The National Alliance for Grieving Children conference brought together Dr. Gloria Horsley and Marissa McGehe. She works at Haven Hospice in Florida serving all types of clients. However, McGehe focuses on in-school counseling for children. Her advice for parents of children going through a loss is to know that it’s normal to be taken aback. If you’re looking to help, schedule some strong routines in your family. Ensure immediate needs like food and comfort are readily available. Take care of yourself as a caregiver and guardian. Having a safe place to express yourself in a home is also important.
Remember that kids look to adults to model grief. If you’re grieving with such difficulty that you can’t be 100 percent caretaker, lean on others to come in and help out. She says that some people might put up walls and not be able to be a caretaker as a bereaved parent. There are many resources available, and Haven Hospice is a great example. It’s an organization that helps out with some of the hard work bereaved families are faced with.
Setting an Example
As a bereaved family, there will be ups and downs, and plenty of leaning on one another. However, children shouldn’t have to shoulder this burden. Children also grieve in spurts, which can be difficult for adults without bereavement training to understand. Knowing how a child grieves and how to encourage healing is critical. Adults, especially women, think that talking is a must but it’s not how many children heal.
Depending on a professional organization or counselor can help everyone in the family go through a swifter healing process—although healing can take a lifetime. Let others help, lean on their support, and know that you don’t have to go down this path alone.