Richardson’s death makes me worry about her young boys

I was very sad to read last night about actress Natasha Richardson’s death. Not so much because she was a wonderful actress but because I feel for her two children. I kept searching articles trying to find out how old her sons were and finally found it. They are just 13 and 12.

I’m sure her husband Liam Neeson is heartbroken, but I don’t think even his sadness can compare to what his poor children must be feeling. I can’t imagine losing your mother at such a young age.

Princess Diana’s death was another mother’s death that just broke me up. I still tear up thinking about that little sign that said “Mummy” by the flowers on her casket.

My husband’s mother died the summer after his freshman year in college. He misses her terribly and thinks all the time about how much she would love her grandchildren! His brother was much younger when she died – only 13. Her death affected him deeply and I think changed the path of his life.

Michael always tells me how dependent I am on my mother. (She only lives two miles away.) He’s commented before that I would be lost if something ever happened to her, and I’m in my 30s.

How do you help children who lose their mother at a young age? If you are someone that lost your mother young, how did you cope? How did her death affect your life?

37 comments Add your comment

JJ

March 19th, 2009
8:06 am

There is nothing like the death of a parent, unless it’s the death of a child. I lost my father about 17 years ago, and I still miss him terribly. I was just talking to my daughter about him the other day. He would have been a great Grampa, and only had 18 months to be one. I tear up just thinking about that. Luckily, he got to see two grandchildren before he died. But he was so sick, he really couldn’t do too much with them, and they were tiny babies. They spent the night with my parents ALOT, so he was around them.

Bless my Mom’s heart for taking such good care of him when he was so sick. But 17 years later, I still miss him terribly.

Becky

March 19th, 2009
9:09 am

I lost my Mother 19 years ago, one month before I had planned my wedding..I still think about her every day..Now that my nephew has his twins (that I keep every weekend) I look at the boy & think my Mother would of loved seeing him as he is the spitting image of my nephew..There are so many things that I wish she were still her to see & do with us..

On the other hand, I’m thankful that she is no longer hurting…She had ovarian cancer & lung cancer, so at least I know she’s not suffering..I’m glad that the little ones in my family aren’t having to watch her be in pain..

These boys will be just fine..They are at an age where they will bounce back just by being boys…With a lot of support from family, they’ll grow into great young men..

Joyce

March 19th, 2009
12:08 pm

These boys will have a hard time coming to terms with their mother’s sudden death. I hope that their father and everyone else around them has the sense to keep them out of the public eye.

RJ

March 19th, 2009
12:40 pm

Becky I strongly disagree. They won’t just “bounce back” because they’re boys. They will need lots of help and possibly therapy to come to terms with this. My grandmother died when I was 15, and although I didn’t live with her, we were very close. I still miss her to this day and sometimes cry when I see someone that reminds me of her. It was really hard on me then. I can’t imagine losing my mother.

Melanie

March 19th, 2009
1:12 pm

Becky, I fear you are sorely mistaken about Ms. Richardson’s boys “bouncing back” because they are, well, BOYS. This was their MOTHER. Though we don’t have any insight into their relationship, I would imagine that, even if they were not close, the sudden way she was ripped from these young men’s lives is so tragic and something they will need serious help from which to recover. I do hope they get the love and support they need.
Like you, Theresa, my first thought when I heard of Ms. Richardson’s death was about those boys and how losing their mother so suddenly and “randomly” must rock their world. Then I thought about how young she was, and how beautiful and talented. These tragedies happen every day and give us all pause.

New Step Mom

March 19th, 2009
1:23 pm

Melanie, your thoughts are very well stated. This is very sad and I, like many, keep thinking about Mrs. Richardson’s husband and son. Mr. Neeson played a grieving widower and father in Love Actually. He played the role superbly. It breaks my heart that he is now experiencing the same emotions “for real.”

I have alos drawn parallels to Princess Di’s death this week. It is just so hard for me to see young those that are so young and beautiful ripped away.

Thank you Theresa for posting this today.

