It’s Okay to Let Them See You Cry

And other thoughts on helping your children through grief with Lynn Allen, LBSW.

When the loss of a significant loved one in a family takes place, it can feel nearly impossible to see past the frayed edges of your own grief.

Not only do adults have to manage and maintain their daily lives while working through deep sadness or depression of their own, they must also be present and responsible in helping children navigate through their own grief as well.

Hospice & Palliative Care of the Piedmont Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker, Lynn Allen, has spent the last several years helping children of all ages cope with the loss of a loved one. Here are a few ways you can guide your children through the grief process.

Watch her video now.

Be honest about how you’re feeling 

Children are incredibly perceptive. Through battling their own grief, they may sense they can’t talk openly about their feelings in fear that it will make others in their home upset. It’s important for them to witness and learn that it’s okay to cry. 

Be open and honest about how you’re dealing with the loss. It may give the children in your life the permission they need to open up about their own feelings.

Encourage your children to talk, write in a journal, write a letter or even draw a picture of their loved one as a healthy way to begin to work through their grief. 

Avoid speaking words that may frighten or confuse children

Words or platitudes that are often spoken by those outside of deep grief can have a damaging impact on the mind of a child. Avoid saying things like, “God took them,” when speaking about death. They may begin to fear that God will take them, too.

Remind them that it’s no one’s fault when someone dies and that it’s no one’s fault. Make sure they understand the difference between illnesses that are common (like colds or flu) and those that are terminal; they may begin to associate getting sick with a more serious situation.

Keep an eye out for disruptive behavior 

Common reactions of grief may look like anxiety, questioning or regression. A child may begin to suck their thumb again, or reach for a comfort item they no longer needed before experiencing significant loss.

However, if your child is having trouble sleeping, experiencing nightmares, having physical reactions such as headaches or showing disruptive behavior, it may be time to consider seeking professional counsel.

Be open to help from others

Walking through grief is a challenge on its own, but being responsible for the outcome of grief for a child is another load entirely. Seek help and guidance from a trust family member, a friend or a neighbor. Lean on the support of others if you need a break or time away to reset and gain a healthy perspective.

Consider a grief support group of your own, or enrolling your child in a grief camp through Hospice & Palliative Care of the Piedmont.

Learn more about the Whenever You’re Ready virtual grief series or sign up to receive updates on our email list.

Shouldn’t You Be Over That By Now?

Thoughts on working through grief with spirituality over religion with Deloris Rapp, M.Div. and Darius James, M.Div., M.Ed.

The assurance and realization that you’re not facing grief alone is one of the first steps toward healing. You are not alone. Both in the very physical interpretation of the word as well as the spiritual implications. 

There are others who’ve experienced hurt, loss, grief, even deep depression and harmful, intrusive thoughts as they come to terms with the death of a loved one, certainly.

Finding and confiding in others who’ve shared similar experiences can play a significant role in your grief journey.

But this isn’t the end of the story. Healing begins here. In fact, for many, healing begins at the moment they decide to cling to what is eternal, and hope for what is unseen, eliminating the thoughts of whether or not they “should be” over a significant loss within a certain amount of time. 

Chaplains Deloris Rapp, M.Div. and Darius James, M.Div., M.Ed. share their thoughts on how to cope with grief and loss in a healthful way. 

Watch their video series now.

Grief is a process, often crossing the expanse of a lifetime. However, we live in a culture that celebrates quick wins and surface-level responses to “how are you doing?”

And as we travel through the grief process – maybe for those of us even for the first time – it can be tempting to bury our emotions. To reply with the standard, “fine,” and move on with our days. 

Or avoid contact with those who will ask us about our grief experience all together.

But when you’re honest about your emotions, when you allow yourself to be vulnerable to the process of healing in both your heart and mind, you’re more likely to have a healthier transition into the next phase of your life without your loved one.

Grief isn’t accompanied by a set of rules or obligations that you should feel compelled to follow. It doesn’t require a set of rules or guidelines, and it certainly doesn’t happen within the confines of a structured, pragmatic religion.

This process isn’t something that will take a certain amount of time to heal from. In fact, the pain from the loss of a loved one can return in spades years, or even decades, after a death has occured. 

Grief isn’t something to “get over,” and it should be seen as an obstacle to overcome. It’s a companion that can allow you to find a deeper appreciation and meaning to life, if you’re willing to do the honest, soulful, heart-work it takes to get there.

We’re here for you as you begin this journey.

Learn more about the Whenever You’re Ready virtual series or sign up to receive updates on our email list.