Getting Over the Death of Mom

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: My aunt has just passed away a month ago. She committed suicide and behind her she has left her husband 2 sons who are 13 and 6. The older boy had learnt to cope with the fact that is mother is no longer around but the younger one stays angry with everyone around him. He was really close to his mother and he doesn’t want to accept the fact that his mother is gone forever. This is putting an effect on his health as he is not eating properly anymore. What is the best way to get him back into his old self again, like what should the family do?

A: I’m actually just as concerned about the 13 year old as the 6 year old. Their mother has been gone for only a month and the older boy has accepted it? I don’t think so. More likely he is shutting down his feelings. In some ways, the little boy is having a healthier response. Of course he is angry. He feels abandoned and confused and he wants his mommy.

If these kids were in my family, I’d want them both to see a counselor who specializes in helping kids with grief. Since the death was a suicide, it’s especially important that the boys have some help making sense of their mother leaving them. Your uncle is also probably dealing with a lot of mixed feelings. It would be a good idea for him to go to the counselor with them, both to get support for himself and to help him learn how to be supportive of his boys.
My condolences for everyone’s loss.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Sep 2006

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2006). Getting Over the Death of Mom. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/09/25/my-little-cousin-isnt-getting-over-the-death-of-his-mom/