March 01, 2010,
M.H. asks from Mason, OH on June 05, 2008
What to Say After an Accident??
I need some advice on how to make my daughter know everything is going to be ok. Last Saturday my mom and dad were in a very bad motorcycle accident.My dad is pulling through and making a very speedy recovery. My mom on the other hand had a head trauma and has some bleeding in the brain and the doctors say it just a waiting game from here. She has not fully woke up since the accident, but has kinda been awake here and there. She trys to talk but sometimes we dont always understand what she is saying. My thing now is, my 5 year old daughter was with my mom and dad everyday while I worked they are her best friends. I try to tell her that they are going to be all right and that my mom says she loves her and will see her soon. But she is scared, understandably so.She dont understand everything that is going on.Her whole life at this point has changed and will never be back to normal for her. We were in the middle of moving when we got the call, so now she is trying to adjust to a new home as well. I have to put her into a daycare and we are not sure how long of a recovery it will take for either of them at this point. They both are going to learn how to walk agian. I guess my question is how do I make things better for her. I try to stay upbeat and keep her busy thinking about other things. I bought a poster board and am having her make a Get Well Soon card for everyone to sign, thinking that she will feel better if she has something for grandma when she gets to see her. I am at a loss of words with her at this point, I am struggling with this myself but trying not to show it to her.
So What Happened?™
First I would just like to say Thank you to all of you who responded to my request. There was so many great responses, and I appreciate every one of them. A little bit of an update, my mom was moved out of ICU and into a regular room and I did take my daughter to see her and my dad as well. She was a little scared at first and still is, but she warmed up pretty quickly because of the closeness that she shares with my mother. She automatically started asking if she was ok and if she wanted some more ice and was trying to take care of my mom. It really helped my mom's condition as well to see my daughter. So I sat my daughter down and told her that grandma and papal are going to need a lot of help in the next couple months in getting better. I explained the accident to her and that everything looks like its going to be ok, but I couldnt promise her anything becuase God is the only one who knows what will happen in the future. She seems to be more comfortable with the situation, but is still very sad that she can not see them everyday as she would like. She is the sweetest little girl ever and she just wants to take care of everyone else.
R.D. answers from Indianapolis on June 06, 2008
I agree you know your daughter best, but don't underestimate her. She may find it very helpful to see both of your parents while they are in the hospital. So many times we want to protect our children, but then all we leave them is their imaginations. They can imagine things as much worse than they really are You could take pictures of your parents to show her, and then ask if she wants to see them in person. She is already grieving a loss if she was used to seeing the every day, and now can't. Also, if prayer is an option for your family, it might help her to be able to pray for her grandparents, give her something she can do for them. Keeping her busy is a good idea, but not so busy that she gets the impression it's not ok to speak about her feelings, and that feeling sad or angry is bad. It is also ok to let her see your feelings of sadness, if you are always upbeat she will think there is something wrong with her feelings.
I understand this is a terrible time for your family, but she can get through it. My son was 4 when his father died. He had cancer, and died in our home. My son was there for every step of the way from death to funeral. He is now almost 6 and it does not appear to have scarred him to be so involved. Actually, Hospice was the one that made sure my son knew what was happening as my son was dying. We go to a kids support group called Brooke's Place, here in Indianapolis. One of the great things they have is a Volcano Room. There are phone books kids can tear up, and swim noodles they can hit the wall with. The kids love it! Gets their anger out in an acceptable way.
Good luck to your family.
1 mom found this helpful
S.B. answers from Indianapolis on June 06, 2008
I don't have any words of wisdom for you on this one. I just want to let you know that your whole family is in my prayers. Take care and please reach out to friends and family for the support that you need.
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T.C. answers from Cincinnati on March 01, 2010
I think you got a lot of good answers here. The best thing is to tell the kids the truth . Then follow up with getting them to express their feelings.
P.R. answers from Indianapolis on June 07, 2008
You have said everything you can say to your daughter. I know it is hard. 5 year olds run with the Little Pitchers Have Big Ears saying. You may think she is in another room, listening to the television, etc., but every time you and someone else have a conversation about the accident, the condition of your parents, etc., she hears all of it.
Don't talk about it around her unless she brings it up. Help her finish the card and take it to her grandparents. Tell her they love her since most places will not allow children her age to visit the hospitals. If your father is up to talking to her let her talk to him on the phone.
I guess the best advise I can give you is not to lie to her about anything. If everything (the creator willing) works out fine then you have told her the truth, if everything does not work out fine then you told her lie and one she will remember for all of her life. It is better to tell her you don't know if everything will be fine then to tell her it will and then it isn't.
P.B. answers from Canton on June 06, 2008
Not quite sure how to help on this one. The thing is that children, even that young, can sense trouble. My situation was a little different when my daughter was that age. I tried to stay possitive when I was with her, kept her busy with all sorts of projects, got her involved as much as possible. My situation was that my husband walked out before she was 2 and my uncle whom I was very close to and saw all the time was in the hospital, heart, like your Mom is and he died a couple days after her 3rd birthday. It's rough on everyone. I will say a prayer for your family and do hope that your Mom gets better soon.
A.G. answers from Fort Wayne on June 06, 2008
I can say I truly know what you are going thru. My parents were in a bad motorcycle accident last august. they were hit by a semi both survived (thank the lord!!!) dad was in hospital for a very long time then rehab center which he just got out of two weeks ago and my mom lost her leg below the knee so had to deal with all of that and I have a 4 year old you is papa's side kick. we live with my parents so not having them here was very hard on him. I not sure what exactly to say but be honest and explain as much as she understands. try to keep her life as normal as poosible I reelize that is hard with everything but at least make a new norm have a pretty steady routine and if your dad is able let her talk to him on the phone and he can say me and grammy are ok grammy just has to stay inthe hospital so the drs can take very good care of her type thing. best of luck and prayers go out to you it is a very hard thing to deal with your parents being so bad and taking care of your children.
K.S. answers from Columbus on June 06, 2008
Firstly, my prayers are with your mom and dad, and I hope they are both fully recovered soon. We had to deal with similar issues when my father had a severe stroke 2 yrs ago. The best thing to do is to be honest, but don't go in to great detail about what is happening. Keep things very simple, saying that grandma's head was bumped really hard, and that it can take a long time for it to get better, and that it might affect other parts of her body (legs, talking, etc.). The Get Well card is a great idea - it will help her feel like she is doing something to help. She can draw special pictures every week if she likes. Keep a routine going as much as you can, and reassure her that things will be ok. Lots of extra hugs help too! Good luck to you and your family.
M.M. answers from Columbus on June 07, 2008
I'm not sure there is anything else you can say other then keep letting her know everything will be ok. There may be some good books or movies out there to help w/ the situation too though. As silly as it sounds... my 5 yr old has found it easier to deal w/ death after watching "All Dogs go to Heaven" a thousand times! LOL. He knows that they go to heaven and is ok w/ that. Maybe there is something like that that deals w/ recovering from accients or health issues... or even just big changes. Hopefully being in a daycare will help keep her mind off of things since she will be around other kids. I wish you all the best w/ your family. Your parents will be in my thoughts & prayers. Good luck!