It’s important that you know that I’m writing this from my own perspective. My personal feelings, experience(s) and own reflection.
As some of you already know, my mum died when I was 9. And after she died it felt like she died and that was it. We never spoke about her. Nobody ever initiated a talk that involved her in our household.
I tried on few occasions but I usually got vague responses and so we never had a meaningful successful talk about her. Now older and finding healing I try to poke and suck out information about mum from anyone I knew was close to her every opportunity I get. Sometimes I succeed. And sometimes with people like my dad I don’t usually succeed.
So I guess just like in most families, relatives or the extended family jump in and take charge where they are able. And sometimes consciously or unconsciously they take full charge without clear communication. Mine was no exception. Extended family literally jumped in to help my dad. A young widower with 5 little kids. The eldest been 10 and youngest been 2.
So my siblings and I were drifted apart. One taken by one relative and the other by another. We barely heard from one another. We were mostly in different towns.
So after my mums demise, my elder brother and I were directly taken to boarding school miles away. We stayed in one boarding school together for a year and before we could adjust to the new school we were separated. Pap! we landed in different schools.
I was admitted to a girls boarding school in Kerugoya. And my brother in a mixed boarding school in the same town. I remember we went for a whole year without seeing each other or hearing from each other.
Those were the days not everyone had a telephone. My dad had a cheap mobile phone that he mostly used to only receive calls. But even this been the case, I can’t remember having phone call conversations with my siblings or anyone else for that matter.
If you have been to a boarding school in Kenya then you know the system. We had only 3 long breaks in a year where we could go home. They were mostly 3-4weeks long. So during these breaks I found myself at an aunties or uncles place. I would ask where my siblings were and of course they were at another relatives place and sometimes home with dad.
When we were lucky to be in the same city, we saw each other after church service because our relatives happened to go to the same church. We met on other rare occasions. Some cousins birthday or an extended family gathering.
What I‘m trying to say is this whole experience affected me in little and major ways and the relationship and bond between me and my family was somehow indifferent. At times the mere connection I felt we had was just blood.
How we related to each other was different. Now as an adult and observing closely I see my relationship with my siblings and theirs with each other would have been better if we were not tossed around the way we were.
Don’t get confused, we love each other very much. We would literally climb mountains and swim oceans to see each other happy and content. Maybe after all, this experience(s) made us even stronger.
I‘m probably drifting from my point which is, parents should actively communicate with their kids authentically and with intention about even those situations that seem small and insignificant in their eyes but to the child they aren’t. Parents of more than one child should see to it that their children grow lovingly together if it is within their power.
Which should actually be so because again, having children should be a decision or choice you soberly make. Reminds me of this article I wrote way back (https://wanjirusworld.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/__trashed-3/)
I don’t blame my dad or my relatives for how my childhood was laid out. They all just had the best interests for us, I trust. I only wish I/we was/were given space to feel and deal with the loss of someone so close and loving and that someone literally and intentionally talked to us about our mum every now and then. Then probably I would have one less demon to deal with till date.
I feel it is important to know that in such situations when a child looses a parent, there is much more important things like mental health of the child than a better school. (I mean you can also give both if you proactively learn to also listen to the feelings and needs of your child).
A child can get great grades but if they are mentally unstable they will only derail in other significant aspects of their life. Mostly trauma experienced during childhood will manifest itself sooner or even later in life. It is very sad to see grown ups still stuck up in loss (could be anything) that happened while they were children.
Parents should help their children to fight some demons earlier in life than later. I know there is no recipe of how to live life, but I‘m a strong believer that each and everyone has some power to change at least one thing around them.
Have you ever gone through a certain kind of loss as a child and if yes is there anything you think would have been done that would have helped you then but wasn’t done?
How do you deal with loss? Do you think sometimes relatives overstep while trying to help? Please let me know below.