JJ

March 19th, 2009
1:23 pm

RJ I disagree with you. They don’t NEED therapy to get through this. They need the strength and support of their friends and family, and their inner strength. People loose parents every day, but you don’t need a therapist to get through it.

No, you don’t bounce back from the death of a parent. But you don’t need therapy.

And I’m sure Becky didn’t mean it literally. It’s probably just a term she used. They will eventually find their way in this world.

Becky

March 19th, 2009
1:50 pm

Thanks JJ..I didn’t mean it the way that everyone took it..That is why my last line says, with a lot of support from family..No, a person never really gets over a Mothers death, but you do learn to go on with your life..

Kids are tough & these 2 boys will be fine..They seem to have a very supportive family that will be there for them..They will be (most likely) traveling & kept busy so that they have something to think about other than their Mom’s tragic death..

Nurse&mother

March 19th, 2009
1:52 pm

I too thought of the boys when I heard about this tragedy. I lost my father when I just turned 12. It was devastating! No one knows what you go through unless they went through it. It’s NOT the same when you are older. I still have issues with death and fear that all my loved ones will pass before me and I will be left all alone. In my adult life, I have done a good job of supressing the thoughts. But I still have moments that I think of my husband as we get old and fear that he will pass first leaving me alone.

I miss my dad more than anyone will ever know. I was too young to realize that life can slip away in front of your eyes. I never really told my dad how much I loved him. How can a child truly know how important it is to tell your loved ones how much you love them because you might not see them tomorrow. I grew up with a lot of guilt issues. I felt guilty thinking that I didn’t always show him just how much I really loved him. Thankfully I realize NOW that my dad knew how much I loved him. Just as I realize that my children love me too (even though the 11yo doesn’t always show it).

Those are very hard life lessons that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, much less children!

RJ

March 19th, 2009
2:37 pm

JJ I guess that we’ll diagree on this one. The teen years are very difficult and yes, therapy is extremely helpful to those kids. My response did say “possibly” therapy. I guess as an educator that has seen kids go through this, I know it’s quite difficult. I’ve had kids that just didn’t want to go on any more. Even had some threaten suicide.

Just my opinion of what I’ve witnessed.

RJ

March 19th, 2009
2:39 pm

One more thing…I had a friend put a gun to his head at the age of 17 because he couldn’t handle life without his dad. His dad was a well known college professor in Atlanta. Left his mother all alone. Maybe therapy would’ve helped, maybe not. We’ll never know.

Becky

March 19th, 2009
2:48 pm

I guess it just depends on each person..My uncle shot his self when I was 11, his kids survived..I think people are to quick now days to run to Drs. for help..Yes, sometimes help is needed, but not always…This is why our world is full of a bunch of whimps..

Nurse&mother

March 19th, 2009
3:01 pm

Becky, I take offense to your implication. Well yeah, I guess I survived my father’s death, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have benefited from therapy. SHAME on you for implying that those who seek therapy are wimps!

JJ

March 19th, 2009
3:09 pm

Ok RJ, that’s fine, we can agree to disagree….LOL. We all have our own points of view. I guess that’s why I like this blog. You really get a lot of good views and points.

You never know the inner strength you have, until you need it. I have been through an extremely difficult divorce and am raising a child by myself, the loss of both sets of grandparents, and the loss of my father, without any therapy. I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. I never thought I would be this strong, and be able to handle what I do. But those tragic events lead me to become the stronger person I am now.

Denise

March 19th, 2009
3:20 pm

Therapy is not just for the weak. It takes a lot of strength to admit you need help to get thru circumstances. Yes, any event can be processed and accepted without therapy but for some therapy is a life-saver for when your friends and family feel like they’ve helped you “enough”.

Jesse's Girl

March 19th, 2009
3:40 pm

Generally speaking…..I have found that boys take the death of a parent slightly harder than girls do. Girls are nurturers…they will comfort eachother. Be it with friends or other family members. But boys typically close up….even the ones who have excellent father/son…mother/son relationships. Girls talk it through to make the pain go away…to share it. Boys usualy keep it in so they don’t have to bother anyone else with it or think about it too much. I have seen this a few times, unfortunately…both in my own family and the families of friends. Boys need to be reassured that its going to be ok. They talk a big game…but most times, they need a tighter squeeze.

