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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Children Like Mine Grieve Differently

My son isn't completely your "average, ordinary" kid. Sure, he does what most kids do in regards to playing outside, playing video games, watching goofy TV shows and other "normal" kid things.

But much of that is on a lower age level then those of his peers. Though he is finally out of the stage of still wanting to watch Playhouse Disney and the Srpout Channel (which he did up until the age of 8 years old).

Three years ago, two of my kids (Bryce and his older sister) got their first "taste" of real life, and the fact that we don't live forever and that those that we love will die one day.

Back then, I only took Hayley (the oldest) with us to the Funeral services. It was her first time seeing a person who passed away laying in state. For the most part, under the circumstances, she did quite well.

Now, tomorrow she will witness the burial of her Great-Grandfather, whom she was quite fond of. And so was Bryce. He will be now attending his first Funeral service.

With him, we have been preparing him for WEEKS of the impending death of their "Big Papa". Yes, there were lots of questions. My husband and I answered best as we could.

Sunday night is when Scott's grandfather passed. And while the two older ones were shook up and in a state of denile and shock, they took it better than I thought that they would.

The next morning though, is when all of that changed. And overnight, my son had changed. I guess from all the pent up grief from the night before.

While most children his age would just fall apart, crying and either go off to be alone or wish to be held as they began their grieving process, Bryce was "showing himself" in a way I had not seen in a very long time.

You see, one of his problems is a processing disorder. His brain doesn't take emotional overload very well, or sensory messages that are too great or too many to deal with at once. And this is apparently what had happened.

And the end result was a nine-year-old boy throwing, hitting, screaming, yelling and crying all at once. It was a classic Manic Episode in full form. Only this time unlike most others, I knew where this one was stemming from. Normally they just "hit" without real warning or cause. While indeed, it was without warning, I was able to figure out the cause pretty fast.

I'd chalked it up to the grief of what we told him the night before just all spilling out at once. But then, it happened on the next morning as well. While I still figured it was the grieving coming out, seeing as they had been too busy otherwise to "really think about it all", I'd had enough. I too have been at the end of my emotional rope.

After day two of this volatile display of emotion, I flat out told Bryce that if this is how he was going to be, then there was NO way he was going to be allowed to attend the Funeral. I said that this was NOT the way that we display our hurt. Especially not there.

And like I flipped a switch within him somehow, he stopped. Yes, he was still crying, but it was more of an "age appropriate" crying and being upset.

Kids with processing and sensory disorders deal with things so much differently than neurotypical children. What may not mean the end of the world to us, and seem quite trivial is equivalent to the world crashing down around them and that the sky is falling.

So when something such as the death of a close friend or family member occurs, their already shaky emotional and mental stability can indeed worsen. And a myriad of emotion can spill out all at once, and along with it come some not-so desired behaviors.

**Also as a side note, I would like to thank our cousin Tara. She was the ONLY one out of all the family that know of Bryce's problems to ask how Bryce was doing and handling HIS loss.

Now I can see indeed why I picked her as the God Parent of my kids. She truly is concerned for their welfare and never forgets to ask about them. Especially my son. Thank you Tara!**

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