Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More comments from Children

I've remembered a few more interesting comments, I thought I would share - mostly just as an insight to how kids think about loss.

I mentioned that Toby had already decided that Jin (Shin's sister) should be my new bedmate, but I had forgotten about the more direct things they were saying to Jin. On the same day that Shin died, Josie asked Jin if she could be her mommy now. Also Toby hugged Jin and said "my mommy" several times. Jin looks a lot like Shin and has a similar enthusiastic loving spirit that I think reminds the kids of Shin.

Before Shin passed away but after I had explained that mommy might die soon, Toby had an interesting conversation with our helper, Elisa. Most people assume that at 3 Toby is to young to understand what's going on, but I've been amazed at how quickly and clearly he thinks through the implications of what is going on, what it implies for him and what he needs. This is a great example. When Elisa cam back from the Philippines after Christmas holidays she brought back some good mangos. Toby loved them and asked Elisa to go back and get some more. After I told Toby that mommy might die soon, Toby told Elisa that he doesn't want any more mangos. He said he didn't want Elisa to go back to the Philippines. And that he doesn't want to get a new "auntie". A neighbor's "auntie" just went back to the Philippines and their family got a new helper and Toby seemed aware of the possibility. He asked Elisa if she was going back to the Philippines, because he didn't want a new auntie. Elisa asked why, did your father say something? But she was quick to figure it out that it was Toby just looking stabilize the people around him.

Josie's music teacher, who is a longtime friend called to say she is looking out for Josie and told Josie that if she is feeling sad that she can come and visit her. Seems Josie took her up on it right away and came during the next recess break with her friend Poppy, saying she was sad. I'd bet she just likes the special attention, and it is comforting to me to know that it is there. Her music teacher mentioned that the class was talking about the coming parent/teacher/student meetings. Josie said to the class her mother is not coming. A fellow student said, yeah because she was dead. Her music teacher said yes, but she will still be listening, and was a little taken aback by the bluntness. I mentioned to her music teacher that the bluntness and openness are probably good, and much better than secrecy and mystery. But there is a risk that I have read about. Kids can be mean and can pick on one's greatest sensitivity. It is not uncommon for a child suffering loss to stand out as being different due to the loss and then picked on because of it. So far I think the kids (and myself) have received only kind and loving support (to an unbelievable degree really). I think the school fosters great values and support for others. But I am bracing myself for the the probable day that our existing hurt is met with meanness.

Thanks to everyone writing in comments. I have not had time to respond to them, but I read them all. Great suggestions of helping the kids, touching stories of similar circumstances, and I really appreciate the kindness and support.



Anonymous said...

Tony, your children are very precocious. They seem to understand what happened to Shin but want her to be replaced. You are doing such a great job in walking the thin line of telling them the truth but making it as happy (if that is the correct word) for them so they won't be horribly crushed. Maybe Josie wants to stand out and maybe she is looking for the attention that Shin's passing has taken from her. She is so smart that maybe she just needs the attention for a while before all of this sinks in.
This is not much of a comment but I do want you to know that I think of you all of the time, I had the people in my church pray for you and your little ones on Sunday and this blog is the first thing I look at each day. You are so very thoughtful to keep us all updated and I thank you for that. We all love you.

Anonymous said...

shin or no shin.. I still check this blog the first moment after i click on internet explorer.. Thank u for ur generousity to continue to share.:) i ve a question - are u working? Wat job are u doing? If not working now, when do u plan to join the work force? Oops! More than 1 question. We've heard so much about the kids.. About shin.. We seldom hear about u :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony, is ok that you didn't respond,etc. the most important thing is you had read them and hopefully they are of help.

Yes, that's what I wrote before that Josie and Toby may meet this kind of "meaness"/teasing,etc from their peers, or even when they see that their peers or even strangers have both parents dinning,shopping,attending their concert,etc, (even when they are in their teens) which you need to deal with,in specific, able to talk to them about that and comfort and explain them and tell them how to see from other point AFTER listening to them. It may be good to let them know that there are also children who doesn't have BOTH parents due to illness (like Shin) so that they won't think they are the "only" ones BUT assure them that they are already very fortunate to have Shin love and they have a mummy who they love in their heart.

Josie's music teacher is right to explain all that to the class and most important is not to hide. I think as long as Josie didn't try to hide the fact and instead she is ready to tell ppl that she don't have a mother, is "good" than denying and trying to "fake" ,right? But is good unless she can be to take all that after many times of mocking,etc. This can be done by keep telling her Shin is in her heart, she HAS a mummy just that is not physically, she has her love,etc...and most important is to encourage her to tell you her encounters and feelings...ask her what she will do then before telling the "positive ways/mindset thinking"=>can "train" her how to deal and think when such things happen in future, but you need to GUIDE her to think positively before she can deal with all that (she is still young and even adults may not be able to). Yes, Tony, there bound to have such "meaness" in the future too but is good if you look from another aspect,right? Just be careful that Josie and Toby don't feel negative and pessimistic about humans. Maybe doing volunteer works/helping,simple ones, to build up their compassionate and teach them how to love and share the more unfortunate ones are a good way. Because positive and negative thoughts won't exist at the same time in our mind...and is good to go out with them some time too...

