Childhood Grief: An Interview with Chase Roberts

In this video, Jesse Roberts, the author of Katie the Ladybug: Explaining Emotions of Grief to a Child, speaks of his own experiences and encourages those who are helping grieving children to be honest, concrete, and sensitive when discussing the topic of death.

Losing both of my parents before the age of 16 inspired me to immerse myself in the field of death and dying in hopes that I may be able to help others who are experiencing grief after the loss of a parent. I did not want these experiences to be wasted, and through helping others have been able to find meaning in those experiences.

I have always had an incredible support system of people who have encouraged and supported me throughout my seasons of grief. They have continually poured into me, listened to me, and walked with me on my journey. They have given me hope in so many ways, and I honestly don’t know where I would be without them.

The most important advice that I can give to a grieving individual is to allow yourself to feel your emotions as they come – Do not suppress them. Emotions need to be acknowledged when they arise, otherwise they come out in more unhealthy ways in the future.

Jesse Roberts is currently completing his final year in the M.A./Ed.S. in Mental Health Counseling program at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina, which is his home state. After losing both of his parents before the age of 16, Jesse was inspired to use his experiences to help others who are grieving. He wrote a children’s book called Katie the Ladybug: Explaining Emotions of Grief to a Child as a project during his senior year of high school, and it was published in 2012. Jesse has worked as a community bereavement counselor with Hospice, and currently works with an organ procurement organization, LifeShare Of The Carolinas, where he works with the families of potential organ donors in various hospitals across the western part of the state.

His hope for any child who’s lost someone important in their life: Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Gloria Horsley

More Articles Written by Gloria

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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  • Hegand says:

    Hello Dr.Gloaria,

    I lost my husband 10 months ago. He was only 34. We have 2 children 6yrs old boy and 1 yr old girl. The bond between son and dad was very strong and my highest concern was my son, how he would get through this stage and how will this affect on his future. My daughter was only 6 months. I don’t know if she is affected as he is.
    Currently my son seems normal and not doing anything wrong … we were always surrounded with family, relatives, friends and they didn’t leave us alone. But i’m wondering how should i continue with him in order he will not have any kind of problem related to this issue.

    Thanks,

    • So very sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. Thirty-four is so very young. It has been my experience that children will be very interested in watching you and seeing how you respond. If you let him know that it is ok to cry but it is also ok to play and have fun he will do well. As far as the father/son bond look for role modals in your community and family. Ask male friends and relatives to take him to movies, walks or other adventures. For yourself I would suggest that you go to the Soaring Spirits web site and connect up with Michelle Neff Hernandez. There you will meet many young widows with children who will offer you companionship and advice. Best wishes and thanks for being a part of our community. Dr. Gloria