Early grief is a difficult topic that also requires a change in conversation. The difficulty encountered during this emotional time just occurs immediately after a loss. The feeling associated with early grief can be overwhelmingly challenging. Learned responses based on our own faulty observations do not provide sufficient skill to prepare us for large life loss.
When children face the loss of a parent, grandparent or sibling, a parent or any adult having skills at the ready to meet a child’s fear and emotions can make a difference in their recovery. Most children do not have the verbal skills necessary to express their emotional upheaval. They rely on their parent to provide assistance in this trying time. If the parent is not prepared and is grieving themselves, the child’s recovery may take much longer and be more difficult.
The National Alliance for Grieving Children () is sponsoring Grieving Children’s Awareness Day. Commemorated on the third Thursday of November (11-19-2015) this day highlights and encourages preparedness, outreach and support to all children who suffer from loss.
The National Alliance for Grieving Children promotes awareness of the needs of children and teens grieving a death and provides education and resources for anyone who wants to support them. Raising awareness of children’s grief can make a difference in the life of a grieving child! Being prepared with answers to their questions when a loss occurs in their life is another aspect of changing the conversation around grief.
For us this was apparent when Leah’s accident occurred and we waited to see if a recovery was possible. We were faced with the decision to hold this as a private family situation or open it to her network of friends. The same friends who were their everyday during those painful 5 days she was with us. Our decision to invite them in to visit, say their encouragements and goodbyes was a painful choice for us. To see the pain in their eyes and know they had no way to comprehend their friends fate or their own grief was one of the factors that affected our decision to do this work.
Every year on the third Thursday of November, the NAGC proudly observes Children’s Grief Awareness Day. Our Affiliate members, donors and supporters throughout the country acknowledge this day by wearing blue and hosting awareness events in their communities. Bereaved children are often referred to as the “forgotten mourners”. Many bereaved children feel isolated in their grief, unaware that they are not alone. Children’s Grief Awareness Day is an opportunity to tell children they are not forgotten and that there is support, hope and healing to be found.
So on Thursday, I am wearing blue to recognize the cause, support our young people in their pain and be present to the possibility that the work of Being with Grief to bring about change in how we talk about and work to complete the undelivered communications that never had an opportunity to be said to your loved one.