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Father’s Day after the loss. “Pain can be felt until one’s death”

When there is no person in life called “Dad”, Father’s Day becomes a difficult experience. Regardless of the age at which you lost your beloved parent, this is the time when memories come back, tears appear in your eyes and you are reminded of a feeling of emptiness. Dr. Piotr Kiemrałowski, psychologist and psychotherapist of the Nagle Sami Foundation, in an interview with Dominika Czerniszewska, a journalist of the Dziendobry.tvn.pl website, advises how to work through your own mourning and support the youngest in experiencing it.

Father’s Day after the loss

Dominika Czerniszewska, Dziendobry.tvn.pl: Father’s Day is a very important holiday, but unfortunately not all children are associated with joy. How can we help the youngest to cope with the feeling of emptiness?

Dr Piotr Kiemrałowski, psychologist and psychotherapist of the Nagle Sami Foundation: It depends on the age of the child. In fact, the full understanding that death is final and irreversible comes to us at the age of 10-12. Often, younger children, when they hear “daddy’s gone” or “gone to heaven,” want to know when he’ll be back. It’s natural. Let us ask them questions and not leave them unanswered. It is very important. Children’s reactions vary. The most important thing is that they receive support. When a child loses one parent, they begin to feel fear, anxiety and fear of separating from the other. There is a thought: “If dad is gone, what will I do if mum dies too?”

That is why some mothers, not wanting to treat their children with a trauma, face the dilemma of whether they should take their children to their father’s burial.

Children should attend funeral ceremonies. Except in situations that may be genuinely traumatizing, such as exposing your body to public view. On the other hand, seeing an urn or a coffin, or seeing loved ones pay tribute to the deceased, allows a child to understand what a funeral and loss are. I remember one such experience when a 4-year-old child was absent from his mother’s funeral. In the same year his grandfather died and he was already attending this ceremony. The boy after this incident told his dad that only now he understood what happened to his mother. When a child does not attend the funeral and is later brought to the cemetery, he or she does not know how to say goodbye to a loved one. Conversations about death

Many schools have special performances on the occasion of Father’s Day. This is a difficult moment for children who have lost a parent. What should teachers be especially alert to?

Surely these children should not be the center of attention. It’s not a good idea to highlight them. Whereas you should be vigilant and watch. If the teacher sees that a young person experiences a lot of sadness, isolates himself, cries, then one has to react. There may also be rebellion, anger, refusing to follow orders. The student’s emotions should be welcomed with some adult calm. It is important for children who are going through a loss that they are not judged. They must have the space to re-arrange the world without daddy and learn to live with the absence of a family member. This is very important, especially in the first year after the loss.

We must also remember about the children from Ukraine who attend Polish schools and lost their beloved father as a result of the Russian invasion.

That’s true. I myself look after two boys. They are with their mother, but have a difficult contact with their father. He has been living in Donbas for three months. This is a completely different dimension of looking at the father. The fear arises: “will my dad live?”. Some Ukrainian children have a complete family in Poland. It can be difficult for our little guy whose father is fighting in the war. Some do not know if their dad survived. Some have already lost their fathers. Contrary to previous years, this Dad’s Day for Ukrainian children will be completely different. This should be borne in mind.

Losing a father in adulthood

For some adults, it will also be their first holiday without a dad. Memories will come back, tears will fall … Is there a “magic recipe” that will ease the pain that day?

An adult person – like a child – will experience emotions. Moreover, if she is a parent herself, she will feel responsible for her children. I think it is very important to regain the right to weep, to be weak. Please see how Instagram and Facebook changed our perception. We function in a world where everything is wonderful, beautiful, people are smiling, and death is marginalized. Today we have trouble in mourningbecause it’s a bit of a passé. This will be the first vacation without restrictions after a few years. So dealing with your loss now is not that important. This makes it difficult for those who are experiencing mourning to show that this is a normal state that each of us will have to deal with sooner or later. Therefore, let’s not be afraid to cry. Let us not hide our tears from our children. Showing that we can be sad builds solidarity with our own child. Everyone has the right to show emotions.

We have been brought up so often that men and boys often cannot …

We constantly succumb to this stereotype that boys can’t cry, they just have to be strong. If from an early age he does not show emotions, he will not do it as an adult. This will have an impact on his future role: being a father, husband or partner. If it is sad, let us allow ourselves to experience it. Let’s talk. It’s not that if we don’t cry or are withdrawn, we show strength. In addition, when a child observes this behavior in his father, he may feel confused and feel that he must not be sad or worried either. The situation will come full circle.

Sometimes it happens that years go by and we still can’t come to terms with the loss of Dad. On Father’s Day, this mourning often intensifies. What can we do for ourselves then?

There are cases where the bond between the child and the parent has been so strong that the void left by the loss of a parent may not be closed. This is not at all the therapist’s fault in not being able to guide them through the mourning process, nor is it a patient’s fault. This means that this relationship was very important. This pain may be felt until you die. It is true that this rarely happens, because most often working with a therapist leads to the assumption that we are alone. The motto of our foundation is the slogan “To be able to live on”. However, at such times as Father’s Day or during other important holidays, this absence will be noticeable and the mourning will return for a moment. This is evidence of sensitivity. It is impossible to completely push out the sadness after the loss.

But when should the red light turn on for us that it is high time to use the therapist’s help?

In the first phase, any grief process involves looking at what is happening to us. Here extremely extreme experiences are alarming signs. The person cannot control his emotions. Her relatives notice that she is not eating, she is not sleeping, she repeats that she would like to join the deceased. She does not speak directly about suicide, but about the fact that she would like not to exist. He sees no point in living without the deceased. If these extreme emotions continue, both therapeutic and pharmacological help is needed. Remember that you need to be careful and do it wisely when using pharmacotherapy. Because if we chemically silence our emotions, we will only help ourselves temporarily. Another thing that should worry us is that “nothing is happening” to the person. This is a paradox, because the environment says: “See, his loved one died, and you don’t see it. This is behavior that indicates very strong control. It is rewarded socially and treated with envy, but people who block their emotions and do not give themselves the opportunity to experience themselves cannot stay in this state for long. Because after a few months or years, they often experience clinical symptoms of depression and, for example, a tendency to abuse alcohol to relieve tension. Then often these people do not realize that it has to do with unfulfilled mourning.

The Nagle Sami Foundation is the first non-governmental organization in Poland that provides comprehensive assistance to bereaved people. Offers individual meetings with a psychologist, support groups as well support telephone 800 108 108.

The men at the front of the family

We are a women’s website and we create lifestyle content for you. However, we do remember the situation in Ukraine. Do you want to help? Find out what you can do. Help. Information. Tips.

Source From: Dziendobry

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