Compassionate Friends Connects Parents Who’ve Lost Children
My next-door neighbors lost their son in a tragic plane crash that also took his biological father. The mom’s world literally crash all around her. It’s been four years and she is just now starting to find a way to remember the good things along with the tragedy. There is hope, but the road is long but you don’t have to go it alone.
Telling the Children
One of the main challenges confronting adults is how to explain death to surviving children. Explaining death to children forces one to come to terms with the finality of death themselves. This is not easy. Children need to have an understanding of physical death. The correct terms, “dead,” “death,” and “died,” should be used when discussing the situation—never suggesting that the child is sleeping. Even though young children don’t know what the words mean, they will eventually develop an understanding. Death as a physical event can best be discussed as part of the cycle of nature. “Dead means not alive anymore. It’s like the leaves on the trees in the winter or flowers that die. Life is over. The body doesn’t work anymore. It doesn’t move or hear or breathe or feel pain or sleep or need to eat. It just stops.” A clear simple explanation should also be given to each child about the cause of death. It should be geared to the developmental level of the child and may need to be repeated several times. It is important to reassure them that they did nothing to cause the death. They also need to be assured about the normality of their body so they are not scared they, too, may die.
About The Compassionate Friends, Inc.
The Compassionate Friends offers friendship, understanding, and hope to families grieving the death of a child at any age from any cause. With more than 600 chapters and more than 25 closed Facebook pages, it remains the largest self-help bereavement support organization in the U.S. Local chapters offer monthly, peer-to-peer support meetings. Often special events for bereaved families such as a Walk to Remember, a butterfly release, or lantern launch are planned to allow the families to celebrate the lives of all the children gone too soon. These local chapters also often publish periodic chapter newsletters, maintain a website, or host a Facebook page. Chapters can be found by going to the chapter locator on the national website and simply inputting your zip code.