Becky

March 19th, 2009
4:20 pm

Nurse&Mother, need to reread my post..I didn’t say that people that seek therapy are weak..I just said that it’s not always needed..

Nurse&mother

March 19th, 2009
4:29 pm

Did I misread your post??? Let me quote you so as to not misconstrue… “This is why our world is full of a bunch of wimps”. Before that you state, “I think people are too quick now days to run to the dr’s for help”. Sounds like a conclusion to me.

Nurse&mother

March 19th, 2009
4:29 pm

Sorry, that last post was intended for BECKY.

Nurse&mother

March 19th, 2009
4:45 pm

I will assume by the silence that my contact prescription is still accurate.

FCM

March 19th, 2009
5:27 pm

Prince William recently said that for he and other children ‘Mummy’ is merely a hollow word without meaning.

I too feel for the children, husband, and mother of this woman. It will be no picnic for Mr. Neesom to raise those boys on his own–regardless of the family/friends/hired help.

JJ wouldn’t u agree that no matter how hard you try you cannot make up for a parent who just isn’t there?

deidre_NC

March 19th, 2009
9:27 pm

my mother died in a tragic way when i was 21…my brothers were 15 and 11ish—my sisters were 18 and 22..my isters and i have our issues over the whole horrible thing..but my brothers were never ok..still arent and its been a lot of years. if they had had some counseling i think they would have had a much better life. therapy just really wasnt done in my family and it is truly a shame. 2 lives pretty much wasted when it didnt have to be that way. becky i pray that you never go thru any tragic life event that makes you so ‘weak’ you need to see a therapist. you need to realize there are some things some people are just not emotionally equipped to deal with, and thank god we have people who can help if we seek it. i agree with jg-it seems that boys do take their moms death in a much harder way than girls.

deidre_NC

March 19th, 2009
9:30 pm

wow i was so upset at becky post i forgot the topic-my prayers and thoughts are with these kids-i too rememeber feeling so sorry for princess di’s boys…it hits close to home i guess. i always have a soft spot for kids who lose their parent/s suddenly like that.

Jack

March 19th, 2009
9:48 pm

I just pray this father understands the awesome responsibility this unfortunate horrible accident has left him. I hope he understands that now his sons need to be more important than a professional career that will take alot of time away from them. He now needs to understand that being a strong, loving, nuturing full time father is his new role in life. Their mother has been taken, now he needs to put all of his emphasis and life on his sons. Please don’t allow his money to buy nannys and to buy others to raise them. Please let him understand what a “father” is and needs to be.

HB

March 19th, 2009
11:53 pm

Wow. I can’t believe some of the attitudes I’m seeing about therapy here. Does everyone who goes through something traumatic need it? Maybe not, but if you have the means and access to a reputable therapist, I would certainly recommend talking to one about what is best for the children. A good therapist will help patients figure out how much counseling is needed, just as a good doctor helps determine what if any treatment is necessary. Some people may go once or twice, have a therapist recommend some coping techniques and problems to watch for, and then not need to go back regularly. Others may need more time with a counselor because a) individuals deal with things differently — some do best working through it with someone, others work through a lot alone (these do not equal stronger and weaker, just different) and b) different people have different support systems. Some have loving friends and family who just aren’t good at helping with these sorts of things (perhaps their own background is to be stoic and tough, but the child needs to talk and share emotions). In other cases, people who normally would be great at helping the children cope, may not be because they are grieving too and working through their own issues. Just loving the kids is not necessarily enough to help kids through traumatic events. Most people will get over the flu without intervention, but when a child comes down with it, I bet most of you take them to the doctor and give them medicine to ease their symptoms and shorten its duration if possible.

