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This is What Grieving Children Look Like

A break from the tips... to bring you grieving kids. This is what grief in children looks like.

Do you see anything unusual? No? That's because kids' grief is hidden and often ignored. Why talk about this now? Today is Children's Grief Awareness Day.

One child out of every 20 children will have a parent die before they graduate from high school! Stop by any playground during recess and count out 20 kids. Shocking right?

Four months after Art died, when I took this photo, a children's grief specialist shared insightful information that changed the way I saw the grief of my kids. It's not the same as adult grief!

She said, "Kids' grief is different, in part, because they don't know what to expect and they don't have a notion of loss like adults do. When your husband died, you, and every adult, thought of everything he would miss; birthdays, graduations, marriages, and celebrations and defeats. Your kids don't know those milestones are coming. Because of this, milestone events can make them feel like the loss just happened."

Heart hurting, right?

Children who have experienced the death of someone important often feel like their struggles are invisible to those around them. (They aren't wrong!) It takes children longer to deal with their grief because it reoccurs throughout their young lives until they are old enough to understand the long-term ramifications of death.

Inner Harbor, a grief support organization, shares that unacknowledged feelings of loss amplify every time a child goes through a significant life change. Left unacknowledged these feelings can overwhelm them causing them to feel suicidal.

When I have the honor of sitting with my kids when they miss their father, I am clear on one thing; I do not know what it's like to lose a parent at a young age. I cannot view their loss through my adult eyes.

So please stop telling me that "Kids are resilient!" They aren't unless they are shown how to manage their grief!

Know a grieving child? Today is a great day to say, "Wanna go get some ice cream and talk about your dead person?"

If you don't know a grieving child consider giving to one of the three organizations below. (Also, Tuesday, November 30th is #GivingTuesday Hint, hint.)

  • Our House Grief Support - – This organization supported all three of my kids in three different, age-appropriate groups for 1 ½ years. Amazing!

  • Comfort Zone - - a two-day camp for grieving kids. My kids fought me hard on going and then didn’t want to leave when I picked them up!

  • Inner Harbor - Inner Harbor offers mental health support for grieving students. They also train high school and college teachers and counselors and even Greek houses to support grieving almost-grown people.

  • High Mark Caring Place They manage the Children's Grief Awareness Day page, helping to remind us that grieving kids need our love.

Thanks for acknowledging this day with me. Thank you for removing the phrase "Kids are resilient" from your vocabulary. Thanks for showing up here!

You matter.

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