Sorry about the long break. I was working on some personal goals that took my time. I am excited to continue talking about the book When Children Grieve. The principles I have talked about in the past have been equally important for adults as well as children. The discussion will move more in the direction of helping children, but some principles still can be applied to both.
One issue the book brings out is that every day we say and do things or do not say and do things we wish we could change. We wish to make the communication different, better or more. Think about it for a minute. Is there something we wished we would have said to a child, friend, spouse or thought we could tell them later? Was there something said at a time of frustration, when tired or joking that we wish had not said?
What feelings do these miscommunications leave us with? How can these feelings be resolved? Most of the time it is easy to say, “I’m sorry”, or, “Hey, I meant to tell you.” When someone dies, we do not have the opportunity to resolve our communications. We are left with the unsaid message or the incorrect message, and our hearts want to resolve it.
When a child passes away, we also have all of the unresolved hopes and dreams our heart has created to share with that child. We placed energy into the relationship. We can do this with other relationships too. If we had a rocky relationship with someone we wanted to love and feel love from them, the hope that someday we will be reconciled is left unfulfilled when they pass away. This is a cause of sadness and pain.
I said energy because any time we spend thinking or doing things for and with others, we are using energy. Energy can be positive or negative. Negative energy is more consuming and destructive. If we cannot find a way to resolve communications, they will be negative energy sources in our lives. So if we cannot directly resolve our communication with our loved ones who have passed away, where do we find a safe place to resolve them?
This is where as a parent or guardian of a child it is important to create a safe place for them to communicate their feelings. Their feelings need to be heard and acknowledged. The age of the child will determine the appropriate way of communication. Obviously an infant’s communication of sadness or discomfort is to cry. As the child is older and develops communication skills, talking about the situation will help.
It is a natural process for children to transition from crying to communicating with words. I remember listening to my sister-in-law with her young child saying to him, “I need you to use your words so I know how to help you.” There are ways to help children use their words, and express their feelings, and each child will be different.
I remember that I had an unresolved issue from my childhood. I had buried it deep, and I felt like it did not bother me at this time. Something happened that brought the issue back, and it had come up before, but I was able to keep burying it. This time, however, I chose to look at it for what it was. I was talking to my brother and explained what had happened and told him how I felt. He simply listened and expressed his sympathy and recognized it must have been hard for me. I felt a release, a lift. I knew that I had finally let it go.
I will continue to discuss other methods and helps for resolving children’s grief.
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