“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”
Today is Grandparent’s Day. For many, this is a joyous occasion where children are able to celebrate the special relationship they may have with their grandmothers and grandfathers. But for children whose grandparents are missing, or who have passed, today can be especially difficult.
A parent in this situation has to deal with a unique set of circumstances. First, their own grief about losing a parent, and then, helping their children deal with grief. Though your circumstances may be difficult, there are ways to help your children, and you, get through this season of grief.
Talk It Out
There’s nothing worse than stopping your child from talking about their grandparent who has passed. In fact, in your child’s mind, grandma and/or granddad’s presence is still very real. Suppressing their need to ask questions, reminisce, and/or discuss what happened delays their healing process, and discourages them from learning how to deal with death.
Grief is a very complex emotion that can take adults through many emotional changes. Imagine how your child is feeling. The younger they are at the time of their grandparent’s death, the less capable they are of expressing their feelings. There is a solution. Get help. There are many therapists and grief counselors who specialize in helping children of all ages cope with the loss of a loved one. Though therapy may seem like a foreign concept, and you may be a little hesitant to share such intimate details of your lives, doing so will not only help your child learn how to deal with death, but you, as well.
Tap Into the Source
There is one source who will is able to help everyone move from grief to joy, and that source is God. In fact, children are more in tune with God than we all think. Once they are exposed to God, and understand they, too, can have a personal relationship with Him, they will do so, whether you witness this or not. This fact is shared with us in Matthew 26:16, “from the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise.” Continue to go to church. Pray with your children. Let them see you praising God in the midst of grief, and give them permission to do so, as well. He is your Balm, your Healer who will carry you and your children through this difficult time.
Here are some resources you may want to read with your children to help to encourage conversation, and to help them cope:
*When Your Grandparent Dies: A Child’s Guide to Good Grief by R.W. Alley
*What Happens When Someone Dies: A Child’s Guide to Death and Funerals by R.W. Alley
*Where Are You? A Child’s Book About Loss by Laura Olivieri
Candance L. Greene is Editor and Writer for Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. Her work has been published in several anthologies including Bittersweet: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry; Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction; and Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir, and the Huffington Post. She is the founder of Cherishedflight Communications, LLC, an editing and writing service. Visit her website at www.cherishedflight.com and follow her on Facebook: cherishedflightcommunications and Twitter @cherishedflight.
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