HELPING A CHILD TO GRIEVE AFTER A LOSS OR DEATH

NEVER rush a child while they’re grieving, let them grieve and do what they can to release these emotions that they’re feeling. Just be patient and ready when they need to talk.

Remember, in my last post that I mentioned about that children don’t grieve after a loss or death? Well, that’s not a hundred percent, true. It’s quite the opposite.

Children and teenagers express their grief in a variety of ways. Some may be sad and verbalize the loss like many adults. Depending on their ages, however, they may show sadness only sometimes and for short periods. Children may complain of physical discomfort, such as stomachaches or headaches. Or they may express anxiety or distress about other challenges, such as school or sports.

Loss is more intense when the child had a close relationship with the person who died, such as a parent or sibling. However, this is not always obvious from a child’s reactions. A child’s grief may seem to come and go. And a child may rarely verbally express his or her grief. This is normal. Your child may also re-experience the intensity of the loss as he or she grows up. This may occur more often during certain milestones in life, such as starting school or going on a first date. Even into adulthood, important events such as graduating from college or getting married may trigger renewed grief.

Age has a large influence on childhood grief and how children understand and react to the death of a family member, friend, pet, or close adult.  It is good to know where a child is likely to fall developmentally.  This will help you to better understand how they view the loss and will help you to make age appropriate choices about language and interventions.

Of course age won’t help you to predict exactly how a child will react, other factors will have an impact as well.  Maturity, past experiences, education level, socio-economic status, what part of the world you live in, and access to support resources are merely a few of the many factors that influence us all.

Understanding how children and teens view death

It is helpful to know how children understand death at different stages of development. It varies by age and often changes as a child develops emotionally and socially. Other factors also influence children’s reactions. These can include personality, previous experiences with death, and support from family members. Keep in mind that children do not move abruptly from one stage of development to the next. And features from each stage may overlap.

It is advised that with children of any age or background you should do the following:

  1. Acknowledge their presence, their importance, their opinions, thoughts, and feelings.
  2. Be patient and open minded.  Allow them to grieve in their own way.
  3. Be available – Sit with the child, listen to them, and answer their questions.
  4. Reassure them the circumstances that led to the death were extreme and it is unlikely other adults in their lives will die any time soon (unless this is untrue).
  5. Let them know that a range of different emotions are normal.
  6. Validate their feelings and do not minimize them.
  7. Check in with other adults involved in their life – teachers, school counselors, coaches.Explain death using real words such as “died” rather than confusing phrases such as “gone to sleep.” You can say that death means the person’s body has stopped working or that the person can no longer breathe, talk, move, eat, or any of the things he or she could do when alive.
  8. Share your family’s religious or spiritual beliefs about death.
  9. Encourage your child to ask questions, and try to answer them honestly and directly. If you do not know the answer to a question, help find the answer.
  10. Use books, drawings, or role-play games to help a younger child understand death.
  11. Make sure your child understands that he or she is not to blame for the death and that the person who died is not coming back.
  12. Provide lots of affection and reassure your child often that he or she will continue to be loved and cared for.
  13. Encourage your child to talk about his or her emotions. Suggest other ways to express feelings, such as writing in a journal or drawing a picture.
  14. Without overwhelming your child, share your grief with him or her. Expressing your emotions can encourage your son or daughter to share his or her own emotions.
  15. Help your child understand that normal grief involves a range of emotions, including anger, guilt, and frustration. Explain that his or her emotions and reactions may be very different from those of adults.
  16. Reassure your child that it is normal for the pain of grief to come and go over time. Explain that they cannot always predict when they will feel sad.
  17. If your child is older, encourage him or her to talk with an adult outside the family, such as a teacher or a clergy member. You can also consider an age-specific support group.
  18. Keep routines and caregivers as consistent as possible, and continue setting limits on behavior. Care, consistency, and continuity help children feel safe.
  19. Encourage spending time with friends and engaging in other age-appropriate activities.Reassure your child that it is never disloyal to the person who died to feel happy and to have fun.

