~Welcome to my personal story as a first time wife and stepmom. I use this space to share real life happenings in a blended family, funny stories, my personal frustrations, failures, and occasional victories as I journey through this life with two beautiful and challenging stepdaughters. Thanks for reading, and I hope you find something to help you have a better day!~

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Kids and Grief

Well, I see I haven't written in quite a while. There are a couple reasons for that. One--I don't like focusing on the negative just to have a good story for my blog. Two--the age old excuse of "busy-ness". Anyway, here are the thoughts and issues that I've been dealing with over the past few months.

The girls lost their grandfather in October. He is the first family member either of them have ever lost. He had battled cancer for 10 months, so it was expected. The day we told them he passed away, Jane immediately was crying and kept saying "Why, why, why?" She continued to cry the whole night long. I guess she got it all at once, because for the whole next week at her Grandma's house, the funeral, the graveside, looking at old pictures, she was so strong, and never really lost it again.

Kate on the other hand has handled this completely the opposite extreme. The first night when she heard the news, she was kind of like, Okay. Now can I go play? She wanted to carry on like normal as if nothing had changed. She was in a state of denial. We packed the car and drove to Missouri, and she was still talking, laughing, making jokes the whole way. Then we get there and she actually sees Grandma without her Papa, and she was inconsolable from there on out. She was sobbing so loud at night, I had to go lay down with her. She would see a picture of him and scream and run the other way. She buried her head in my lap for the entire 2 hour visitation and funeral. We had to step out and get some water and have her catch her breath, she was making such a commotion. It just broke my heart.

Once we got back home and back into school routine, Kate started changing--a lot. Her teachers noticed and started making comments. Her mother noticed. Her dad and I were very concerned. She was acting out so much. She started talking out of place all day at school, she stopped writing down any assignments, she wasn't listening or paying attention to anything she read or what people around her were saying. It's like she was in this little bubble. After a bit of research, I found this behavior is normal for kids processing grief, so her dad recommended we just let it go for a few weeks and see if she snaps out of it. Well a few weeks turned into over a month, and she was getting more and more defiant. We would have to tell her something 3 times before she would listen. Her grades were slipping at school. She started obsessing over food and sneaking food, snacks, cookies, candy and lying about it--at both her mom's house and ours. The only time she would talk is to ask what the next meal was going to be.

At this point, a couple weeks ago, I was really concerned. Sure, it may have started as a response to grief, but her behavior was just getting worse, and I didn't think we could excuse it any longer. We had a talk with her teacher, and with her mother several times to see if she was behaving the same for all of us. It seemed she was. We told her what reports her teachers had given, and it seemed almost like something immediately went off in her brain. She was embarrassed by her behavior. She was immediately sorry and went to school and apologized to everyone, on her own accord. She started working really hard on her school work, and would read books for points instead of play on electronics. I'm not really sure what triggered this turn around--but I really hope it's permanent. I love having my sweet Kate back to normal. Here's what she did when cleaning her room that night--how could I be upset by this mess? =)


  1. This is a great, informative post. Thank you. Many of the things addressed here hit close to home with trials and tribulations my family has experienced. We lost my husband's mother, and the kids were very close to her.

    1. I'm so sorry I missed your comment before. I hope that your family is healing from your loss. Glad you stopped by!