When I was 11, my Grandma Kath died in hospital. I was young at the time so I didn’t understand what was happening, just that she was very poorly and gone forever. I was sad but didn’t fully understand what was happening. When the funeral came around the family wore one of her silk scarfs each and, despite me feeling lost and slightly guilty for not reacting the same as my Mum, brother, Grandad, it made me feel connected to other members of the family. Like we all had a piece of her with us. Now, I’m 22, I can process the loss of a loved one a little more.
As a society we avoid talking about death with Marie Curie reporting that 33% of people* frequently avoided talking about their loss because they knew it would make other people uncomfortable.
With the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth and COVID-19 deaths dominating the headlines a few years back, we thought it would be a good idea to share with you how to broach a difficult subject to little minds and what you can do to help them process it.
First and foremost, you know your child best. We would recommend using direct language (such as ‘Grandma has been poorly for a while and has died’) rather than phrases like lost or passed away. Talk them through what happens next. How you actually say this depends on your child because as we know, they’re all different from each other. Remember it’s okay for them to see mummy, daddy or nanny cry. It’s actually healthy because bottling up emotions is never good.
For the best ways of allowing them to process it – physically and mentally – try:
- Creating art – storyboards, pictures
- Making a memory box
- Giving them a role to do during the grieving process
If you are struggling with the loss of a loved one, there’s always somebody to talk to. Don’t suffer in silence.
*statistic take from Marie Curie online article: https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/media/press-releases/a-third-of-people-in-ukl-fear-upsetting-others-talking-about-grief/341634