|Total Internet Resource|
Whens Sarah Coming Home? Helping Your Child Understand Death
For most children, their first experience with grief comes with the death of a beloved family pet. When Zoe the eight-week old puppy dies of parvovirus or Tweety the budgie stops singing his morning song, a child experiences profound and lasting loss for the first time in their young lives.
Children want and need to know about death, yet we are often reluctant - even squeamish - when talking about it. Conversations with kids about death can be extremely difficult, but they are so important. Helping children understand the death of their pet may arm them with the skills they need to cope and grieve effectively when someone they love dies. Everyone experiences a sense of shock when death occurs, and this is especially true for children. They have no prior experience, and usually no information to help them comprehend what "dead forever" means.
Death and grief are extremely difficult human emotions, therefore, there is no right or wrong way to deal with death. As adults, our reactions to death are a product of societal attitudes and the beliefs and culture of the family from which we came.
When a family member dies, children express their grief differently depending on their age. An infant may become irritable and fussy. A pre-schooler lives in a magical world, so death isn't permanent for them. They may alternate between seeing death as temporary and reversible to understanding that death is forever. Children ages six to 12 have a more mature understanding of death and teenagers have an adult understanding of death, but has fewer coping skills.
Let's look at Justin's first experience with death:
Justin's is 5 years old and lives with his mom and dad and brand new sister Sarah. One morning, Justin wakes up to mom's tears and runs to Sarah's room to find mommy and daddy crying. Daddy ushers Justin out of the room and tells him quietly that Sarah isn't going to wake up today.
Justin is scared and confused. Justin has never seen Daddy cry. Dad is his hero. He makes Justin feel safe. What could be so horrible that it would make Daddy cry? Daddy spends the morning talking to Justin while mom and Grandma Jane go in and out of the house, crying and Sarah is taken away by strange people that Justin does not know.
After lunch, Justin goes to Sarah's room to look for her. They always take an afternoon nap together. But Sarah isn't there. "When will Sarah be home?" Justin asks his daddy. Daddy holds Justin as he tells him "Sarah won't be coming home, honey, Sarah has died. She stopped breathing and her heart stopped beating. We're all so very sad. Why don't we sit together and remember some of the funny things she used to do." Justin turns his blue eyes to look at Daddy "No, it's okay Daddy. She'll be home later."
As the days go on from the time of Sarah's death, mom and dad are caught up in funeral preparations and Justin continues in his insistence that his sister will come home. As family gathers and the days get closer to the services his parents remain with growing concern for his belief.
Parents should be aware of normal childhood responses to a death in the family. It is normal during the weeks following the death for some children to feel immediate grief or persist in the belief that the family member is still alive. But long-term denial of the death or avoidance of grief is unhealthy and can later surface in more severe problems.
Once children accept the death, they are likely to display their feelings of sadness on and off over a long period of time, and often at unexpected moments. The surviving relatives should spend as much time as possible with the child, making it clear that the child has permission to show his or her feelings openly or freely.
Parents with children experiencing grief should:
Warning signs include:
Keep In Mind: Children need to be assured that death is not the end-that love never dies. Just because the person is no longer living, doesn't mean we don't still love them. You are the expert of your child and always reach for assistance from a professional if you have any questions.
Dr. Charles Sophy currently serves as Medical Director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), which is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of nearly 40,000 foster children. He also has a private psychiatry practice in Beverly Hills, California. Dr. Sophy has lectured extensively and is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California Los Angeles Neuro-Psychiatric Institute. His lectures and teachings are consistently ranked as among the best by those in attendance.
Dr. Charles Sophy, author of the "Keep 'Em Off My Couch" blog, provides real simple answers for solving life's biggest problems. He specializes in improving the mental health of children. To contact Dr. Sophy, visit his blog at http://drsophy.com
The Twists and Turns of Life
When I was born in 1962 I thought life was good. I had two parents, a twin sister, and an older brother. We lived in an apartment until my sister and I were eleven, and then we moved into a house. My brother was twenty-one years old so he moved onto his own apartment. I was the luckiest girl in the world.
What is an Appropriate Sympathy Gift?
When a friend or loved one is grieving, it is hard to know what to say or how to show your support. When you want to provide comfort and support and show your concern for a family member, a friend, or an associate, a personalized gift is always an ideal choice. The best gifts are those given and chosen from the heart. It says that you really care and have taken the time to think about the time after the initial grief of losing a loved one ... during the alone and lonely times.
Terminal Illness- Death and Grief
No one likes to think about illness and death, when we are well, we feel invincible and there is nothing that can prepare us for the shock and devastation of a terminal diagnosis. The knowledge that we can no longer take our lives or the lives we share with our loved ones for granted takes away our ability to plan for the future and removes hope from our lives. When a loved one becomes terminally ill, we grieve in anticipation of their death, we grieve for the loss of them in our lives and we grieve for our own mortality.
