Heathdale flower 01st September 2020

A Child’s First Experience of Grief

As we’ve been Checking In together for some time, I hope I can raise the very sensitive subject of losing someone.

Heathdale flower

In our family we are blessed, or at least our grandchildren are. They each have grandparents on both sides of their family. Both generations are very blessed, and if their feelings are anything like mine, very thankful.

It’s a beautiful thing, but I know it’s not often the case for families. Many grandparents live overseas, though this doesn’t take away from the preciousness of the relationship between a grandchild and a grandparent.

Often a child’s first experience of a significant grief is when they lose a grandparent.

When this loss occurs, children have very big emotions to manage. Our Story Time this week is a book titled, ‘Thank you Grandpa’. It’s the story of a little girl who goes on lots of walks with her Grandpa and together they discover many interesting parts of life, then comes the time when she needs to say goodbye.

Introducing the truth of death to our children is a complex conversation. It involves aspects of your faith journey and beliefs, your cultural norms, your own experiences. Also of great importance is the age of your child.

As you prepare to open up this sacred conversation, it may help to be aware that you will not be speaking into a void. Children have many thoughts about death and what happens to us after we die. They just need an opening to share them.

This will be an opportunity for you to share your faith, your spiritual beliefs, this helps support them in their questions and at times their fears. The wisdom of a trusted parent and the beliefs of their family helps tether and ground them, rather than what they hear and see from a show or from the playground.

I remember my father sharing this conversation with me many times in my life. You’ll hear on the video, the sensitive way he provided comfort for my questions.

To help you have these sacred conversations I’d like to point you two books.

Firstly: ‘Life Cycles’, this is a practical book which explains the truth that all things that live then die at some time. This can help kids make some sense of the circle of life.

Secondly, of course our book in Story Time with Mr Baird. This book looks more at the emotional attachment and relationship with the grandparent the little girl will need to farewell.

It is my prayer that as you Check In, these conversations will help bring understanding and comfort into the areas of loss and grief.

As always, I’m sending my love from my home to yours.