Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rowan is starting to feel it

Right around the six-month mark past Aimee's death, I started to feel like I'd turned a bit of a corner, like things were finally starting to improve. Overall, I was feeling less of a weight of grief on me all the time, and more like I could start facing my future.

But for whatever progress I have now made, it seems a bit like a terrible baton has been passed from me to Rowan. She's starting to struggle.

Given how young she is and the special relationship between mother and child, I have no doubt that Rowan will deal with her mom's death, in some way, for the rest of her life. But these first six months were, at least on the surface, somewhat easy. Her moments of grief, after the first couple of weeks, were pretty few and far between. That has changed dramatically in the last week.

Rowan's grief is obviously much closer to the surface now. She has begun to overreact to small things in a way she's never done before. Not with anger, but with sadness. At small frustrations or incidents, she'll burst into tears and pull herself into a ball. She won't talk about why she's upset or what she wants me to do to fix it.

Lucky for me, it occurred to me pretty quickly what was really going on. For now, I'm meeting her sudden onset crying with quiet consolation, hugs, stroking her hair, and kissing the top of her head (she likes that). I also scheduled her grief counselor, who she hasn't seen in months, to come back this weekend.

I don't know if my own state of mind will stay somewhat calm for a while, or if my own pain will come roaring back from the background and overwhelm me again. I suspect that I'll still have many days ahead of me where I'm drowning in my own waves of grief. But at least at this moment, when Rowan clearly needs me even more than normal, I'm so grateful to be in a little better place emotionally to help her through this.


  1. Pat, thanks for sharing this stage of your journey with your sweet Rowan... How amazing you were able to recognize what's going on with her, even in the midst of your grief, albeit as you said, lessening..... A parent's love for a child will always rise above their own need and where that need may take them..... Love your love for Rowan, your trust in the Lord and your openness in sharing the struggles you continue to have..... Always in prayer for Him to pick you both up comfort, strength, and to carry you when it's tough to put foot in front of the other <3

    1. Thanks. It is funny how as soon as I sense Rowan needing something from me, I almost cease to exist to myself until I know she's ok. She's so little, and vulnerable, and my every instinct (naturally) is to take care of her and protect her. I just wish I could protect her from the pain of losing her mommy.

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  3. my own grief about my mother's death comes in waves (and i lost her when i was 37); i imagine it comes in waves for young children, as well, though they don't have the words to describe it that way. i can say, that my youngest son - age 8 - is dealing with my divorce from his dad much like you describe rowan: minor frustrations lead to tears & then no words about what's wrong & what can fix it. i've been finding a clumsy mix of giving him space but letting him know i'm right here gets us through. i bet what you're doing for her may feel clumsy to you, as well, but i'm also betting it's "just right."