As for inner strength, JJ, just because kids have it, doesn’t mean they don’t need someone to help them figure out how to draw on it. I, too, have had my fair share of hardships, and as a child, I think it would have helped to have an adult completely removed from the situations (divorced parents, mom’s remarriage, emotionally abusive stepfather, mentally ill father) to talk to. I turned out just fine and do feel those things made me a stronger person, but I think having a trusted counselor during my teen years would have made it all a bit easier to bear, and I really don’t think I would have become a whimp for it, Becky.

Becky

March 20th, 2009
9:20 am

Sorry if I upset so many people..I just said that that is MY opinion..I lost my Mom, Aunt & Dad all within 3 years..Then 2 years ago within a 6 month time period, I lost 2 brother-in-laws, a sister-in-law, and 2 nephews. I still feel like you have to carry on with life for the family that you have still living..Guess, it like some on here say, your opinion is ok as long as it’s the same as mine…

JJ

March 20th, 2009
9:43 am

Damn Becky. I am so sorry for your losses. That’s just too much for a short time period.

I lost my Aunt, my cousin & my uncle in a three month period. My Aunt died of Kidney failure, my cousin a drug overdose, and my uncle was suicide. Everytime the phone rang it was bad news…….my parents were living in Utah (so were the relatives) and my brother and I were here. It got so I didn’t want to answer the phone, as I knew it was my mother with more bad news.

Nurse&mother

March 20th, 2009
9:57 am

BECKY, you are certainly welcome to your opinion. The “bunch of wimps” part of your post is what angered me. If you had kept that part out, I might have disagreed, but I certainly would not have been so angered. That was very inappropriate and insensitive especially when you are referring to children who have lost a parent at a young age.

Please keep in mind that preteens are still children and think like children not adults. They are not so mature congnitively as an adult. They are still perfecting their critical thinking skills. (This is usually evident in the poor choices that they sometimes make).

Nurse&mother

March 20th, 2009
10:01 am

One more thing. I think Becky showed her ignorance when referring to seeking help from a therapist. Often times one learns more about one’s self than anything a therapist can say. A good therapist may ask some questions that need to be pondered, but that is usually it. I don’t think there is anything “wimpy” about that. Now I know why there is such a stigma with seeing a therapist (ignorant people)!

Nurse&mother

March 20th, 2009
10:58 am

Denise, you are right. It definitely takes strength to admit you need to see a therapist, especially when many believe like Becky, that you must be a “wimp” to see one!

Sorry to rehash. I obviously need to be doing some housework today before I go into work.

motherjanegoose

March 20th, 2009
11:40 am

O.K….I am going to jump into this pond.

I lost my mother to when I was 35. Many of you know that our relationship was not good. I was stressed with my father, as he would call me and say,
” my dishwasher is spouting bubbles all over the kitchen floor…what do I do”
He had put liquid dishwashing detergent in it. He was in Florida and it is not like I could run over and help him. My mother handled everything in the house as she was OCD and no one could do it like her. Dad had no idea what to do inside the house.
I decided to go to a therapist and it was VERY EYE OPENING. There are things about yourself that you have buried inside and you do not know how it affects you every day.
Everyone should have the chance to go to a therapist. You learn a lot about yourself. If I had the money and time, I would go once a month…just like going to a chiropractor to maintain health.
These are professional folks who see and hear it all…they are not involved in your life and thus can look at you without bias ( usually). I love to talk to psychologists ( when I travel) as they are very interesting.

Becky ….you have every right to your opinion. No one is arguing that. I have opinions of my own that many other bloggers think are crazy but due to my own experience …I believe in them.

Many folks think chiropractors are looney. I never went to one for years but was in pain about 18 months ago and now I go every 4-6 weeks. Some may say I am crazy but I am not in pain.
If you are in emotional pain, a therapist can help you but only if you have an open mind.

This is NOT related but yesterday I was reading ( on YAHOO) how in the early 1900’s folks washed their hair ONCE per month. If those folks saw how many hair products we have and how often we use them, they would roll their eyes and say it is ridiculous. This is the same as those who roll their eyes and say therapy is ridiculous…we know more now about mental health than we used to but some are still stuck in the ” I wash my hair once per month and that is good enough…” era…do I make any sense TODAY LOL???

