Home > Beckie, Bragging on Sarah, Educational, Inspirational > Dedicated to the “mourning child”

Dedicated to the “mourning child”

I came across a wonderful book full of facts, real desperation and real hope.  It is titled “Why Did Daddy Die?  Helping Children Cope with the Loss of a Parent,” written by Linda Alderman in 1989.  My goodness, I could have written much of this book.  I was continually shocked by the similarity of my situation, and thoughts, to the author’s.  Mrs. Alderman validated me throughout the book.  Also, having a book written from the viewpoint of someone with a BA in psychology, and an MA in child development and family relations, really helped me know it was written by a professional in her field.  It really touched my heart in a deep way when I saw she dedicated her book to “the mourning child.”

I’ll be brief about the narrative because it’s basically our life.  The author’s husband died of cancer and they had two children, a six-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl.  The book begins while her husband is still alive taking cancer treatments and continues a couple of years.  It is their struggle, together and apart, to come to terms with what has happened. 

This book finally acknowledges that a very young person can know an important person who they care about is missing – and not forget.  As her mother, I know Sarah is still occasionally sad, or mad, Jim is not here.  It is incredibly frustrating to not be able to fully explain our situation to her.  However, this book shows how she will grow and mature into an understanding of death.  Poor Mrs. Alderman had to explain everything twice, but now I know what potentially odd questions to expect from Sarah. 

Even though quite a few tears were shed while reading this book, I think I’m going to have to buy a copy for myself.  (Yes, I found this exceptional resource at our Johnson City library.)  The striking similarities of our circumstances are no longer going to be surprising, so I just need a copy I can mark up.  There are about two pages of recommended resources at the end of the book.  I will attempt to find each one of these books too.  Most are for children – a few for even Sarah’s age – and there are a couple for me.  I can’t wait.  I already listed them on my Recommended Reading page, and I promise to review each one of them.

 Sarah: A few weeks ago, my wonderful little girl finally really discovered tantrums.  I was so surprised that I floundered for a good week trying all sorts of discipline.  It was very hard not having Jim here to back me up or give ideas or step in.  My mom reminded me how much I liked getting stars on charts.  I found there are a ton of free charts out there for parents.  This chart worked best for us – Multiple Behavior Chart – at http://www.EmpoweringParents.com.  Once I had the chart, I also reaffirmed in my head that I was the mommy, therefore, the one in charge.  I took Sarah to get lots of little toys at Dollar General.  Then, the toys were put in a clear plastic box, so she could see all the goodies.  The first day we used the chart, I pointed at each empty box and explained why she got only one star that day.  On the fourth day using the chart, Sarah got all seven stars and a goodie.  She picked a purple purse that came with a little necklace and two bracelets.  We’ve been using the chart for about a week and a half, and I have found that she cares more about picking out stars and filling in all the boxes than she cares about the prize.  Success!  🙂

There is sometimes a problem getting dressed.

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