“I have so much guilt because I wish I would have known what I know now because I would’ve handled things differently.”
Taraji P. Henson is opening up about a painful time in her life when she had to share tragic news with her son.
During Taraji’s most recent episode of Peace of Mind with Taraji, the actress, and her cohost Tracie Jade Jenkins focused on grief and loss after an unexpected death. After already speaking with rapper Asian Doll on the murder of her ex-boyfriend King Von and Obasi Jackson on the murder of his brother Pop Smoke, Taraji detailed her own personal experience dealing with death.
Taraji chatted with therapist Sierra Hillsman on the difficulties she experienced telling her son Marcell, who is now 26, that his father was murdered. According to Taraji when her son’s father was killed she “didn’t have the balls” to tell Marcell what happened so she lied and told the then 9-year-old that his dad died in an “accident.”
In reality, the man was stabbed to death and she feared telling her son that because she wanted to show him the “happy side of life.”
Taraji: “My son’s father was suddenly taken, murdered, when he was nine and I didn’t know how to tell him that. I couldn’t tell him he was murdered. So, I told him he died in an accident. Later on in life he found out and he came back to me and was like, ‘Why didn’t you tell me my daddy was murdered?’ And so, then we had to get therapy. So, if you have to break the news to a child, what advice would you tell them?”
Therapist Sierra Hillsman: “I would definitely say use age-appropriate language explaining sometimes there are situations where people do evil things to other people. In this situation, somebody killed your father.”
Taraji: “I didn’t have the balls. I didn’t. It wouldn’t come out. I hid it. ‘Cause I read the actual… it was in the paper. And I didn’t know how to tell him. He was stabbed to death; it was the worst way you could die. And I just didn’t have the words. I didn’t know how to tell a nine-year-old… that there was so much hate in the world that someone would do that. I tried to show him the happy side of life. I grew up in the hood and I wanted to keep that from him. I just didn’t have the words, and we suffered later for it.”
Taraji also shared that not telling her son the truth took a toll on her and left her feeling guilty.
Taraji: “I have so much guilt because I wish I would have known what I know now because I would’ve handled things differently. Maybe we wouldn’t have struggled so much. That’s why I go so hard for mental health because we don’t know and we think when our kids are acting out, we go ‘Oh they’re just being a teenager’ but most times there’s really something wrong, but because we don’t know we don’t talk about it. I don’t want us to not know, to not save our children. That is the guilt I have as a parent. We all have those things as a parent where I could’ve done this better and that haunts me.”
Therapist Sierra Hillsman: “It’s important for you to not blame yourself for something that you did not have at that time.”
Taraji: “I know that now. I know that. I’m not as hard on myself but I still carry that. I’m good some days and then some days if my son is struggling with something I go, ‘It’s your fault.’ If you didn’t …that’s just the guilt a parent carries. It’s not that I consider myself a bad parent, you know… I’m a Virgo too. That’s still a struggle for me and that’s something I’m constantly talking to my therapist about… Children don’t come with manuals, humans don’t and relationships dont. So, you just learn as you go and you try to do the best you can. But every parent feels like that.”
Can you blame Taraji for wanting to protect her son? Especially considering that something so tragic happened.
Taraji’s calling this episode’s discussion “one of the hardest conversations” she’s had to have as a mother.
See more of Taraji’s convo on Peace Of Mind With Taraji below.
Peace of Mind with Taraji episodes drop every Monday and Wednesday at 9 am PT/ 12pmET.
Episodes can be found on facebook.com/Watch and Taraji P. Henson’s Facebook page: Facebook.com/tarajiphenson.