Bereavement and Loss, children need to grieve too
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Jane I Taylor MBACP MCS (Acc) PRCC
27th October, 2010
We often forget, or choose not to think about the fact that death is a part of the life cycle and it comes to us all. When we lose a loved one through death many of us are not prepared for the total devastation it can cause emotionally. Children also need to be included in the grieving process, they need to understand it is a normal and healthy process to go through. In an ideal world we would be encouraged to take as much time out as necessary and express our grief in what ever way we felt fit. Unfortunately modern life, cultural values etc. determines how we express our loss.
How ever much we may try to prepare for it, loss can cause us to feel emotions which we may not have imagined would be possible. There are seven phases of bereavement, people may go through these phases in different orders.
1. Shock - numbness, withdrawal, detachment, calm, the inability to express emotion.
2. Denial - refusing to accept the loved one has died.
3. Depression - pain, crying, despair, lack of motivation, wanting to give up.
4. Guilt - feeling they could have done more, something differently, let their loved one down.
5. Anxiety - panic about the future, what is going to happen now.
6. Anger - trying to find someone to blame, even the loved one who has died.
7. Acceptance - letting go, moving on with hope for the future, forgiveness.
It is important to allow grief to come through, to allow time to grieve, this can take weeks, months or even years. We are all different, there is no wright or wrong way to express our grief. Children need to be a part of, and share with others, the grieving process, they too need the opportunity to express their feelings. It is important for them to be a part of what is going on, not to be excluded, to share their loss with others.
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