Day 14: Operation Eleanor - Rebirthing Of The Word Bogart

bogart: transitive v. to use or consume without sharing

Today I bogarted the first few minutes of Peanut's therapy appointment. Although, truth be told, it wasn't so much for my personal use as it was for the benefit of our entire family. Yay for awesome therapists! We have a great one.

I can't recommend therapy enough for helping a family through the rough spots or even just as an ongoing resource for learning how to navigate the developmental stages kids go through. With kids who are grieving the loss of a parent, it's a must. As we move toward integrating two families together, it is also important that we have the support of a professional to help us navigate the bumps that we will surely encounter along the way. It's one thing to create a step-family with children of divorce; yet another altogether to create a step-family with children who have lost their parent(s). My kids don't just have a potential fear of their father being replaced because they see another parent here in the house, they might have that fear because their other parent will never return. It makes for a different kind of situation. It doesn't matter that nobody is looking to replace their dad. Amen for professional help along our journey.

So, even though I wasn't super excited about needing to go in for the first few minutes to discuss "issues," I did it. And you know what, I feel a LOT better. Isn't that how therapy usually goes?

Work Ahead

I found a wonderful book that I thought I'd share with those of you who might have grieving children. It's called Guiding Your Child Through Grief by James P. Emswiler and Mary Ann Emswiler. Here's what I like about it: the authors aren't just counselors. They met and married after James lost his 39-year-old wife of 18 years to an unexpected heart attack. He was a young widower of three children. Mary Ann was a single woman who took on raising his three children with him. Together, they founded the New England Center for Loss & Transition and The Cove, a program for grieving children, because there weren't any resources available as they navigated these uncharted waters back in the early 90s. They get it. And they break it down by the developmental stages of the kids, which I really appreciate, because teenagers are not the same as 10-year-olds when it comes to their grief needs. If you're looking for a book that will speak to you in the early days or even a year or more out, this is it. The chapter on step-parenting a grieving child is excellent and I found a lot of comfort in the opening chapter, Will My Child Be Okay?