Sarah

March 20th, 2009
2:31 pm

Becky, I reread your posts and saw the part that was between the two statements that Nurse&mother referred to: Yes, sometimes help is needed, but not always… We all have to deal with death and loss in our own way. I am glad that you are strong enough to recover without professional help. I wish I had been.

pj

March 20th, 2009
4:21 pm

if momania were named ParentMania, it might not be such a cutesy title, but men/fathers might read the articles and post their opinions, which would be a lot more informative on this topic. It would also be more “with the times.” Dads are parents too.

Tom

March 26th, 2009
4:23 pm

It is wonderful for Becky and others like her that she did not need intervention of a therapist. But not everyone is like that. We all come from differing parenting styles, home situations, even something as innoucuous seeming as nutrition can play a part in the vast differences we see in how people cope with stress, loss, etc.

I have not lost a parent, yet, and am so grateful for that, it must be an unimaginable trial to get through and go on, but grieving is very hard work. We did loose a set of stillborn identical twins. We chose to take everyone to see a grieving counselor. Even with that, each of us had our own way of dealing with it and still with the help had to find our own way to healing.

While the world and our society has come a long way in how we view those that seek mental health care, it is obvious we still have quite a ways to go. It is no wonder that we have those that are ill, refusing to seek help for fear of the stigma attached, and wondering what others will think (say and blog).

It is always good to share opinions but please be cautious especially where other people’s mental health comes into play, that you don’t become the self-righteous, holier than thou blogger.

nik

March 29th, 2009
12:05 pm

What I think Becky was trying to say is, instead of running to a Dr at the first sign of trauma why not seek the love of your family first? I totally understand what she was trying to say. Besides it is her opinion as to what SHE would do and has done when she lost a family member. In no way is she advocating giving up on life in place of seeing a Dr. So many people do abuse the mental health. So before everybody condemns Becky, try to understand what she was saying.

Liz

April 6th, 2009
6:26 pm

Let me start by saying Parent Trap is one of my all-time favorite movies and watched it probably twice every day for over a month with my then very young daughter.

I personally think the key to therapy is recognizing when a therapist should be consulted to see if it’s needed. Depending on what your company has signed up for, most EAPs (Employee Assistance Programs) refer to a counselor the employees that call for three free sessions. Then, at that point, the counselor either recommends further therapy or doesn’t, based on if they feel the three sessions gave the client enough coping skills.

Sometimes we truly think we’re ok but we’re really not and its not until talking it through with someone do we find that our insomnia, eating disorders, depression, anger issues, addictions, etc. are because of something we buried our feelings about. Don’t forget, kids think they have to bear the weight of the world on their little shoulders. Very often children will bottle up their grief because they don’t want to upset the surviving parent/family members. Kids don’t understand that sometimes as grownups we cry when we’re comforting them as they cry because we’re hurting WITH them; not because we’re mad at them or because we now all of a sudden are sad just because they’re crying. We’ve been sad along and wanted to cry all along, but have held it in so as not to upset them! Sharing grief and anger and tears is healthy and good, but we’re so worried about protecting the others clost to us that we end up hurtings ourselves more than helping.

Hopefully Mr. Neesom will receive some good advice and will bring his sons to a therapist a few months from now just to make sure their heads are in the right place and they’re dealing with things ok.

Rachel

May 4th, 2009
1:12 pm

Whilst I do not have children, I am a young widow, so I would say don’t be so quick to dismiss Liam Neeson’s grief.

Of friends who have lost a parent at a young age, I would say they are best aided by a parent who openly deals with their grief. The children and peers I’ve witnessed whose surviving parent has put a lid on it are the ones who have faired the worst in terms of emotional well-being, as a child and later as an adult.

12 and 13 is far too young to learn one of life’s hardest lessons, that we will lose the people we love.