It takes courage to lean into topics like death and grief. When a loss includes children, there are even more unknowns. What questions will they ask? Will I be able to answer any of them? How upset will they become? Will talking about it make them more sad?
These worries can cause adults to shy away from having conversations at all.
What happens then, though? A child not only feels heartbroken, but also alone in their feelings. This is a far riskier outcome than potentially fumbling to find the “right” words to provide solace. Generally, kids seek a kind listener, someone to wonder with, and a safe space to vent and lament. They also might want to reminisce together and celebrate the life of a beloved.
In honor of Children’s Grief Awareness Day, here’s a story of one family’s approach to tenderly supporting a youngling:
Melwin A. is the grandson of Cathy W. At the age of three, he has visited cemeteries, and dug soil to memorialize those who have passed by planting and watering flowers. He talks to us about the dead and the pictures we have to show when they were together. From our dog Sam, to Melwin’s grandfather James, we talk to him about the memories with each one that has passed.”
“As we put together Melwin’s Memory Lane, he colored the borders of the pages and helped tape the photos. We discussed all of the people in the pictures included. We read the book, Memory Lane, provided for this exercise and talked about how Nana makes memories with him.”
In addition to story-sharing and memorializing lives lost, Melwin’s family has other beautiful ways of maintaining connection–legacy gifts.
Melwin and his family remind us how the memories we hold in our hearts keep us connected to who we are and who we have loved.
Often, it feels “too early” until it’s too late. Why not explore YOUR Memory Lane?
Here’s a customizable file to create a cherished keepsake: