I’m now in my mid thirties, and I’m finding that there are several faces of grief. Grief I didn’t realize was there until I examined where my underlying emotions are coming from. I have grieved from constant and unwanted change, loss of trust, faith, and identity, loss from suicide (2) and cancer (2), loss from wanted change (graduation) but now I’m dealing with the loss of watching someone else’s dreams fall apart.

I didn’t know that you can grieve watching someone else fall apart. And this is my perceptive, my thought processes – he may just be “testing the waters”. What I am seeing are choices that are not in his favor and a fixed mindset that is holding him back. I know that my attachment to this outcome is also what I am grieving because I am trying hard to let go of feeling that I can help change the situation.

I’ve understood that there are several ways to grieve but I still become astonished at the different times in my life that I find myself grieving. The way I understood that I was grieving is that I was thinking of all the emotions that I am currently going through – 1) Anger, 2) Sadness, 3) Disbelief, 4) Guilt, 5) trying really hard to accept that I am not able to control (help guide) his journey. Realizing how many mothers I know that have gone through this and realizing how shitty this is for parents.

I was not an angel in high school. I was kicked out twice for truancy, pregnant my senior year, but I finished because I was pregnant. I didn’t want this “well you did finish high school” issue when he got older. I think this is where I can now understand what they mean by “you project thing to come true if you overthink the probable outcome”. In other words, what you think, you create.

I want him to succeed and I want him to thrive – and I have an attachment to what this might look like for him. The reality is that what I perceive to be is not his reality. I went through a hard time in high school and I turned out just fine. In fact, I feel those experiences helped me grow into a compassionate person. I think it’s been helping not explode on him but stay as calm as possible.

Parenting is a whole different beast when it comings to grief. When you love someone so much that their losses become your own it can be very difficult for a parent. The life struggles of a good kid is heartbreaking but I know that he will become a much stronger and hopefully gain more common sense after it all.

What I can (and am) do as a parent is remind him that his thoughts can change, he has a choice still, and not all is lost. I remind him that he has the ability to make different choices and change his path. I remind him that he’s not a bad person (just shitty choices). To all my parents, grandparents, foster parents, to all parents – you are doing your best with what you have. This does not define you, this does not make you a bad parent. Just keep showing your love.

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  1. What beautiful insight. Watching our kids struggle or make bad choices is one of the hardest things about parenting but I just remind myself I’m not supposed to protect them from experiencing *life*, just help them learn how to navigate it. Nice post!

  2. Laura, thank you. I’m trying really hard to do that. Letting go has proven harder than expected for sure. I have also realized that it best to go through the emotions so I am not repressing my feelings and I can move on with life. “Buried feelings never die”.

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