Many who have experienced, or have seen others experience, the grieving process find themselves at a loss for words when asked to describe their emotional response. Since the concept is so abstract but the feelings are so tangible and real, many find it difficult to fully understand what they’re going through, let alone support someone else who is grieving.
As the Manager of Living with Loss, a program that seeks to provide grief education and support for children and families, I have witnessed the difficulty our families have had when describing their experience as grievers . The best way I have heard it defined is through the thoughts of one of our Living with Loss Program teens, who defined it as “heavy feelings and actions when you lose something or someone.”
The families we work with each come with their own thoughts on and ways of grieving. They recognize different types of loss as the cause of their grief. No matter how different their stories or how varied their beliefs, their experience is their own. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and grief has no boundaries.
Take age as an example. While some in our society may categorize adults and older teens as grievers, we cannot forget our younger members. Due to developmental differences, younger people may not understand their loss in the same way an older person might. But they still grieve. They respond to the different feelings they have and notice when something or someone is no longer in their life.
As we gear up for Children’s Grief Awareness Day on November 20th, it is especially important to provide education regarding what it means to grieve and who grievers actually are. And we intend to do just that! As we progress through the month of November, Wediko vows to do our part by:
- Spreading awareness – Wediko staff in Boston, New Hampshire, and New York will be wearing blue on November 20th and participating in a photo challenge to share why children’s grief awareness is important to them.
- Giving the children a voice – Throughout the month, the Wediko Blog will feature narratives of grief from the young people we have the privilege to work with and learn from. These brave students have chosen to share important pieces of themselves to remind us all that grief knows no age boundary.
While difficult to define and describe, the grieving process is important on the path to living with loss. And we must make sure every person, no matter how young, is afforded the opportunity to grieve.
Please join us in the cause of validating every child’s grieving process. For more information on the day, visit http://www.childrensgriefawarenessday.org. If you have any thoughtful and creative ways to recognize our young people as grievers or have helpful resources, please contact Kate Tetuan, LICSW at email@example.com