Death and Dying: Talking To A Child About Death, Part One
Talking to a child about death is one of the hardest tasks that you will ever undertake. The child’s loved one may have been a grandparent, a friend from school, a favorite uncle or aunt.
Before you start the conversation, it will help if you understand the difference between grief and mourning.
Grief is what you think and feel on the inside when someone you love dies. “It is numbness, sadness, anger, regret, and sometimes relief.”
Mourning is what you do to express your grief. “Mourning is when you cry, talk about death, write about it, punch a pillow.”
“Everybody grieves inside when someone they love dies. But only people who mourn really heal and move on to live and love fully again.”
People sometimes talk about “recovering” from grief. You don’t “recover” from or “get over” grief. Instead, you become “reconciled” to it. In other words, you learn to live with and are forever changed by it.
Reconciliation takes time. Someone who has lost a loved one may not become truly reconciled to his/her loss for years, and there may be “grief bursts” forever.
Adapted and excerpted from “Healing Your Grieving Heart for Teens: 100 Practical Ideas”, by Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD.
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