Addressing daily routine and role changes

The death of a parent or other close family member can directly affect a child’s day-to-day life. Family routines and roles change, such as a surviving parent having to return to work and spend less time at home. These changes are an added disruption and may add to a child’s distress. Even young children will benefit from extra preparation, conversations, and support around these transitions.

Although the death of a family member with cancer is painful, it may also lessen some of a child’s stress. For example, the death of a sibling might mean that a parent is not dividing time between a sick child at the hospital and another child at home. It is normal to have strong, mixed feelings, including some relief, when a family member’s suffering is over after a long or difficult illness. Help your child realize that these feelings are normal and that he or she should not feel guilty for having them.

Honoring and remembering the person who died

Children as young as age 3 understand the concept of saying goodbye. They should be allowed to choose how they say goodbye to a loved one.

  • Give preschool-age and older children the choice of attending memorial services. But do not force them to attend if they do not want to.
  • Some children may want to attend a memorial service but not a viewing or burial.
  • Allow older children and teenagers to help plan memorials if they want.
  • Talk with children about what will happen at a service ahead of time. Consider visiting the church or cemetery.
  • Ask a trusted adult to help take care of young children at a service or to go home with a child who decides he or she wants to leave early.
Give time and patience when the child is ready to talk to you about the loved one that you loss together. Never feel bad at bringing up some of the things that you remembered about your loss.

I have put together a list of typical grief responses by age.  Again, every child is different and we can’t quantify all the unique and individual qualities of your child in this list.  If your child reacts in a way that concerns you then it might be a good idea to talk things over with an expert like a pediatrician, school counselor, or child psychologist.

Infants (birth to 2 years)

  • Have no understanding of death.
  • Are aware of separation and will grieve the absence of a parent or caregiver.
  • May react to the absence of a parent or caregiver with increased crying, decreased responsiveness, and changes in eating or sleeping.
  • May keep looking or asking for a missing parent or caregiver and wait for him or her to return.
  • Are most affected by the sadness of surviving parent(s) and caregivers.

Preschool-age children (3 to 6 years)

  • Are curious about death and believe it is temporary or reversible.
  • May see death as something like sleeping. In other words, the person is dead but only in a limited way and may continue to breathe or eat after death.
  • Often feel guilty and believe that they are responsible for the death of a loved one, perhaps because they were “bad” or wished the person would “go away.”
  • May think that they can make the person who died come back if they are good enough.
  • May worry about who will take care of them and about being left behind.
  • Are very affected by the sadness of surviving family members.
  • Cannot put their feelings into words and instead react to loss through behaviors such as irritability, aggression, physical symptoms, difficulty sleeping, or regression (such as bed-wetting or thumb-sucking).

School-age children (6 to 12 years)

  • Understand that death is final.
  • May think of death as a person or a spirit, like a ghost, angel, or a skeleton.
  • By age 10, understand that death happens to everyone and cannot be avoided.
  • Are often interested in the specific details of death and what happens to the body after death.
  • May experience a range of emotions including guilt, anger, shame, anxiety, sadness, and worry about their own death.
  • Struggle to talk about their feelings. Their feelings may come out through behaviors such as school avoidance, poor performance in school, aggression, physical symptoms, withdrawal from friends, and regression.
  • May worry about who will take care of them, and will likely experience feelings of insecurity, clinginess, and abandonment.
  • May worry that they are to blame for the death.

Teenagers (13 to 18 years)

  • Have an adult understanding of the concept of death but do not have the experiences, coping skills, or behavior of an adult.
  • May act out in anger at family members or show impulsive or reckless behaviors, such as substance use, fighting in school, and sexual promiscuity.
  • May experience a wide range of emotions but not know how to handle them or not feel comfortable talking about them.
  • May question their faith or their understanding of the world.
  • May not be receptive to support from adult family members because of their need to be independent and separate from parents.
  • May cope by spending more time with friends or by withdrawing from the family to be alone.

