Feb 18, 2012

Bereaved Father

Category: Family Issues
Posted By: Larry

In September 2011 my wife died  of a pulmonary embolism. She was 34 and left me with our son who is now a year old. Being a single dad and dealing with the grief of losing my wife, I need as much help as I can get. Her mom and my parents have been there repeatedly for us although they live 50 minutes away. My dad is retired and I am constantly having to call on him to come get my son due to sickness or the daycare is closed because I have to work.  I miss my wife very much and it tears me up that my son will not know his mother growing up...

My parents live in the country on 40 acres and have told me repeatedly that I can move back there and build a house on their place so they could help with him all the time.  I would love to move back home and be around my family but I currently live in an area with one of the best school systems in the state. My parents live in an area with a decent school system but smaller and without the same opportunities.

My question is this, do I stay in the area I live so he can go to a better school but family is almost an hour away? Or do I move back home where he can be around family but go to a smaller school?  Please help, I don't know what to do.



Dear Larry,

I am so very sorry for your loss.  I cannot imagine your grief, not only for yourself but on behalf of your son, you have my heartfelt empathy for such a difficult situation.  However, you have also described that you are very fortunate to have a loving and supportive family who are willing to help you build a family network in which to bring up your son and that is a huge blessing for both you and he.

This decision is a difficult one, and possibly your indecision is not helped by this being just one of many parenting decisions that you now feel you have to face on your own.  In general I try not to give directive advice, I feel that it is important for parents to be given information and to make their own decisions, however, I understand that this is a time of huge difficulty for you and you may be looking for more than just information.

What I can say is this, in my opinion the most important foundation for a child is to have a solid family network around him.  The situation you describe at the moment sounds adequate, and you have your father there which is great, but your son doesn’t have any female, maternal figures around.  I can imagine that your mother and mother-in-law would both be happy to fill this role.  The idea of having a house on the same land as your family does sound like it would make for a safe and containing environment for your son and provide him with the family network that he will need over the coming years.

Education is important but in terms of overall wellbeing the most important thing for a child is security and attachment figures who are constantly available to him.  You have said that the education system near your parents is adequate and it may well be that having the support of his family will help him make the most of this provision therefore giving him the best of both worlds.

I really wish you well with your decision, I am sure there are many other factors which I am not aware of.  I have given my position on the issue but I also think that it is important that you come to a decision which you can trust and stand behind and find a way to believe in your capacity to parent your son on your own.

My very best wishes,




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