Sharing my mourning journey as my family learns to live a new normal after the death of my 19 y.o. son in an auto accident on 10/12/08.

Time for, “The Talk”

I frequently read other parenting blogs and have a couple of my favorites on my blogroll. Katie Granju is a mom who has several blogs. I became acquainted with her Mamapundit blog after the death of her oldest son Henry. Yesterday I commented on her Babble blog about what to tell your kids when they ask questions usually out of the blue that don’t always have comforting answers. Questions like, “Can we visit heaven?” I commented as a parent and as a person with a background in developmental psychology. Part of my answer to her regarding her preschooler was, “Answer only what question they ask in the simplest way possible. You don’t want to overwhelm them.” I’ve found that kids want the truth and usually find a way to ask for it. Usually.

I’m stuck right now because Mark and I are faced with bringing our children to another level of awareness about loss and grief. I keep waiting for them to ask a question about Jordan’s ashes, any opening that will lead to a discussion of our plans to keep some of his ashes in an urn at home. They know we plan to spread some of his ashes as we travel but even this is an abstract concept. I don’t want them to be afraid of Jordan’s urn, especially when Mark and I need to have part of Jordan stay at home with us. What will we do if any one of our kids can’t handle an urn at home when it is something that will give Mark and I solace?

I’m afraid of scaring and scarring my kids by even bringing up the subject of the urn to them. And I’m afraid of them hurting in a way that I can’t help them. But I have to admit I’m also feeling a little selfish too. Jordan is also my child  and I want part of him at home with me.

I’ll get the perspecitve and suggestions from therapists and counselors. I’d like to know though how others in my situation have dealt with this issue. I’m asking for help from anyone who has experience talking with their kids or knows someone who has. How do you prepare your child/children to accept that the sibling that once laughed and played with them is partially, yet symbolically represented as ashes in an urn? It is a conversation quite frankly I’m dreading. I don’t want them to hurt anymore than they already do and yet it’s a conversation that must be had.

Jordan and his siblings on his 19th birthday. The last picture taken of all of them together.

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Comments on: "Time for, “The Talk”" (5)

  1. We have my son’s ashes in his room. Perhaps I’ve been negligent, but we just put them in there and never talked about it. I felt a deep need to keep them close, ie not in a cemetery. That may be beginning to change for me, as I’m beginning to feel less vehement about it, but I don’t know why.

    The wooden box containing his ashes sit by his window, visible from the hall. Some days that soothes me, some days it hurts. I look at it every time I walk past his room.

    Sigh. As with most of this, no good or easy answers. Here’s wishing “the talk” was about something easy like sex.

  2. No experience here. Just stopping by with a hug.

  3. I don’t have any advice, either, since we haven’t faced this and I guess our future children will grow up with a totally different point of view about death since they will only know their big sister after death. But I can offer my support for your need to have some of Jordan’s ashes with you. I look back to the early days after Hudson’s death when it never occurred to me that I might want to keep them, or at least a portion of them, in my home. Now I can’t imagine not doing so. I take them with us when we go on a long trip, for fear of the house burning down. I wish I could help, Jackie. I wish there were an instruction manual for all of this awfulness. Sending love.

  4. Judy Miller said:

    I want to subscribe to your blog

  5. Hello. I lost a very close friend in a car wreck 31 years ago. A person who I thought was too strong, too smart, and physical to be killed in a car wreck. Most of us think of auto accidents as something that happens to someone else. Others think it is a matter of destiny – when it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go. There are even some who think God has something to do with it. None of that is true. We make decisions, individually and collectively that create a matrix of probability. Auto accidents are the #1 cause of death for young people each year in the U.S. but we hear little about it. I decided to write about auto accidents in order to give my friend’s life some meaning/purpose because it seemed so tragic. In doing so, 25 years later, I found myself crying during a painful part. At that point, I realized that my friend was okay, even though his life had been cut short. My crying was for my own personal loss, which I realized was my self pity. This realization has helped me, whether it is right or wrong. If you’re interested in how to prevent accidents and reduce their consequences you can learn about what I’ve written at AmericanHighwayRoulette.com. I empathize with you and anyone else who has been affected by auto accidents. Some of the horrific injuries people receive are also tragic. I wish you the best as you grieve over the loss of your son. I can’t think of anything more difficult.

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