Tips for Helping Children Through Grief

Children can have difficulty processing emotions, but there are ways that you can help in times of grief. These tips can help you help them. Everyone has different ways of coping with grief , and children are no exception.

Elementary School-Aged Children (Typically 7 to 10 Years Old)

Children of this age can present unique challenges when dealing with grief, as they are often developed enough to understand the concept of death but do not yet accept it. Elementary school-aged children may also have nightmares or trouble sleeping. They may experience increased anxiety and fear, not want to go to school, have difficulty with paying attention or begin acting out in class or at home when they did not have problems before. Children of this age may also start to ask a lot of questions about death, some of which may be morbid.

How to help: Be patient and answer all the questions a child has about death. Help them find ways to remember the person they have lost fondly. For example, if a grandparent made them a baby blanket, it can be helpful to give it to them and remind them that it was made with love. Let them know they were and still are deeply loved by the person who has passed and that you are always there for them to talk about feelings.

More on each age group:

Nuns on ‘front lines’ of coronavirus pandemic

ROME – As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, women religious throughout the world have been working in areas such as prevention and awareness, and caring for the poor, sick and elderly.

Speaking to Crux, Sister Pat Murray, executive secretary of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), said their communities “are on the front lines” of both efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to care for those who are ill.

“They are, because they’re preparing for (it) or they’re healing, so they are very much part of the front-line response, particularly in the poorer part of the world,” Murray said.

An umbrella group of women religious, the UISG oversees roughly 2,000 different women’s religious congregations worldwide, each of which have their own communities spread throughout the globe that are working in different ways to combat the coronavirus.

Many sisters, Murray said, are working as either doctors or nurses, often in small rural hospitals in Africa and Asia as well as medical clinics, healthcare centers and mobile clinics providing education and medical assistance to those in need.

While in the Global North sisters have already been engaged in fighting the coronavirus, in other parts of the world nuns are busily preparing for an outbreak by trying to procure equipment for the centers in which they work, “which in some cases is very difficult,” Murray said, noting that many sisters in the Global South have found sourcing equipment such as ventilators and facial masks extremely difficult.

As a result, they have at times gone to individual homes to help families make their own medical masks for protection.

Sisters have also been active in slums and small villages in poor countries, carrying out education campaigns on proper sanitation and distributing government leaflets about precautions to take. They have also taken the time to explain the measures to those who cannot read.

Murray cited a specific example of sisters in Africa who, in one area with a single water pump that people had to walk long distances to get to, built a small wooden frame with a plastic water jug attached and brought it to nearby villages to demonstrate proper handwashing. In India, sisters have drawn lines in the sand at food distribution centers so that those who come engage in social distancing, rather than crowding around trying to get to the head of the line.

Not only are the sisters working local NGOs and other organizations to distribute food, but in some cases, Murray said she’s heard of sisters who share their own food with the poor, “going out onto the streets” and offering some of what they have to beggars and those who cannot afford groceries.

For sisters who work in schools or with parishes, they have found “creative ways” of continuing their programs, Murray said, noting that like many other teachers and companies, the sisters in these cases have not only launched online courses, but they are also providing online spiritual direction and mentorship and are leading online prayer sessions and retreats.

They are also making an effort to be in touch with the elderly to ensure they are not alone, and those who work with refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking have all found ways to stay in touch and check in to make sure that these people are okay.

The sisters, Murray said, not only provide food, medical supplies and training, but they also try to be “a praying presence, a supporting presence, a presence of hope and reassuring people that they are not alone.”

Noting how the eruption of contagion inside convents has been a major concern in countries such as Italy, Spain and the United States which have been more severely hit by the coronavirus, particularly European communities that have high numbers of elderly, Murray said there have been many deaths among sisters, but the UISG does not keep track.

“Each religious congregation is autonomous, even if they are members of UISG, so we would find that very intrusive, because behind every sister that dies there is the whole community and the whole congregation; there’s her family, there’s the people she knows in ministry.”

“We would know because we’re in contact with some communities, but we have no sense of the overall and nor would we seek it,” she said, insisting that “Each loss is huge for a community, particularly in these kind of situations where the normal practices of being able to bury a sister, like for families worldwide, has been interrupted.”

Calling the pandemic “a time of grief and sadness,” Murray said religious communities are no different than families. There is even a “double-weight” when a sister dies, she said, because both their immediate family and their religious family suffer.

In terms of precautions they are taking, Murray said the sisters are following the regulations in the countries where they live but are generally all engaged in basic sanitation practices such as frequent handwashing, wearing face masks and social distancing…

How to cope with Coronavirus crisis effectively

Are We Grieving? Interestingly, I have been hearing this word grief being thrown around in the media and Facebook a lot more recently. I might be more sensitive to these conversations because dealing with grief is such a significant part of my career…or it may be because I am …

Although most, if not all of us have never experienced any event even similar to this [Covid-19] Pandemic, if we can name some of our emotions, we can use tools that have proven helpful and even healing for processing grief and possibly even trauma.

Some of these tools may be:

  • Finding safe ways to move the emotion from internal to external i.e. Physically communicating our feelings with words, artistic and/or musical expression, physical movement/exercise, journaling.
  • Creating simple daily routines, i.e. Waking and going to sleep at same times, scheduling mealtimes, having a time set aside daily for fun, possibly even
  • Scheduling time …  more:

Iowa Mom who lost son in Afghanistan is making masks to fight coronavirus spread

Helping Others Through Your Grief

The grief creeps up on Susie Ristau in the quiet moments.

And the quiet moments in her Cascade home come more often during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ristau was leading homeschooling for her four grandchildren in the mornings. By afternoon, she would feel anxious and depressed.

