so sorry you are here, but glad you found us. My husband passed away suddenly from a heart attack on December 3rd. Leaving us with a 12, 10 (girls) and a soon to be 5 year old. My eldest daughter was 100% daddy's girl and is very quiet about her grief, but what helped her was having her go with her soccer coach 30 minutes before practice so that they could just check in two times a week. Also the school counselor was amazing, teachers too! I signed my kiddos up for Comfort Zone Grief Camp which they are able to attend one time a year for free. Camps are held throughout the country. They also have a website which is so helpful for kids, and has great suggestions for them. My girls did their first camp last month, they just barely made the cut off as you have to be 4 months post death to attend. This camp was truly a game changer for them, it truly showed them that they aren't alone in this new journey. The other thing that helped was youth group at our church. The pastors have taken my eldest under their wing. My 10 year old has daily conversations with me about all the scenarios of my new husband and the kids he does or doesn't have! " I keep thinking your dad isn't even cold yet, and you are marrying me off", so maybe this is an age thing? Keep them talking, I pray some other fabulous male figures come into their lives, maybe through boy scouts or some sort of big brother program. I have some great big uncles who are just giant kids who have been a continuous blessing to us and the kids. Take each step one at a time, minute by minute. At 5 months out i can take some days as a whole day but still flounder, especially throwing my sons birthday party this weekend. MOMENT BY MOMENT. Using the people around me to help me THROUGH the valley. We shall all make it THROUGH! I will be keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.
I have a son who was 12 when his father passed away last fall. Like your situation, my husband was extremely close to our kids. He was a firefighter and only worked 8 days a month, so he was almost always with the kids. He did everything for them (and me!), so it has left a huge hole in our lives - both physically and emotionally. My 12 year old (now 13), like yours, doesn't show his emotions (he's very much like his father that way). He can talk about his dad and the fun things he did, but he absolutely does NOT want to talk about his death or how he's feeling about it. I've had some dark moments with him, and tried anti-depressants at some point (HUGE mistake for him). He was failing multiple classes, wouldn't get out of bed in the morning, and is angry and aggressive towards me.
Peer counseling was a disaster - he was throwing up from stress by the end of an hour. I now have him off of medication but seeing a counselor every week. He mainly sits there and says nothing. (Ever seen Good Will Hunting?) So it's tough. But I've found that time with friends helps, and a lot of work with the school, his advisor, and his teachers has gotten him mainly back on track at school. But it's been a long 8 months.
It is so hard to manage your grief and theirs at the same time. I keep feeling like my grieving is delayed because I'm so busy dealing with my kids' and their life. It's really hard. Do what you can for them, try to find what perks them up - even a little - and know that it gets better. You may not want to hear this, but just starting counseling isn't going to immediately turn them around. With time comes acceptance, but it's so new for them that they probably can't even comprehend what it really means. And friends don't know how to relate to them, either, which is probably hard. (I mean think about it - I have ADULT friends who don't know how to deal with me either.)
Please feel free to reach out anytime. I also started a blog to tell some of my stories (self-therapy), in case reading what others are experiencing brings you comfort in knowing you are not alone. http://widoweverafter.blogspot.com/