A young widow who prefers to remain anonymous narrates her ordeal in trying to help her son cope with the trauma of losing his dad: “My husband passed on almost three years ago when I was 29-years-old. My in-laws abandoned my then two-year-old son (now 5-years-old) and me. I took it upon myself to look after my son without their help. My problem now is that my son misses his dad and keeps asking about him. I once tried to explain what has happened to his dad but he resisted and shouted saying his dad can never be dead, ‘my dad is not dead. Give me my daddy,’ he kept screaming till he slept off. What do I do? He keeps asking questions relating to his dad and wants immediate answers concerning his dad. I see the sorrow in his eyes when I can’t give him direct answers concerning his dad. The thought that he misses his dad is weighing me down and keeps reminding me of his dad.”
Dealing with the trauma of losing a loved one is never easy, especially for spouses and children. But Aisha Musa, a 38-year-old economist asks how well we deal with such trauma as parents to be able to help children heal from the loss. “I don’t worry for her son much, I worry more for her. What has she done since her husband’s passing to get a closure for herself? What has she done to move on? Is she still broken and shattered? Is she physically and internally strong and viable? What is her support system like? How is she coping day to day? If all these questions I have posed don’t have positive responses, then there is no way she can heal someone else in her brokenness. Her son is the least of the worry here. Rather she is, if she can’t find closure her son will never find closure. It might as well be that her son gets the vibes of her missing his dad from her actions and thoughts,” Aisha concludes.
Ufoma Okoli, a 39-year-old secretary says: “If she is a Christian, I will suggest she gives herself to praise and worship. Weep in His presence, let it all shatter and let her healing begin. Only then can she look at her child and heal his worries. That way they will both move forward and reign in life. I will also suggest that she engages the services of a child psychologist, it will do her son a lot of good in fixing the emotional trauma he is experiencing at the moment and help him face reality that his dad is no more and he needs to move on and be strong for himself and his mum.”
Forty-year-old lawyer Amina Ahmed Suleiman opines that: “She needs to do more when it comes to closure on her own part. She is still living in denial and so thinks she has overcome the trauma. If her son is asking for his dad even though he died when he was barely old enough to know his dad, then she hasn’t found closure for herself yet. If you ask me, she is living in denial. What she needs now are encouraging words and friends to lift her spirit and guide her on where to focus which will in return accelerate her healing process. With these in place she will have the courage to face her fears and triumph at the end.”
Tolu John, a 35-year-old teacher advises that: “Stop telling him dad is dead because it might sound very mean to him. Tell him dad went to heaven when his assignment here on earth was completed and has gone for another assignment. I also think she needs to reconsider getting married again. She is too young to allow her life stand still. Maybe when he sees another man in her life he will be able to let go of his late dad. That may help him a lot with the emptiness in his heart.”
Marriage counsellor Hajiya Maryam Abduallhi chipped in that the lady in question still has a lot to do in terms of finding closure over the loss of her husband. “I think she needs lots of support now to be able to find closure of some sort. She sounds like she is still broken from the loss and disappointment from her in-laws and if she is then she can’t help her son in that state. His questions and reactions might stem from the vibes he’s getting from her, remember children are very intelligent and can tell if there is a problem.”
She adds that: “Try to get up and bounce back to your feet. Don’t live in pain and regrets over your in-laws. Be strong, be encouraged, and be ready to move on. She needs to move on with her life. She is too young to be alone. She is still pained and it is understandable. Her son aside, she also needs a way out and move on. You can try with the help of a specialist in such fields. Maybe talking about it can help. An expert can explain and help you better in dealing with it.”