Jump to content
Yippee-Ki-Yay

16yo having delayed issues with loss

Recommended Posts

Yippee-Ki-Yay

Because life is simple and uncomplicated I am needing a bit of help and support at the moment as well as a bit of a sounding board. I’m an emotional jenga tower right now so while this probably seems minor, I have lots of other equally minor things going on which makes everything seem bigger than it probably is.
16yo does not do feelings. At all. He doesn’t talk about things that upset him. He has not really ever shown much in the way of feelings about losing his dad or his grandma who he was also very close to. It’s been a long time and nothing much has changed over the years. In fact he hasn’t mentioned his dad for years. If he is around a discussion and his dad is brought up he usually leaves the room or shuts the conversation down. 
it absolutely threw me that 16yo came home recently with an piece of artwork which had his dad’s photo as the central focus. This is very unlike him. I waited a few days to talk to him so it didn’t feel like I was jumping on him the second he opened up a little. Today I broached the subject a bit. He agreed it is playing on his mind a little lately. He also said he feels left out during any conversations about his dad because he can’t remember his dad at all. He was 5 when his dad was killed and had only just started speaking. 
he refuses to engage with a counsel or or psychologist. He has agreed to do art therapy with his current OT.

I am unsure how to help him. I thought about putting together the family videos we have and a collage of photos of him with his dad so he has something to hang on to for memories but I’m worried about making things worse. 16yo doesn’t know what will help him. Anything that requires his input or him talking in front of or even with others (including family) will really put him off. 
any advice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CallMeFeral

I think the collage/videos is a lovely idea. What makes you think it might make it worse?

Could you perhaps sprinkle daily life with little anecdotes about his dad, so that he feels like he gets to learn about him without it being a big confronting thing? It may make him feel uncomfortable the first few times it happens just because it's nearby to an upsetting issue for him. But the more you do it the more (I'm guessing) he'll get accustomed to that, and it might open up conversation for when he is ready. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yippee-Ki-Yay

Thanks. I’ve tried the casual and more direct mentions of his dad plenty of ties over the last ten years and he really doesn’t like it. I think he feels like it highlights what he has forgotten. 
 

I’ve also tried writing down some anecdotes for him to keep. I don’t know why I’m worried that or the videos and photos would upset him. I guess he has always resisted dealing with it and forcing it has never gone well. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MsLaurie

Art therapy is a great idea- it can really help people connect with and deal with difficult emotional issues. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
magic_marker

Being that he is 16, it might be possible that it is in part about his Dad. But it may also be partly wanting a significant male influence in his life.

I don't know your story well, so could be way off. Just something you may want to consider. 

Cheers.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yippee-Ki-Yay

Good point pp. he has always been the one seeking that figure in his life. His brother was the opposite, often preferring female therapists and support workers. I think some of that is because his older brother not only remembers the good things but also the violence and abuse. It all feels too hard today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
xxyzed

I would make a photo mug in different colours with a picture of their dad and give one to each child. It can be used for hot drinks or soup or to hold pens on their desk. I would probably leave the photo albums I looked through to find the photo lying around. That is normally enough for my kids to decide if they want to look themselves or ask anything or tell stories. Other than that I would leave it to the OT. My boys father died from cancer and the kids do a lot of activities with Canteen. Is there a similar organisation for teens who have lost their fathers through other causes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yippee-Ki-Yay

They have not engaged well with grief groups because there are few groups who cater to kids who have lost a parent to homicide and where the kids have disabilities. They don’t tend to feel they fit well and stopped wanting to go. 
 

years ago when they were younger I got them both a ‘daddy teddy’ which was a stuffed bear that had a photo of their dad with them on it. It didn’t help my now 16yo although it did help his older brother.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lyra

Grief, it's the gift that keeps on giving. I have nothing helpful to add but want you to know that I am thinking of you xx

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yippee-Ki-Yay

Back at you Lyra xx

ive got to say this week I have been totally fed up with grief. How are you?

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lyra

Not good actually. It was my son's 13th birthday last week.  A milestone age and this year will mark the tipping point of him being gone longer than we had him. I did online teaching most of the term and that was HARD. Then I had to write reports with limited data and my work are being total bastards. I took three days off last week because I wasn't coping with anything. Sigh. Holidays are coming soon and I am literally dragging myself over the finishing line LOL

  • Like 1
  • Sad 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yippee-Ki-Yay

I’m so sorry. Please know that there are many members here who care and remember your son. I think about your son often. I can’t believe it’s been so long. It’s a horrible feeling of being so long ago and yesterday all at once. It’s like some of you is forever left in the past. Lots of gentle love to you xxx always around for a chat if you feel the need. 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mrs Zee

@Lyra I too think of you often. Sending you love, especially now x

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mrs Claus
Posted (edited)

