You must first focus on your own grief
MY HUSBAND died suddenly last year in a farm accident. We have three children, aged 19, 16 and 13. The 13-year-old was with him when this accident took place, while my eldest son was at home doing the milking.
He was the only one who did not see his dad after the accident as the ambulance crew had taken him away by the time he was able to get someone to stand in and take over the milking. I think this might be bothering him.
None of my children now speak of their dad but all had a very good relationship with him. I fear they are bottling up their grief and it will eventually explode and maybe they could go off the rails.
How do I deal with their grief? I am finding it hard to deal with my own and am constantly crying. The worry of the farm is also getting me down.
So between grief, farming and the children I am exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
WHAT a shocking thing to happen. I can't begin to imagine what a tragedy it must be for your family.
I am not surprised to hear how overwhelmed you feel by everything. As you say, you not only have your own grief to deal with, but you have the farm and your children to take care of too.
Before you focus on the children's grief, you may want to focus on your own. Your husband's death is a huge loss for you. He, no doubt, added immensely to your sense of overall security. His death, especially in such shocking and sudden circumstances, has probably left you feeling completely destabilised.
I expect that you miss him terribly, as well as feeling the practical loss of his physical presence, his role on the farm and his sharing of the ups and downs of being a parent to three teenagers.
In tandem with minding your children, and their grief, you need to mind yourself and your own bereavement.
Specifically for your children, it does sound like they are blocking down their feelings about their dad's death, at least around you. They, I am sure, can see how upset and overwhelmed you are and may be trying to protect you by not sharing their grief with you because they fear it may be too much for you to deal with.
In truth, it may be too much for you to cope with right now. However, it will help them to have some forum, or somebody, where they can talk about their dad, what he meant to them and what his death now means to them too.
Unfortunately, you can't force them to speak. You could try to arrange counselling for them locally. You could get a close friend of the family (someone who knew their dad well) or an uncle or extended family member, to talk to them.
Your youngest son may well be having some kind of post-trauma experience, given that he witnessed the accident. It must have been terrifying for him to watch such a terrible thing happening to his dad.
While all three of the children will benefit from having someone that can understand how they feel, and help them to voice the range of feelings they may have, I do think your youngest son may need some professional intervention to help him with what he witnessed.
Hopefully, the message that comes through from what I am saying is that you need to get support for yourself. You don't have to try to deal with this all on your own.
Whether that help is practical, in relation to the farm, or emotional in relation to your own grief or your children's grief, I think you need to reach out to others. You don't have to do this on your own.
Writing to me may have been the first step in reaching out to ask for help, so well done for starting the process. Turn now to those that love you, and want to support you, and keep asking for help, for yourself and the children.