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Family member passed, son isn't coping well

Posted by on Nov. 16, 2013 at 11:29 PM
  • 17 Replies

Ok I need to rewind a little here, my sister-in law was having trouble with her period. It went on for 2 months straight. She went to the doctor and they discovered she had Uterine cancer. That was in August. She had surgery in September to remove it and she also had a total hysterectomy. A couple weeks passed and she wasn't getting better. She was in constant pain. She went back to the ER because of severe pain and they rushed her back. She was also having trouble breathing Dr. did some tests and they determined that the cancer spread in that short amount of time. They weren't even sure how long she had. My kids were very close to her. Before she passed my husband and I explained the situation to our kids. We also asked them if they wanted to see their Aunt before she passed. We didn't want to force them to go see her and we didn't want to not let them go. We left the decision to them. They both agreed that they wanted to see her. When we went the next evening she was unresponsive and on oxygen. We told her we loved her and said our goodbyes. She passed the next day.2 days after going to the ER, 22 days after her surgery, she was only 45.

My daughter was upset for a few days but felt better after the funeral. And yes, we let them go to the funeral. That decision was their's to make as well. My son hasn't been coping well with it at all. He still cries, and asks why she had to die. She passed 8 days before his birthday which made it extra hard on him. He will get upset, just out of the blue. The other day he was watching Mythbusters on Netflix and they were testing some myth about being buried alive. They were looking at caskets and one looked exactly like the one she was buried in. My son noticed and actually rewound the video to show me and got extemely upset. I hugged him and consoled him and of course had him turn on a different episode after that. I know he needs some counseling. Right now we are still waiting on my husband's health insuarance to kick in. I know he needs to talk. But I really don't know what to say or where to begin. I think it would be a little easier to discuss if he wasn't autistic. Trying to get him to talk about things that bother him is very hard. I wish I knew a way to help him. Maybe my husband needs to be the one to just sit with him and talk to him about it. It's hard enough to deal with the death of a loved one, but dealing with it and having autism has to be much worse. Any ideas from the other mommies here? 

simple frown

by on Nov. 16, 2013 at 11:29 PM
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by Emma on Nov. 16, 2013 at 11:35 PM
4 moms liked this

As an autistic adult, you just really have to let him process in his own time.

What I can say is it's good he's showing you that he misses her and that her death bothers him. When he brings things up, ask him questions about his feelings and thoughts, ask him if he wants a hug, talk about YOUR feelings in regards to handling her passing, the closeness and love you had for her, how she's always got a place in your heart and is with you in spirit. 

You can explain ways to him that will give his logical brain something to make sense of. He's gonna be literal and explaining it simply isn't going to be good enough. He needs to really understand the process of both what happened, and his feelings regarding it. 

All I can say is counselling may or may not help if he's autistic, as someone who gets fixated on things when I'm trying to process them, dealing with them with someone who doesn't really understand my wiring, made situations WORSE for me, and stopped my processing, or confused my brain so much I had to not only process what I was working on, but undoing the damage the talk-therapy did.

Be careful who you pick. Most are not equipped to provide talk-therapy for an autistic kid, and their feelings/reactions often scare them especially if we word things poorly in trying to express stuff or while trying to find out HOW to phrase it in a way that makes sense to someone else.

Mostly, you just have to give him time. Love him, let him lean on you, if he needs to talk or think about it, let him... If he needs a distraction and redirection to a happier topic if he starts getting too upset, that's okay too, now's a good time to teaching coping strategies on how to deal with loss and pain... and a lot of that hard lesson is "it just takes time to stop hurting as much."

by on Nov. 16, 2013 at 11:37 PM

hi there , im joy

whoa , i told my kids our loved one is now in heaven  , my ASD 13 yr old took that better than i know he would of not saying that even tho that is hard to grasp too , its just not easy

Cafe AmyS
by Head Admin on Nov. 16, 2013 at 11:39 PM

I'm so sorry for your loss.

by on Nov. 17, 2013 at 12:48 AM
So sorry for your family's loss. Cancer is so horrible.
by Hadley on Nov. 17, 2013 at 1:06 AM

Oh, I am so sorry. It sounds like such a hard time for all of you. It is so sad to read your story. Maybe more time is needed for healing. My mother-in-law passed away very unexpectedly in May. It has been 6 months and the pain is just starting to lift. Death upsets everything in our worlds and it takes a long time to heal. 

by on Nov. 17, 2013 at 1:35 AM
I am so sorry to hear about this. My cousin with autism still thinks my grandpa is in the hospital and he has been gone over two years. My son is too young for me to have any advice to you but I wanted to give my condolences. 💕
by Darby on Nov. 17, 2013 at 6:48 AM

I'm so sorry to hear this.  Hugs!

by on Nov. 17, 2013 at 7:04 AM

 OMGosh..I'm so sorry. I'm 45 and just can;t imagine how unfair that is to her and to all of you.

I think everyone deals with loss so differently. I don't think there's a right or wrong way, but I do feel with time it will get better. It's ok to be sad about losing someone you just need to be able to find a way to deal with it that isn't harmful to your own health. Children are so resilient and I know that in time the loss will be something he can handle.
by Janine on Nov. 17, 2013 at 10:01 AM
Awe hugs mama! This brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry for your loss. Sounds like your already doing everything you can do. When the insurance kicks in I would bring him to a counselor if you feel he still needs it. Big Hugs!
by Terri on Nov. 17, 2013 at 10:33 AM

im sorry

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