Advice please?

grace3October 5, 2004

My cousin lost her husband in a tragic auto accident 2 weeks ago (his vehicle was hit by a coal truck -- the vehicle burned). He left behind 2 young daughters -- I believe their ages are about 5 & 9. This has been such a shock. The older girl seems to understand, but the younger one doesn't really seem to.

One of the things that is causing my cousin an extra measure of grief is the fear that her girls -- especially the younger one -- won't remember her daddy. And it's hard to give her any reassurances in that area, because, in truth, it does seem likely that she *won't* have a lot of memories of him.

But I wondered if maybe there are things my cousin could do, with both of the girls, that would help to reinforce the memories of their daddy that are fresh now, and that would perhaps help to keep those memories from fading so much. Like, would it help to, every few months, talk about specific things? ("Remember when we went to the beach this summer? What was your favorite thing that you did there with Daddy?")

Does anyone have any advice/experience to share that I could pass on to my cousin?

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This is hard and I am so sorry for your cousin and her loss. My son was 3 and then 4 when my parents died a year apart and he has very vivid memories of them to this day and he is 28. I think it is important to work to keep the memory alive by doing things like creating a photo album for the children that has strong memories, not only of pictures, but perhaps stories of events that happened that they would remember. She should speak of their daddy openly and encourage them to do the same thing. It may be true that some memories will fade, even slightly, but I think at 5 years old, she will not forget her father at all. My nephew is 5 and his mommy passed away when he was 3. Sis and family speak of his mommy often and have pictures out and encourage him to speak of his memories. Plus they do things for special events like her birthday, valentines day, etc - they let of balloons. Kole will put a note in a balloon and let it go up to Heaven to his mommy.
She will not forget her daddy.....
My deepest sypathies for your cousin and her children.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 5:20AM
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I remember my grandfather, and I only saw him twice when I was about 3.

Scrapbooks, videos, and talking work.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 9:51AM
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Pictures on walls, watching family videos (eg at Christmas every year) Being able to talk about the family member.

Asking child what they remember about the loved on, writing it down, so you have it for future reference.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2004 at 5:04PM
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It's very important to talk to them very often about their dad. Talk about him often as if he were still here. Show family videos, look at pictures, talk about things that he did and that they did together. Write a little biography about him and his life with his children. This is something that would always be cherished. It's important to do that kind of thing as soon as possible because it is amazing how much we forget and don't think that we will.
I'm so sorry about your cousin's husband. So sad for him and to have to leave his family to grieve.
Bless you!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2004 at 9:15PM
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Thanks so much for your great suggestions. I'm going to send them on to my cousin so that she can start using some of the ideas right away.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2004 at 6:57AM
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