How To Write A Eulogy
Remembering someone special in a personal way can be healing for everyone concerned, for a eulogy is a deeply personal way of saying goodbye. The key word is life, and you've been given the opportunity to celebrate a loved one's life in the individual way that made your friend unique. Don't be daunted by the task, just take these simple steps for a sincere and moving last farewell.
You Have to Show Up: On Small Miracles (Okay, maybe not so small)
I hadn't intended to go to my cousin's funeral.
Graceful Grief: Angelic Help is on the Way!
I believe that major change and loss in our lives is a door to grow ourselves, to become more loving, compassionate and accepting towards others and ourselves. We have choices that determine what the journey will look like.
The Look of Grief
Never, since man has walked upright, have people all over the globe had more educational advantages or more opportunities to practice advanced social and interpersonal skills. And yet, for the most part, we still have not learned to look past the obvious, to see beyond the exterior shell of our fellow man, and to discover the worth of the real person.
How to Cope with Anticipatory Grief
Anticipatory grief is the name given to the mix of emotions experienced when we are living in expectation of loss and grieving because of it. Anticipatory Grief is particularly relevant to those who have received a terminal diagnosis and for those who love and care for them.
How Long Does It Take to Mend a Broken Heart?
Julian Austin, Canadian country singer, released a song called Should Be Over You. He sings, How long does it take to mend a broken heart? After the heartache and tears, lonely and hurting, one night stands and drinking ain't working, and missing you has near killed me a time or two, then after that I should be over you."
When The Spirit Leaves The Body
Do you spend most of your time inside or outside of your body? If you know what I'm talking about then I can almost certainly say that you have spent some time outside of your body.
Whats It All About?
For most people life is a fairly ordinary existence - and when I say ordinary I mean a contented, 'far from perfect' way of life. And that's okay? until something major happens to rock the boat.
Mexico: Death in Mexico
Death: No thank you. Dying: Gives me a panic attack. Burial: Not today, please. Of all the subjects I could write about, this one is my least favorite. It, in fact, could easily send me into the mother of all anxiety fits. Nevertheless, it is necessary to visit the subject since I now live in another country.
Dads, Life, and Death
When he looked at me, it was clear my father wasn't sure who I was. And as I looked back at him, I wasn't sure who he was, either.
Signs After Suicide: The Red Butterfly
Shortly after noon, I went into Arlyn's bedroom to get a few things to take with me. I was preparing to drive about three miles out into the country, to Woodhaven Road.
If tears are an indication of how special my relationship with my mother was, I cry with pride! I've come to see grief as pain with a purpose. Interestingly enough, as I cared for my mother in my home the last several weeks of her life, much of what I had learned through spiritual teachings about death had gone out the window. It seemed as though I were losing her forever! At times, I wallowed in sadness and self-pity.
Afraid Of Dying? Afraid Of Living!
Over the years, I've heard many people voice their concerns of death and dying. It wasn't that they had any maladies that would cause them to die any time soon, but they were "afraid of their own immortality." The basic idea of death, or the potential of death, created a mind-numbing fear that, in some cases, forced them into isolation to avoid anything that could increase their chances of dying.
A Critical Assessment of Euthanasia
The question of whether, say, a man should have the right to take away his life granted pain and suffering have overcome him is a very important question today. A different way of putting this question is this: 'Should a man have the right to take away his life if he ceases to function as a human being?' This matter would have been laid to rest had it not been that it strikes at the heart of law, key matters of health, and morality. It is a subject that, if not properly addressed, can cause some nasty consequences to the lives of people and pose unwarranted danger to the stability of a society.
Recently, the magazine I own and edit got a hate letter that was so full of venom and hostility, it gave me shivers. The ultra-religious lady who wrote it is young and passionate about her beliefs. She was quite critical of those who express their grief pain, because she doesn't believe pain is necessary in grief. She evidently thinks that if we would just trust God, we would not be suffering. She is not bereaved, and it would appear that life has not yet delivered to her the kind of agony that so many of us have experienced. However, nothing is wasted if we can learn something from it, and the writer of this letter has opened my eyes to a truth I would like to explore with you, my friends.
After Suicide: Returning to Life, Thanks to an Owl
Have you ever lost the ability to laugh? I did.
October makes me think of Halloween, and Halloween makes me think of masks, and masks remind me that sometimes when we're grieving, we wear masks without even realizing it. We may never stop to think about how other people perceive our appearances, our images and our behaviors. Over time, we may gradually drift into a pattern of "being" that is so familiar to us we never realize that others might be seeing us in a totally different way.
|home | site map|
|Total Internet Resource © 2006-Present|