Helping Kids Deal With Loss When You Are Far Away

My husband's last remaining grandparent died today.  We weren't there.  Sometimes that seems to be our mantra when thinking about our family across the world.  We aren't there.  I am always afraid to tell my kids things that are going on "back in the U.S."  Either they are sad because something bad has happened and they don't get the closure they need, or they are sad because something good has happened and they don't get to be part of it.

We all deal with loss.  We give away a pet because it can't come with us. Divorce tears apart families. Loved ones move and you will never return to the house that you knew. Death. All of these are examples of loss that we deal with on a daily basis. 

How do you help your children deal with grief?

  1. Listen.  Allow your children to talk all they want.  Remember with your child!  Look at pictures.  The more they can open up, or even if they just cry, the more healing can take place.
  2. Physical touch is important.  Hold your child.  Let them know through touch that you are there and you love them and care how they feel.
  3. Allow your child to see you grieve.   It is healing for a child to know that you are sad, too.  It's ok to cry in front of them.  Tell them what you remember about happy times.
  4. Find a way to contact loved ones when your child needs the connection.  Use Skype, FaceTime, or whatever other way you can to allow your children to talk with loved ones face to face.
  5. Allow your child to create something special for loved ones, either in memory or just because they are missing them.  Sometimes we get so caught up using email and other social media forms, we forget how therapeutic writing a letter, making a card, or creating a masterpiece for someone special can be.
  6. Pray.  Pray together as a family.  Thank God for the good times.  Tell Him how you feel about the bad.  Ask for God's help in dealing with the grief.  After all, He knows how you feel!

 

"When I miss my Granny, I write letters to her in a notebook, then I ask God to read them to her. It helps me to think about her getting my letters. I also like to look at pictures and cry with my family. Sometimes they are happy tears!"
SONY DSC
Reagan
My Daughter

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Digging Deeper:

The Psalms show a wide range of emotions from elated and thanking God for everything to total despair.  They can show us how to process our own grief.  There have been many times I have read a Psalm out loud to the Lord when I couldn't come up with the words on my own.

Read Psalm 46 and listen to the song below. 

God is Our Refuge and Strength

  • What are some ways you can make God your refuge and strength in times of trouble?
  • The Psalmist lists things that he considers tragedies.  What are some things in your life that cause you to need a refuge?
  • What does God ask us to do in verse 10?

Casting Crowns - "O My Soul"

Mercy Me - "Even If"

Read Habakkuk 3:17-19 and think about the things from your life that you can substitute in verse 17. 

Pray about some of the things you substituted into verse 17, and end your prayer with verse 18, "yet I will rejoice in the Lord.  I will be joyful in God my Savior."

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