How my eight- and five-year old daughters and I learned to communicate after their mother died

By Eamonn Wallace 

Although we knew Sasha was going to die, it was still very difficult to deal with and even more difficult and devastating for the girls. The initial shock of her death blocked everything out but, when you’re left with young children, the priority is to keep going, making sure that they get to school and that they’re fed and clothed. 

The first few weeks after Sasha died were a blur as I tried to keep things on an even keel. It was hard trying to hold down a job and look after the children; lots of single parents do it but, in the immediate aftermath, it felt monumental.  

Life was difficult but I didn’t want the children to be further damaged by seeing me unable to cope. The children’s grief felt most important, so I dealt with that rather than my own grief. They were upset and didn’t understand, so I tried to ensure they were as happy as possible and not bottling things up. 

We talked a lot about their mother but, obviously, there were lots of sleepless nights and tears, which had to be dealt with. When that happens, you have to stop what you are doing and give it your full attention. You can’t continue cooking dinner and pay lip service to it, you have to stop and deal with it. Sometimes one of my daughters would be upset and then at other times both of them were, so it was quite intense and tiring for a long period of time.

Child Bereavement UK supported the girls in the immediate aftermath of their mum dying and we have dipped in and out of receiving support through key milestones in our lives over the last 10 years. The support helped the girls deal with their own situation; they became better at articulating how they felt and we could communicate better as a family. It was the foundation for moving forward and moving on to the new life we have now.

 


Eamonn with his daughter, Jenna