Her memories would drift to 2012, the day two U.S. Army officers came to tell her that her son, Michael Ristau, had been killed while serving in Afghanistan.

“It’s the kind of grief you never get over,” Ristau said. “It’s just your new normal.”

About a week into the pandemic, Ristau decided she was sick of sadness. She decided to use her grief as motivation…

Shaq’s Reaction on Kobe Bryant’s Death Shows How Important Confronting Grief Is

Kobe Bryant’s recent death was a huge shock to the entire world.

The elite basketball star, his daughter, and seven others were killed in a fatal helicopter crash just over one month ago. While their deaths have led to some safety improvements – the Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act mandates that all helicopters come with a pre-installed awareness system to help prevent accidents like this – the rest of the world is still grieving.

Among the affected are world-famous basketball player Shaquille O’Neal. Shaquille, or Shaq, has long been associated with Bryant. They have been friends, rivals, and teammates over the course of their lives, and were considered as close as brothers.

One of the most emotional and authentic responses to Bryant’s death was that of Shaquille…   We are not promised tomorrow – here’s why

Fishing With My Dad

I’m sharing this because a couple of months ago, my dad shared an article with me that really helped me put the feelings I experienced after my Grandpa passed away, and the coping mechanisms I fudged together by myself when dealing with the loss of my Grandad a few years prior, into something solid and real and reassuring. It talks about a sixth stage of grief — something that can ‘help find meaning after loss’, because ‘the final stage of acceptance isn’t enough’. It’s not a quick fix, you have to be in the right place to reach it, but it’s pretty liberating when you do. It’s coined by ‘grief expert’ David Kessler who says it’s about helping to ‘remember with more love than pain’.

God wasn’t in the Earthquake or the Tornado

One tip he gives to do this is to ‘water the good memories’ by regularly sharing stories and thinking about how they enriched our every day. He suggests asking yourself, ‘What memories of their life to I want to keep alive? What quality of them now lives in me? What memories can we pass on to others?’. For me, it made so much sense. My Grandad served as a telegraphist in WWII’s Arctic Convoys — which we’re all extremely proud of (and explains why he was so bloody good at Guardian Cryptic Crosswords).

He passed away honoring his colleagues at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day a few years ago, and I desperately wanted to keep that respect and remembrance alive for him. It took me until 2018 but I finally managed to work up the courage to attend a Remembrance Sunday service and it felt really good to share the positive memories and achievements. Reading about the ‘sixth stage of grief’ helped me understand why that was, and gave me something positive to focus on when reaching this anniversary milestone of losing Grandpa…

A ‘Family’ Bonded By Loss

A Year After the Boeing 737 MAX Ethiopian Airlines Crash

It is an unlikely friendship that grew out of grief and has become a source of support and activism in the aftermath of the Boeing 737 MAX Ethiopian Airlines crash one year ago.

Nadia Milleron lost her daughter Samya, 24, in the crash and Zipporah Kuria, now herself 24, lost her father Joseph Kuria Waithaka.

The two are now close friends after teaming up to campaign for improved aviation safety in the wake of the disaster on March 10 that killed 157 people.

Milleron, from Massachusetts, is the niece of famed US consumer activist Ralph Nader, while Kuria is the daughter of a British family of Kenyan origin.

Also part of their closely-bonded group is …

New Equine therapy program helps grieving children

“If you’re going through something traumatic, if you’ve been through something that’s traumatic, it can tap into those feelings of grief and trauma and provide a soothing therapeutic outlet,” says Roberts.

“Grieving is unique to everybody we all grieve differently we all learn to process differently,” says Allison Gamber, Executive Director of The Cove Center for Grieving Children which has seven locations around the state, helping Connecticut Families for 25 years. “The grief will always be there. It comes and goes. It comes in waves. We hope we can teach the children the tools to use throughout their lifetime that will help them through their grief in the long run.”

Joining a Fitness Community Helped Me During a Difficult Time

In the spring of 2016, I was lost in a season of grief. The previous year, I lost my grandparents unexpectedly, one right after the other. I had just finished months of grief counseling and knew I had a tough road ahead. Most days, I found myself riddled with anxiety and trying to adapt to my new reality. Amidst the chaos, I desperately wanted to find ways to take care of my body and mind.

The hardest part about grieving is that it’s an individualized and unique journey. Grieving forced me to feel siloed and alone. I learned to accept that there were certain aspects of grief that I would have to navigate on my own, but I craved a sense of belonging at the same time. I knew I needed a support system to help me heal. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a fitness community that altered the course of my journey for the better.

I was never much of an exercise enthusiast. The mere idea of exercising, let alone in a structured group setting, was not an idea that often crossed my mind. While scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw a post from my local Pure Barre studio about an upcoming open house. All classes were free during the open house, and even though group exercise classes had never appealed to me before, I was intrigued by …

A Photographer Has Spent 20 Years Documenting Stillbirths

Stillbirth affects about one in 100 pregnancies in the United States, which means that about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the U.S. every year. The cause is often unknown. Hochberg has photographed 500 or 600 families, including those whose infant died shortly after birth as well as those who lost an older child. He presents each family with an album with dozens of photos, sometimes as many as 130.

In the early 2000s, Hochberg left a corporate photography job to pursue what he calls “bereavement photography” full-time. He doesn’t charge the families. Some of the hospitals he works with have found grants to fund his work. Otherwise, he relies on donations. “It’s nowhere near what I made as a corporate photographer,” he says. “It’s certainly my life’s work at this point. I don’t see myself doing anything else.”

Documenting Stillbirths: