Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When Families Grieve

I just spend an hour crying with Sarah on my lap.

I sat with Sarah and cried while Sarah tried to cheer me up by just being herself.

Tonight was PBS's premiere of When Families Grieve and initially I didn't want to watch this show. I knew it was too soon to be watching things like this and watching it would be a horrible idea. But for some reason, I DVR it. I didn't want to watch it in the first place, but I DVR it.

And like the elephant in the room. I watched the entire episode tonight.

Let me first say that PBS did a great job putting this show together. This is one of the reason that I love Sesame Street and PBS. They will get the information and put it in an amazing way through words you can understand. But that doesn't mean it didn't make me cry.

Not even two minutes into the show, I started crying. Sitting along in the house with Sarah, I cried through the show. In some ways, I know I'm not alone but in another, I am. I wonder, "How many 19 year olds lose their Mom to cancer then have to care for his 5 months old sister while his Dad is away?" But I guess that's life?

I watched the show with Sarah knowing that she wouldn't understand. But she surprised me and stared at the TV till she passed out on my lap. Maybe she knew all along, I don't know. I just wish Dad was here to watch this show with me. Because watching and listening to the parents talk, I was starting to understand what the parents (and in ways Dad) deal with when they're are grieving and what they do after their best friend dies. And well, I know Dad deals with more. And I don't know how he does it but I guess that's Dad for you.

There were a lot of things talked about on the show that seems great for someone going through a grieving process. But to me, it's kind of crazy for me to practice the process. But truly, in ways, I am trying to pertain that into my life. With Dad working and Sarah at such a young age, it's going to be difficult. And with Sarah and my age at such a big difference, it's going to be difficult. But I will try and am trying.

In the episode Katie Couric said that when her husband (Jay) died, she had all his friends write about Jay. And on Jay's birthday, she would read the letters/stories to her daughters. That, is something I will do, starting tomorrow. I'm going to ask everyone who knew Mom to write something about her. So when Sarah is older, I can read it to her and let Sarah know all about Mom and how amazing Mom really is.

This is going to be a difficult process. But hopefully, I will find some way to make everything better, not only for myself, but for Sarah and Dad too. Thank you for everyone's support during this process, this is going to be a long and non-accessible road but hey, there will always be places that are not accessible.

You can find more about When Families Grieve on PBS


HellcatBetty said...

I love the idea of having people write something about your mom so you can read it to Sarah when she's older. It's hard to focus on those kind of things now, but they will be really valuable to Sarah when she grows up.

Tiffanie said...

That is such a fantastic idea for young kids to know about their parents if they have lost them at a young age! My kiddos Daddy isn't gone but when he is deployed I keep a journal so they will understand why he was gone so much...I think...well hope that it will help them as they grow up! You are a fantastic big brother & your sister is very blessed to have you!!!

Renee said...

I know you are having a tough time dealing with your grief and your Dad's to. There are no answers right now - just focus on each moment and day until the next one comes around. I'm a bit older than you - but you never stop being a kid when it comes to your parents. Both of my parents died right after Christmas (2009) - within 56 hours of each other in a "The Notebook" ending. My dad had been sick - my mom wasn't; ironically she died first. I'm still dealing everyday. They were young (late 60's). Do what you feel is right and what would honor your Mom. You are already going in the right direction.

appetite said...

Hi Matt,

My name is Chrissy, and I work in the Educational Outreach department at Sesame Workshop. My colleagues and I work on our Talk, Listen, Connect military initiatives, which are designed to help military families with young children cope with issues like deployments, and changes due to physical and mental injuries. As you know, we have just released our third project in the series: When Families Grieve, which helps children cope with the death of a parent.

I was looking at responses from the program this morning and came across Wheelin' Knuckles. Thank you for sharing your story with us and the rest of the world by writing your blog! Your posts are so compelling and well-written, and your spirit comes through as resilient and strong. It's hard enough just being a highschool senior - I can't imagine trying to navigate the transition from high school to college along with all of the other responsibilities and complicated emotions you must face after your accident, your mother's death, father's deployment, and spending time with Sarah.

We are providing our Talk, Listen, Connect kits for free, and I would love to send one to you and Sarah!
If you are interested, just send me your full name and address, and I'll drop it in the mail today.

Hope this is the start of a great week for you. I know things must often feel insurmountable, but it seems like you have a really bright future!

Best wishes,
Chrissy App

Chrissy App

Assistant Project Manager - Outreach

Sesame Workshop

Knuckles said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. Means a lot.

Thank you also to Ms. App for that comment and the contact. I feel extremely honored to have receive a comment and email from you. We'll be in touch.

Thanks guys, for everything.

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