Sunday, April 18, 2010
Grief Comes in Many Packages
I have been thinking about how children grieve and maybe more importantly the things they grieve about. In the old days (as my kids would point out means my younger years---many moons ago) most children's first experience with a loss was the death of a pet...or the death of a grandparent. That was back in Leave it to Beaver's day. Now, families move many times so the children lose friends, contact with family members, teachers, familiar surroundings, etc. Then, the divorce rate has blown through the roof and now many folks don't even bother to get married so splitting up is even easier in many cases. What does all this loss do to children? They are sad, some are mad, they feel disconnected, unsupported, and just plain lost. When kids experience the death of a parent or grandparent either one or both of their parents are busy grieving too depending on the circumstances---again...they feel unsupported and lost. I helped facilitate grief workshops for kids and teens for a local hospice organization for more than 15 years. It was incredible to hear the stories the kids told. And, it was wonderful that they were in a safe place where they could talk about how it felt to be going through grief with or without parents. Kids are amazingly resilient but they have to feel that someone is there for them or they will find other ways to cope. And that's rarely good. We had cutters, drug users, young people who drank alcohol...you name it. They weren't bad kids. They were just sad...mad...lost. Hear your children...feel their pain...be there for them. With so many adults messed up on drugs or other substances...they are not there for their children. I think that is why we have so many angry people in the world. Let's all pray for the children shall we?