Have you ever wished you had a closet that allowed you to time travel? One that would allow you to travel forward or backwards in time to see events in your life… And after seeing those events could you alter your life to make decisions that would serve you better. If you are a parent with an adult child I am sure you wish you had such a closet!
Your child has a vulnerable moment and you see tears of pain in places in their life that make you cringe. You shudder at the thought that you were so inept at dealing with them at that moment. You wish you had that closet to go back in time and change the way you dealt with it!
That my friends; is grief at one of its cruelest moments. There is nothing so heart wrenching as the “I should have”, “I could have”, “I would have” that spring up into your heart and mind about your child. In grief the shoulda, coulda, wouldas will keep us stuck. We will be forever emotionally incomplete until we do something to bring oneself into a place of emotional completeness through grief work.
That being said, I have found several things helpful in this regard. While the child is sharing, allow them to speak, vent, cry, scream or anything else they may feel the need to do. Let them flow out all those unlocked feelings and memories. When this happens, see it as the moment it is: an opportunity to make amends. What tends to happen is that we want to make excuses for what happened. We tend to say things that minimize their grief! “I was dealing with your father.” “I already had so much on my plate” “It wasn’t that big of a deal.” This only drives the pain and hurt deeper in for the child. An honest and sincere apology is all that will salve the pain your child feels right then. Tell them you wish you could go back in time and do that all differently. Help them rescue that inner child that is screaming out to you at that moment. The effects will be one of these most healing things you have ever done for you or your child.
Trust me when I say I have lived this. Some of my most challenging moments in my life have been when I had to face decisions I made that hurt the children I love so dearly. The cathartic effects that my honesty, vulnerability and accountability had on both of us was amazing. I realized that in the past when my child told me things like that; I made excuses. It meant something about me. I was a loser…. When I took me out of the equation all I was left was a child who needed love and comfort. Amazing!
I wrote and published a book that I believe came from this pain. It is about a closet that allows children to go back in time and see events that they could change. I thought I was writing it for others. However, I was writing for myself and my children…. If you’d like to check it out search on Amazon for We are the Monsters, We are the Masters by Cynthia Herbert