When sitting down to write about this very important topic, I hesitated. Where do I start? What should I focus on? There’s so many feelings that come with grief. And that’s when I knew, it’s important to acknowledge them all….starting with our own emotions and reactions.
To help children, we must first be honest with ourselves and how we feel. Without first exploring this, we can’t truly see any walls we may put up when it comes to helping children. We need to be honest with ourselves and take a look at the wave of emotions, thoughts, and realizations that we go through when someone we know dies. Seeing ourselves more clearly will allow us to enter into conversations with children who do not possess the coping mechanisms or ability to decipher their emotions.
Because when children lose someone they love, they need our support, our love, and our help. They need us to be honest with our word choices about death, but compassionate and gentle with our approach. No adult wants to have children experience grief, but it happens. Their tears and heart ache will trade places with anger, fear, loneliness, and perhaps even self blame at any moment.
It’s important to note that even though they are stages to grief, they do not go in any specific order. Once again, grief has no order. Grief hits unexpectedly, and the “stages” come and go, interchange, and jumble with however someone is feeling at that moment.
Every child is different with how they experience grief. The best thing we can do is to be present, support them, and love them.