
If you feel the need to, never be afraid to seek proffessional help if you think it's needed as well. It is an unpredictable age for such things.
On her FB page it now shows a picture from her relatives in Scotland who drove 45 miles in the darkness to get to a boulder that they lite up with candlelight that has a carving from Isaiah saying: "Yes, you will go out with joy and be led away in safety. Mountains and hills will break into joyful cries before you".
God help me, I feel like I could just break down at any moment. I cannot stop crying and he will be home in 1 1/2 hours. Dear God, I miss her. She would have been the person to comfort me in this situation.