Maybe when Josie is a yr or two older (maybe not at this stage because she needs time to accept totally her loss of mummy, even Toby needs too, so be careful not to overwhelmed too much of negative "shocks" to them at this stage.), you can let her know that there are even more unfortuante ppl in this world,eg don't have enough food,etc (but be careful not to tell her too much of these negative things, must place right emphasis and get the right message to her)...don't have to do it consciously though....

Is good and more important that/if they are willing and will tell you what happen to them and their feelings too (not just from the teachers).

I think many parents are too busy or impatient to listen and will just brush them off by "scolding" them about their "negative" feeling,etc, I think you wouldn't right? :) Even when you are or busy or feeling emo (which is possible), you must make it a point to let them know that you are busy with "what", you will talk and listen after XX hr/mins, and then you MUST fulfill your promise to them because if you forget or didn't, even for once or twice, children will remember and some will just withdrawal slowly or totally. This is very common even in adult. Esp Josie is a very sensible and "sensitive" girl and can see that Toby too. Security (mentally, in terms of the ppl around them and if they are being loved or neglected,etc.) and attention (coz they want to be loved and let their peers know that too...) are the main aspects to them now.

Tony, is good you have mental preparation for that. Don't worry, if you need any advise,etc, just post it here,ok? :)

A word of reminder: is important to confirm if you are right about Josie and Toby thoughts/feelings by asking them qns. because we,adults, tends to think and interpret using "adults" view point/thinking , we "THOUGHT"...And is really very important to guide Toby's thinking that aunt Jin is still different from Shin despite the similarity because if not corrected, Toby may have this "replacement/spare tire" thinking and thinking is perfectly ok, even when he grows up. (but is "not right" because that actually is harmful). I think Toby is still in denial stage and so his reaction is actually very "simple thinking and direct" (may seems very cute and funny of him but really need to be guided/"corrected".)

I understand and hope you don't spend too time replying too...is really ok and those who are really concern won't feel offended because we can understand .As long as we can help, is more important. I am sure there are "nasty" comments which Shin and you did received but hope that won't affect you. But there are far more friendly ones than "nasty",right? :) Take care. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Tony, may i ask who is Jin...? Just curious. Thanks!

Tony said...

Questions - Jin is Shin's Sister. I work in finance and my employer has been flexible and understanding. I've been working part time (mornings) over the past few months and will start full time again next month.


Anonymous said...

Anon 8.54am, actually if you watch the chinese documentary video clip, you will be able to know that Tony is working parttime because he wanted to spend more time with Shin and the kids. :)

Tony, good that you will be working full time again and has so understanding employer. :) Hope you will still be able to maintain quality time everyday with the kids after you work full time again. is not easy but I am sure you can do it with your mom's and maid help.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,

I wonder if mental preparation is adequate to handle 'meanness' that may come........

A widow friend shared that she was unable to look at her husband pictures or clothes etc for the few months after her husband passed away.

For me, I grab whatever i can find that will help to remember my husband and the gals' daddy. I digged out all the past photos that are in the computer, not developed, intending to have the photos developed and do up scrapbook album. I have my husband's friends (from schoolmates to colleagues) writing on a book on what they remembered about my husband (We don't have a blog).

I wanted to do all these because I want my gals to have fond memories of their daddy. I want them to be proud that whatever little time they have with their daddy, they have his best. Never doubt his love.

I think Shin had that addressed by leaving little notes, gifts as remembrance for the children., not mentioning the blog.

I believe and certainly hope that all these little things will help to 'smoothen' the meanness that may come their way.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the job update.. U will get busy when you start full time work. It'll be challenging, even difficult, to give ur time to children. When road gets tough, pls don use work as an escape. Pls don be offended.. I'm saying this because i find myself often doing these when life at home is tough.. Take care!

Anonymous said...

we love you and the kids tony! i also enjoy reading these comments of support, advice, similar situations, etc. i truly admire everyone associated with this blog, and miss shin and her presence deeply. but i know she's thrilled to see where this has gone/is going. i think it will be extremely important for the kids to have later on when they are older.

lots of love.

Anonymous said...

indeed it will be important for the kids in the future. many children who lose parents as young children often feel a void when they are much older, simply because that connection to one of the two people who is literally a part of them has not been there throughout their lives. however, keeping a blog such as this with detailed written word, as well as videos, pictures, and physical items to be passed down later on will do so much to fill in that void. it's also the best way for them to really KNOW personally who their mother was, especially since shin was so outspoken and her personality, views, and purpose with this blog was so apparent and clear.

it's kind of incredible that shin (and certainly you too, tony) had this sort of foresight in mind--to actively be a part of their lives as much as possible in the future. not just as some abstract idea, either.

tony, you are doing awesome despite everything. i wonder (hope) that you are also taking care of yourself and not just the kids.

know that you all have our support in everything you do. blessings.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony
How has things been for the past few days? Your last post was 10 Feb 09.

Hope things are more settled & Toby n Josie are coping well.

Warmest Rgds, Patricia