My heart melted one evening as I was getting ready for bed. My 13 yo son came to my room and snuggled against me, laying his head on my shoulder. It was getting late and since school is starting, I have been trying to get the kids back on school schedule. My first instinct was to tell him to go back to bed, but then he asked, “Do you dream of Darren?” That stopped me in my tracks, like now as it does most anytime I hear Darren’s name. Anyway, I told him that I have and asked him if he dreamed of him. He answered, “I had a dream of him while I was visiting at mema’s.” And I could hear the catch in his voice, he choked up a bit. I looked at him to see tears rolling down his cheeks. At this point, I wrapped my arms around him and asked what he dreamed about and this is what he said:
While I was sleeping, I dreamed that Darren was shaking me, telling me to wake up. And then he told me, “I love you so much.” Then I opened my eyes, but he wasn’t there. I didn’t see him.
He just started crying at that point and then we cried together. It must have really shaken him up because he was still thinking about it two/three days later. He went on to tell me of another ‘talk with Darren’ that he had a few days after the funeral. I then told him of my dream of Darren and a similar ‘talk with Darren’ experience that I had.
For some reason, we both felt a peace after those experiences.
Death is hard for an adult. Losing my son has been an extremely emotional, devastating ordeal for me. Sometimes, we forget that others are affected by the loss as well. Talking with my 13yo that evening was a step for both of us on the road to healing.
I encourage my children to talk to me, to anyone they feel comfortable with, almost daily as I want their emotional well-being to be healthy. I do not ever want them to feel bad or guilty or silly for what they feel nor do I want them to feel bad or guilty or silly for talking about it.
Some ways that I find helpful to engage my young teenagers in heart-to-heart conversation include:
- Listen. My first objective when it comes to communicating with my children is listening. When he or she feels heard then conversation will continue. Using myself as an example, there are many times I quit talking because nobody is listening. Everyone wants to know that what they have to say is important enough for someone to hear. If we teach our children from a young age that their voice counts, they will keep their voice.
- Let them lead the conversation. If you want to know what’s going on with your young teenager, let them do the talking. It’s so easy for adults to ‘take over’ the conversation with our ‘wise’ advice. Sometimes, the best lessons we learn are the ones learned the hard way. As much as it sucks for us, as parents, to watch our children stumble and fall, we have to understand that eventually they will regain their balance and learn to walk. Such is life.
- Give them breathing room, but make sure they know you are there. Not there to fix their problems, but there to help them through the problem. Not there to take over their joys, but there to share their joys.
- And learn their passions. There isn’t any better conversation than a conversation with someone than a conversation about an interest the two parties share. If you hate football (as was my case), learn to love it. I made my two oldest boys talk about it with me all the time. They had to explain everything to me, but they talked. They were teaching me something! Now that can open doors!
So mommas and daddy’s, pull up a chair and encourage your young teens to talk. I wish I had pushed a little more with my Darren.
#FightSuicide #SuicidePrevention #SuicideAwareness #MissinHimBad #lovehimforeverlikehimforalways #suicidesucks #lovethembabiescuztheyaintbabieslong #Darren