To end this, help your child understand that the person who died lives on in his or her memory. Parents who are terminally ill sometimes leave letters, videos, or photographs to help children remember how much they were loved. Children can also compile pictures and other special items to create their own memory. For younger children, most of their knowledge of the person who died will come from memories of other family members. Talk about the person often, and remind children of how much the deceased person loved them. Over time, children can understand that they would not be who they are without the influence of the special person who died.

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Dear Grief, Someday I shall meet them all again!

Dear Grief,

Dear Grief is about sharing what you would like to say to grief and the different ways we deal with grief.
 This is similar how I have been writing in my journal of the Dear… series which you can find here.   
(https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD1nCoeovTZ5I0AP4Xb9f1WVnUUgwh_lG)
 As we know that grief does affect others in many different ways. Living with grief is tough and it
  changes you, but we can help each other by sharing messages so people know they’re not alone.
Dear Grief is about sharing what you would like to say to grief and the different ways we deal with grief.
This is similar how I have been writing in my journal of the Dear… series which you can find here.

(https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD1nCoeovTZ5I0AP4Xb9f1WVnUUgwh_lG)
As we know that grief does affect others in many different ways. Living with grief is tough and it
changes you, but we can help each other by sharing messages so people know they’re not alone.


Note: A Video of this will be coming out later on this week. Link to this video is: https://youtu.be/y8tprANFx0k

As I walk through these lonely long footsteps now after hearing the tragic
yet horrific news about some of the people in my life has now gone
out of my life through death. That death came knocking at their door and that death has taken them away for whatever reason it may be. I am walking in disbelief, shock and anger wondering to myself, “Why?” “What did I do to make it wrong?” And so many more of these unanswered questions. I had all sorts of crazy thoughts that were running through my mind at the time. These unanswered questions and thoughts needs to be silenced once more.
Time stood still when I heard this as it felt like almost a sharp dagger stabbed my broken heart as I ache to have the ones that I loved and cherished in my life to still be here. Yes, I have so many mixed feelings, emotions and thoughts right now. Yet, it saddens me that the place where some of us have been and seen is now just a memory and a place of comfort and peace. I come here often as this is a quiet place for me to sit down to think and to write as well as to reminisce all the memories that has been shared through it all. But, now it breaks my heart that the places that was shared, the laughter shared, the tears shared and more is now gone. I only have now some photos as well as some letters from the ones that wrote to me as well as knowing now that they’re only here with me in spirit.

Dear Grief as you know that despite the loved ones and friends that I had are now gone, writing in my journal gives me so much peace and comfort
and it helps me alot just by pouring all my hurt, thoughts onto a page or in this case on the screen.

Dear Grief,
I want to ask you how did it happen, why did it happen, why now? Why did some of my friends and family that I loved and adored
had to suffer the situations that they went through and not even bother telling me about it? Why did they had to think that they were
doing me a favor to end their life or even just death in itself take them away. I question myself, was I good enough to be standing
by them through their hard times even if I didn’t see the signs of what was really going on in their life?
Would I be able to be their superhero, or even just some listening ear or board when they needed someone the most? I feel so hurt and angry. I cry every time I hear the names of my friends and loved ones that has passed. I cry every time
when I hear their name to the ones that has left some precious and special people in their lives of their parents, children and grandchildren. I cry when I now know that they’re now gone and won’t forever see the beauty of this world of what the world is like and what their future would have been like. Some of them to have their own family, grow old and learn from their mistakes and just to grow in themselves in spirit.
All the while that the nevers that is said are breaking me to pieces and breaking my heart.
Another day starts and that life goes on from the ones that are gone and that I have realised with them gone that I have now been given more peace, hope and inner
courage and strength to continue my life. You’ve taught me that there’s one life and chance in this lifetime to make things right and if I fall down or feel that I have failed something, I just gotta keep on going and not let anything or anyone stand in my way. I feel some days that they are at a standstill because the times that has been shared is now slowing down. But, grief, I know that you’re here to stay with me for a reason. And, also grief
you’ve also become a part of me into what I am going through to what I am now becoming.
It makes me happy and at peace when I think about the ones that I have loved and lost along the way. I have been with them through the thick and thin and that
we may have fought some times and that I have been with them with some part of the journey of where they were. Despite it all, in spirit they are with
me and that they keep me going. Many of the ones that I have loved and lost along the way has inspired me to be the best me I can be and to be an inspiration
to others big or small accomplishments made as well as making some of my dreams and goals a reality. With sharing memories to the world of my loved ones and friends, it brings me so much happiness. When grief is being shared, it feels less lonely and not
feel that I am in the dark as there’s others out there that will need me for whatever reason it may be. When any of my loved ones or friends that I’ve lost of their names being shared, it just brings spark of joy, happiness and laughter. Doing some of the things for my loved one and friends is so precious to me to share with others do bring me some HOPE. My loved ones and friends will always be who and what they are to me. My love for my loved ones and friends will continue to shine and radiate through to others as they come on my journey and path of life to show me what life means to them. Grief you’ve completely changed my life yet the bond shared with my loved ones and friends hasn’t changed along with whatever memories that we had and shared will still be there. I have said this many of times yet now I am writing it to pen to paper as well as sharing it to the world. I am now accepting you grief! Why you may ask? As you have now been accepted as part of my life, love for everyone I’ve lost.