Maybe rather then saying ‘one time your dad did x’ you could say ‘you really looked like your dad then/ when you yawn like that it reminds me of your dad’

that way he can hopefully have some ‘connection’ that doesn’t rely specifically on a memory he doesn’t have

Edited by Mrs Claus
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yippee-Ki-Yay

Thanks. I’ve definitely done that over the years to help foster a sense of connection which is I think where he struggles.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MsLaurie

YKY- this might be a silly suggestion but perhaps the new Pixar movie Onward might be worth him viewing? While the characters are elves and centaurs and fairies etc, the core story is about two teen/young adult boys and their journey to learn more about their dad, who died when they were very young. So it’s about grief, and growth, and brotherly love. But also funny and cute as Pixar things usually are. 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yippee-Ki-Yay

That sounds great.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
got my tinsel on
Posted (edited)

My father died not long after my 4th birthday.  My own memories of him are almost like 3 or 4 still images - less about what my father was like but a snap of what we were doing eg I have an image of walking down our street with my father holding my hand, he was dressed to go to work, it was hot, dry and the sky was almost white with glaring sunlight. That's one memory.

Most of my memories aren't my memories at all, but visions of retellings from others and that's okay.  Sometimes I would make myself scarce - it was really difficult having 7 siblings recount 'dad' tales or discuss him and/or his death, when I had pretty much none.  One of the most awful (to me anyway) was being asked by well meaning people whether I remembered my father and what memories I had.  There's nothing like having to admit to what felt like a great failing (I mean who doesn't remember their own poor dead dad!) more often than I care to remember.  Or being asked if I missed him (hard to miss someone you barely have a memory of ever having had in your life) - more guilt for me. 

The one person I trusted to discuss my father with was my mum, she was happy to talk if I asked, but I suspect she knew the limitations of my memories and just accepted that.

The only thing I would do (and I'm sure you probably already have) is tell your DS that you're available if he wants to know anything or tell you anything he's feeling about his dad.   Photo albums should be easily accessible without being out on the coffee table just waiting (iykwim) ....  because when it's not you seeking it out, it can feel like it's just another reminder that there is something wrong with you because otherwise why would it be so important that you take an 'interest' and deal with it.   A little maturity helps a lot, he's on his way. 

Hope I haven't spoken out of turn.  Just thought my experience (albeit different circumstances) might offer some insight into how he's feeling.

 

 

Edited by got my tinsel on
  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lyra

My daughter was 8 when her brother died and she doesn't like it when we talk about her brother. She feels a lot of guilt around not remembering him very well and losing her memories. She also doesn't like going to counselling etc which is bloody frustrating because she really needs it.

I think you are doing a great job in a difficult situation xx

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
magic_marker

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”
 Jamie Anderson

This is a quote that has helped me from time to time.

Perhaps your son is looking somewhere for something or someone to place all that unspent love! Besides you of course!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vicbitt9

YKY, I am again just blown away by your insight, love and the compassion that you have for your boys. I hope some of the ideas expressed here by the EB brains trust help you.

@Lyra, I am so sorry for your loss, my heart goes out to you and your family. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yippee-Ki-Yay

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, gotmytinselon, I really appreciate it. I am sorry for your loss and complications of being so young. I have been mindful of that with my child and we don’t tend to talk about memories when 16yo is around unless it relates to something he used to do with his dad and then I tell him about rather than say ‘remember when...’ I’m glad you had your mum to talk to. 
 

Lyra,  I understand from friends who have lost a child that siblings often feel very confused about their role in grief. I can’t think of anything helpful to say which is probably because there isn’t much to say except it’s completely fecking horrible and I am so sorry. 
 

Magic marker I appreciate the thought, and I am glad you found comfort from that quote but my experience of grief hasn’t been like that either when my husband was killed or when my mum died but I’m glad it helped you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
coastlife

Maybe mention you have photos/videos in a particular draw/cupboard and when he feels like seeing them he can do it of his own accord.   Art Therapy is an awesome idea and in time it may bring him to the place he wants to watch/see his dad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yippee-Ki-Yay

So I have spent half my day today sorting photos to scan in and get some kind of memory book made up. I have only found 8 photos far that are of him with his dad. Its making it all a bit awkward. I have asked my husband's family if they can have a look through their stuff, but not sure how successful that will be. I guess if I cant find enough to make up a book I could put them together in one of the those grouped frames. Also remembered how much it tugs at the heartstrings to go through these. ugh. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MsLaurie

You could add in some photos of you and his dad, some of the boys together as little ones? Perhaps add captions- “kid 1 & 2 in the bath- Dad & I laughed so much at your face with the bubbles...” “Dad & I going out for dinner- didn’t happen much!” - create an early family story, rather than a boy + dad story?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Announcements

×
×
  • Create New...