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How should my son and I deal with my wife's death?

Q: I am 36 years old and my son is five years old. My wife hung herself and also our son. My son survived but my wife died. I have shifted my flat to a new area. My son is going to school normally as before. He is a bit fussy in doing his regular work (which he used to do independently earlier) and needs a lot of time to finish his homework. He speaks less now, whereas earlier he was very talkative. Sometimes he asks for his mother's photograph and I readily show it to him. He takes a very deep look at it and says Ok. Sometimes the mere mention of her name brings tears to his eyes. We had shown him her dead body in the hospital itself and had told him that she is going to be with God and will not return. He kissed her goodbye normally, and then broke into crying. As a husband, I still have sweet and pleasant memories of her coming back to me at any time and always. How should my son and I deal with the situation? What precautions or adjustments should I take to bring up my child normally? What should I do with all the belongings of my wife? Currently my mother has come to stay with us for this one year or so. What are best choices for both myself and my son to lead a simple normal life here in the same town? I am planning to give up my career aspirations for the next four or five years or even more as per the needs of my son.

A:The experience that you and your five-year-old son have gone through is tragic indeed. My sympathies to you. Your child has gone through a very difficult time. You must be gentle and tender with him. Let him express his feelings once in a way. Do not push him to do homework fast. Explain to his teachers that he has faced the loss of his mother and that they should also understand him and try to help him to recover. Try and increase the social circle, that is, the people you meet regularly. He needs to be with other families and to play with other children. I hope that you will, in due course, consider the possibility of not being the only parent to the child. That is not to say that single fathers cannot bring up a child alone. Many do and do so very well. So it is a complex matter to make any decision now. Time will heal. If there is a kind and sensitive Psychologist in your area, you might wish to consult him for your sons well being. Join a club or group where you can both play games and meet people. Let the child's grandmother be warm and tender to him, rather than a disciplinarian. There are no precautions to take. Just remember that the affection and warmth between you and your son will solve most problems. But bring in an element of energy and a sense of fun to your activities with him. He needs to move from the period of mourning to the period of accepting the harsh truth. Keep photographs, letters and some mementos. Anything that your son will treasure in later years should be kept. You may have a feeling of satisfaction if you give away her clothes and belongings to some needy people. Get your brothers, sisters or friends to be with you while doing all this. We all need support at difficult phases in our life.


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