GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone. GriefShare seminars and support groups are led by people who understand what you are going through and want to help. You’ll gain access to valuable GriefShare resources to help you recover from your loss and look forward to rebuilding your life.
Web Healing, the internet’s first interactive grief website, has served the bereaved on the net since 1995. It offers grief discussion boards where men and women can discuss issues related to grief and healing or browse recommended grief books. The site’s originator, Tom Golden, LCSW, is an internationally known psychotherapist, author, and speaker on the topic of healing from loss.
Whether your family has had a child die (at any age, from any cause), or you are trying to help those who have gone through this life-altering experience, The Compassionate Friends exists to provide friendship, understanding, and hope to those going through the natural grieving process. Through a network of more than 625 chapters with locations in all fifty states, as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, The Compassionate Friends has been supporting bereaved families after the death of a child for four decades.
For more than fifty years, AARP has been serving its members and society and creating positive social change. AARP’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for all as we age, leading positive social change and delivering value to members through information, advocacy and service. Here you’ll find articles, discussions, and helpful information on dealing with end of life care, the challenges faced by caregivers, and how to deal with grief after a loss.
As you navigate your grief journey, Griefwords from the Center for Loss and Life Transition can be a great bereavement resource. Written by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, an author, educator, and grief counselor, these articles can help you find healthy ways to cope and adjust after the loss of a loved one. Please visit their website to explore this wonderful and extremely helpful resource.
When a loved one dies, it can be difficult to know how to help kids cope with the loss, particularly as you work through your own grief. By being open and honest, encouraging communication, and sharing your own feelings, you and your children cope with painful times and begin your healing journey together.
A child's ability to understand death varies according to his or her age.
Infants and Toddlers feel a loss through the absence of a loved one, interruption in their regular routine, and through the grief and stress they sense in their parents or other family members. Make sure to spend extra time holding and cuddling the child, and try to keep them on a regular schedule as much as possible.
Younger children might have trouble understanding the permanence of death or differentiating between fantasy and reality. They also might believe the death of a loved one is a form of punishment for something the child did. When you talk to young children about death, make sure to use concrete language, avoid euphemisms, and reassure the child that the death is not a consequence of something he or she did.
Older children are beginning to understand the permanence of death, and might associate it with old age or personify it in terms of frightening images or a cartoonish boogeyman. They often know more about how the body works, and have more specific questions. It's important to answer their questions to the best of your ability, and provide as much specific, factual information as possible. Try to keep them to regular routines, and give them opportunities for the constructive venting of feelings and grief.
Teenagers process grief more like adults, experiencing anger and sadness as they begin to cope. Don't feel disappointed if it seems that they may want to talk more to their friends than to parents, this is normal and can help them to share their feelings and heal. Because their grief is similar to that of an adult, a teenager may take longer to recover from a loss than a younger child. Questions may come up about mortality and vulnerability, and your role is to empathize with them, listen to their concerns, and remind them that their feelings are normal and things will get better with time.
The following links provide more detailed information on a variety of topics related to helping children and teens cope with loss.
When Families Grieve™
This guide was created by Sesame Workshop, the educational organization behind Sesame Street. It explores children's understanding of death and offers information about communicating, ideas for coping together, and ways to move forward with your children after a loss.
Helpful Children's Books
This list recommends children's books that deal with death and grief. These easy-to-read stories can open up a meaningful discussion between you and your child, and help children make sense of their feelings and understand what they're experiencing.
Here you'll find a Huffington Post article by Judith Acosta containing advice and guidance from her book Verbal First Aid, which counsels parents on ways to help kids heal from fear and pain in a variety of situations, including the death of a loved one. If you find the advice in the article helpful, you may want to read her book for even more insight.
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