A Monster Calls

Have you lost someone close you? If so, how do you put into words what that feels like? If you were a child, how do understand or express those feelings? 

In my experience, when children/teens experience grief, especially in the form of a close family member, they experience it twice. For a young person to deal with death and learn how to navigate this world without their love one is a tremendous burden. Often they do not fully grasp the magnitude of what permanent seperation really means until they are an adult. It's in this that I have seen the grief resurface. 

I had a lady, let's call her Sally (to protect identity), come in my office with the belief that she was suffering from depression. While doing the normal intake of her past, I discovered that Sally had lost her mother at a young age. She felt like she had dealt with it. On our first visit she said "This has nothing to do with my mom." While she missed her mom, she just could not understand why she was so sad now. In her mind the two things did not go together. However, as we began to dig further it became clear. She was re-griveing the loss of her mother. You see, life had just changed tremendously for Sally. She had just become a mother herself. She had a daughter to love, and all of a sudden the future seemed so scary. She was having panic attacks, and was constantly afraid of bad things happening.

As we began to unwrap her fears, tears, and feelings, we discovered she was living through the lens of what had happened to her mother. She was afraid something would happen to her and she would leave her child. She was scared she wouldn't be as good of a mom as her mother was. She was mad her mother was not alive to see her grandchild. She finally understand just all her mother had missed out on. All these feelings had re-triggered grief.  Once Sally understood this and gave herself permission to grieve, she almost immedietly began to feel better. She could see things for what they were. Suddenly her fears did not make her a bad mom, but a mom that loved so much she did not want to ever leave (hurt) her child.  

Something that really helped Sally was the book A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. The book is powerfully written from a child's perspective about losing his mother to breast cancer. A Monster visits him every night, and really helps him through the grief process. If you have dealt with grief as a child, or have lost a parent this is a must read!  

If you or someone you know is in the process of grieving, give us a call. We would be honored to walk that road with them. 

~Amy Mackey