Parenting and grief

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.


  1. Laura – North Carolina – My name is Laura. I grew up in a military family that bounced around throughout my childhood. After earning a bachelor's in English and a master of teaching degree, I married my college sweetheart and we lived in the midwest for two years. Then we moved to North Carolina and settled down in a small town to build our life together as a family. I have a deep passion for writing that lives alongside my love for my family, music, photography, and more. I hope Riddle from the Middle will make you laugh, or cry, or think about something from a new perspective...but mostly I hope reading it brings you as much joy as I gain from writing it.

    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. Kat Wellness Coach: Life Change Coaching – Kat Reese has been working in the social work field since 2010 working with adults and children in the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities sector. While working in the community with clients she has helped her clients work through obstacles to become more independent and self-reliant. Through this work, she has build tools and programs for clients to use to become successful in accomplishing their goals. She obtained a Masters in Psychology with an emphasis on Life Coaching through Grand Canyon University in 2019. This has allowed her to use assessments to help connect to the right tools for the needs of the client. Kat wants to help people regain control of their lives so that they feel pride in their accomplishments and confidence to go it alone. She wants to be able to work herself out of a job because her clients are able to take the tools and use them for themselves. Kat Reese is also certified as a Reiki, Level 3, practitioner. She is able to work with people to break up stagnant energy and relieve stress to rebuild confidence in oneself. Through this practice, one will be able to see how the body expresses the subconscious needs of the mind.

    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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