Goodbye 2017 Hello 2018/2017 Rewind

Goodbye 2017 Hello 2018/2017 Rewind

I know that this one is really late of my entry yet I had to take the time out to reflect onto what is it I need for me- just me! I have been obviously in past few years looking out for others interests and that now I need to be sure that I am looking after myself.

I did a video based on a montage of what my year was like for me in 2017 to give you all an inside look to my life of what it can be like. I do have my good and bad days like you all. I try to take the bad and make it into something real and positive.

To watch it, the link is: https://youtu.be/uSE8nICUic0.

Afterthought:

There’s nothing more beautiful than just the way how nature shows and graces its appearance and beauty in all its beauty and form. While it sleeps and chooses to grow throughout every season continues to smell the fragrant air, hearing the birds and sounds of nature in amongst it all.

There’s nothing more wonderful than as we walk along the cold and smooth sand as the waves comes rushing at our feet while in time of the tides of change as well as seasons of change comes thereafter a change that takes place in us. Yet, as we know that the sea doesn’t forever change as the sea awakens and returns to us once more to us in hands of love, peace, hope, sleep and serenity. As well as my empty and broken soul upon your swift lips.

It’s quite funny and imaginable yet in reality that we were or once lived in the past and keep on being alive and yet was trapped, I am now alive and free to live in the now. Living in the moment-our moment to conquer, our moment to breathe, our moment to shine, our moment to fight, our moment to rise, our moment to fall, our moment to succeed, our moment to fail. 

Now, you’re alive and breathing, you’re living in the NOW.  Now as in your souls, spirits and minds. Not letting the mind control you. Take a real deep think or look around at this time last year as you’ve come this far in your journey of life and doing better than you ever were and could have done possible. Yes, you may have had some doubts about what you can do and can accomplish but besides all of the odds you still achieved it. It wasn’t about YOU. It was your turn to lean on someone in whom you trust and believed in and you’ve proven time and time again you’re not a little child or a little girl anymore. You’ve proven that you’re grown up and mature and that you’re grown into a young woman of who you want to be and how you want to be. In saying this, that you’re learning from your past mistakes and learning to let go of what was and never can and would be- letting go of some of the expectations that has been put on you – learning to stand up again when you’ve fallen- Learning to forever be patient in what’s to come. The fog and dark clouds of self doubt that was whispering in my ear of the pure white lies for who and what I am but do I choose to listen? Do I choose to invite them in my life ? The thing that is most wanted from many of us is wanting to be cured or fixed but do we want to be? Yet, the truth is I’m all that I’m becoming – A young woman that’s more aware and alert of the changes in and around me and to accept any changes and challenges that lies ahead.

No turning back now- Time to move forward and strive for my greatness. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burning Bridges Series: Part 1

Burning Bridges Series: Part 1

I am wanting to share with you all right now as I am writing/reading this message that I would love to share with you all that has been on my heart. I know that for one that you may have already heard it from me when it comes down to it through my channel if not- I recommend that you can view it for yourself to what I am sharing.

