Death is not an easy topic, however it is inevitable for us, and how we deal with it most definitely influences how our children will view it and respond to it. Take into consideration that when you are uncertain or afraid to show your emotions, it causes questions and conflict for those around you. When you have a spiritual belief that defies the finality of death and offers hope, it is easier to discuss. We have experienced two different types of death; one being from old age and the other an unexpected, tragic death. When the body eventually wears out or there is a long and painful illness, we are expecting our loved one to die. This gives us time to be prepared and to have spoken of the upcoming end of life. It doesn’t mean that we lose hope for cure, but we shouldn’t deny our children this opportunity to prepare for death and actually celebrate that person’s life. I always marvel at the way my heart changed from praying for my mother to be cured from cancer at age 51, to praying that she would die and be free from pain. Harder for us to deal with is a tragic death, when there seems to be no immediate explanation. Grief is intense and overwhelming. If we allow ourselves to embrace what we are truly feeling (anger, sadness, loneliness or helplessness), and to speak of that, it is a guide for our children. When speaking to them, don’t necessarily expect a response; listening can be enough. Having a physical reaction (headaches, malaise…) is normal, but keeping each other moving with routine is what makes you and your children feel safe and somewhat sane. My best response in light of these tragic deaths is that we support and express sympathy to those at the core of the loss, we show up even when we feel inadequate, and we also know that we don’t have the answers as to why this happened.
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