Children’s Grief Awareness Week runs from November 17th to 23rd, and it’s important to know why this matters.
1 in 29 school age children have lost a parent or sibling, and that’s a pretty big number. When a child or young person loses somebody so close to them, they tend to grow up a lot faster than normal, and try to protect their remaining family. Children who have been bereaved tend not to share their problems or worries with family or friends, and this isn’t good. When you have been bereaved you can feel isolated, and carrying all your troubles alone can make this feeling even worse.
When I lost my Dad I didn’t talk about it for years, especially to my family. I didn’t realise at the time that this was making my grieving process longer and more difficult to cope with. I didn’t want to upset my Mum more, so I thought avoiding the subject and not talking about how I felt would help protect her. It was around 6 years after I lost my Dad before my Mum and I finally talked about it properly, and this seemed to lift the burden so much. You’re not protecting anyone by keeping your worries to yourself, you’re only hurting yourself, and letting everybody else think you’re coping when you could really need help.
It’s important to talk to an adult about your loss so you understand what has happened, and you’re not being left in the dark as this can make it even harder to cope with.
It’s important to listen to young people as this can help them grieve and feel less alone, and it also lets them know it’s completely okay to not be okay.