For now, this message that I am writing/reading to you – to me is important like many others and what I read/write to you all is really up to you. NO shame if you don’t choose to read/listen to what I have to say to you all. This one could be for you or someone that you know and that needs to hear this. Don’t forget to share it to them. I am sharing this one from my heart with love right now. I am not here to drag anyone of yous down as I have no time for that or even the need to do so. I am here to motivate you all, educate you all, inspire you, encourage you and more.

I just want to tell you today that if anyone that hasn’t said this to you today or for a long time that you are an amazing person. You are beautiful and smart. Right now, I am asking you a favour from you all that is going through something that is painful or is holding you back to burn down some bridges that doesn’t need to be there in your life regardless what it may be- toxic friendship/relationship, abusive relationships, anger and hate that you been holding onto for quite sometime for whatever reason it maybe and more.

I want to also ask with this favour to burn the bridges that have stopped you from seeing and believing in yourself, seeing and believing that you are an amazing and incredible person. I believe in you and that it is time to burn these bridges right now to what I have just shared just now that will bring you out of depression, oppression – brings you back from any forms of addictions that you may have, brings you back to self-hate, burn that bridge that has been bringing heaviness to your heart. Matter of fact – Burn every single bridge that I am sharing with you right NOW that has prevented you to see how truly beautiful your life really is. NOW IS THE TIME THAT WE NEED TO ACT OR EVEN CHANGE OUR SITUATION. NO MATTER WHAT IT IS Perhaps it’s that painful situation that has happened in your past that you haven’t fully let go of that’s still manipulating your life that makes you feel unimportant in this world that we live in today. A live where we live that we have to at least be someone that we’re not- A world where we should just fit in – A world where we should be number one no matter what – A world where we should only care for ourselves and excuse my term “Fuck you! Fuck the world!” Burn that bridge! Remove these type of thoughts also as this is not how we should be living our life right now. Maybe it’s a certain mistake that you have made or even making that wrong choice in your life that has held you back for so long that is swaying you right now in a rip/wreck yet when you should be living your life with appreciation- Burn that bridge. Maybe it’s those moments of abuse of any kind however that has programmed you to think and act a certain way in life that you’re worthless and hopeless etc- that has been going on for too long in your life and that in that mindset of yours that it has been that time when you feel you had to self-doubt yourself about everything in your life and to what you do and think etc- that is a total lie! You don’t need to live in that lie!! Burn that bridge! Listen to me to what you have been feeling or thinking most of your life that doesn’t have to exist anymore as you are more to what you think or say or do in your life no matter what others may think about you all that matters is how and what you feel about yourself…this doesn’t have to be in your life anymore that doesn’t have to exist in your life anymore- Because if you choose to still have this feeling and thoughts in your life as you’re injecting low self-esteem along with sadness, hopelessness – you can’t or shouldn’t have to allow or continue to go on this bridge or as I call it the path of destruction to destroy you in anyway as well as to allow it to continue to pen/write that story of yours- you know that you are worth more than everything that the world/life can offer you right now- we all need to understand that there are some bridges that are made to be destroyed and let go of –burned as these are the things that you can’t afford to go back to these in your life – so if this bridge isn’t leading you closer to the Spirit – then stop crossing this bridge of destruction – if that bridge isn’t leading you closer to any smiles – stop crossing it! If that bridge isn’t leading you closer to any peace and closure- stop crossing it! If that bridge isn’t leading you any closer to love – stop crossing it! Straight up people! You have a plan and a purpose in your life. You have a calling! You have a destiny! It is all a matter of believing it for yourself. I will leave you with this before I end this video- when we keep these bridges in our lives that I have just briefly mentioned they need to totally be burned or getting rid of – will we need to cheat our hearts from the bridges that needs to be let go-It all starts with you – keep moving forward no looking back – find the right support from others- keep moving forward to the point t that no one or nothing will hold you back or knock you down and out of your course in life – Live it – Be it- Breathe it- and never ever let anyone tear you down or even steal your smile, peace, love and hope.