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Sunrise-Sunset: Handling Grief

As we get older we learn more about the cycle of life.  We recognize that there is a start and finish to everything.  We learn our own ways of coping or having the situation of death explained to us differently.  When I was child, I wasn’t touched by the loss of a loved one.  My parents didn’t bring me to a memorial service so when people stopped coming around I didn’t think about it or them again.
I experienced my first service when I was 16 and quite honestly it terrified me.  I couldn't help but think the man was sleeping and would wake any minute.  As as young adult, I lost long time family friends, family, and people that were "too young" to have passed away.  From those times on, I have been afraid of death.  It wasn't something that anyone could prepare for or anything that could be prevented.  I was told that it was because I was just a child and didn't understand. 

Children are more advanced with the age of technology and watch as parents go through their grief.  Children go through grief too.  I find it important to understand their emotions in order to heal.  There will be questions and the answers may not be something you can readily explain.   

How can you explain death to a child and help them process their grief?
I look at life and death as a sunrise and then sunset. Sometimes the sunrise will come and sometimes it will not.  Sometimes that person is needed somewhere more important than here with us and while we will miss them; they are always with us. 

The thing to remember is not to hide grief or feel ashamed to have anyone see it.  I have lost three friends in the last week and while I am dealing with my grief, I found that talking about it has helped.  There are stages to grief and many ways of coping with it.  I found for my parenting style, it is easier to address my sadness and heal together than it is to heal alone.  If I am honest with my children and they can express their feelings they are less afraid of death and loss.

 How do you handle grief?

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