Do you know what tomorrow is??
National Children’s Grief Awareness Day
Not everyone realizes that children grieve too … even infants grieve. It honor of the day … wear blue. (blue jeans count!)
I can tell you first hand the infants and children grieve the loss of a loved one. During the nights that Owen was in the hospital, Logan and Weston cried out for one another, they held hands. I’m not kidding …. then 6 months old, babies were comforting each other when their brother was sick. Jaden now talks more about death and loss than he ever did. I had to explain to my five-year old son what CPR was. He’s different then the other kids in his class now. He knows first hand what it means to have one less person at the dinner table at night.
Grieving children feel alone and need support. Wearing blue is a way that we can show these children that we care. You might not be able to tell which children are grieving … it’s not something you can tell by just looking at someone. It’s an invisible scarlet letter we wear. A grieving child might be one of your own children’s friends, or a child you smile at in the grocery store line. They look “normal” but have a hole inside.
Here is a staggering tid bit: Before they graduate from high school, one child out of every 20 will have a parent die—and that number doesn’t include those who experience the death of a brother or sister, a close grandparent, aunt or uncle, or friend.
One of my biggest fears for my boys on earth is that they will have long-term hurt or ‘issues’ from the death of their brother. In my reading and researching on how to help them the best way, I learned that, without a doubt, un-addressed grief will have long-term effects. So when Jaden asked me to go to a local peer support group because he “wanted to meet other kids just like him”, I knew we had to go. See … this comment implies something that tears at my heart strings … he knows he’s different from other kids … he knows that he’s not completely like the kids in his class at school. He wants to fit in. His friends don’t understand (they aren’t supposed to – five-year olds arent’ supposed to know such pain)
We might now know who all the children are with grief, but here are a few things we CAN do:
- Wear blue on Nov 17
- Teach our children how to be there for their friends … listen when they want to talk, hug them when they are lonely, love them
- Be there for a child who has experienced a great loss – let them know you care
- Spread the word – encourage your friends and family to wear blue on Nov 17 too!
- Post your support on Facebook & Twitter
- Like the Children’s Grief Awareness page on Facebook
- If you are in the Waukesha area, visit the downtown businesses who volunteered to display posters in support of this day – thank them for their efforts, let them know that the community recognizes and honors their support of our children
- Make a donation to your local family grief support group
- If you’re in my area visit: http://www.healingheartsofwaukeshaco.org/
- Remember that children grieve all year-long … not just on Nov 17
visit www.childrensgriefawarenessday.org for more information
My son, Isaac is in Jaden’s afternoon class. He talks about Jaden ALL THE TIME. Isaac came home after the family scavenger hunt day and told me about Jaden’s book (was it?) and how he lost his baby brother. We had the opportunity to talk about and I just wanted you to know that although this classmate cannot understand what Jaden is going thru, Isaac cares very deeply about what happened. He even prayed two nights ago (all on his own) for Owen and that “God would give him a big hug up in heaven and that God would hug Jaden down here so he isn’t sad.” I know we have never actually met, but we are praying for you. We will all wear blue tomorrow!
Going to have to search through my closet to find some blue!
Ill be wearing my blue for your family, and all the others dealing with loss, and purple for my little man for preemie awareness day!!!! 🙂
I wish I had caught this in time. I missed it. A worthy cause, though. We had a talk about death with our kids the other day. Their music teacher’s wife unexpectedly passed away. I was amazed at how much it affected them and I’m glad we were open about it (My five year old was totally ready to help. He said…”Okay…so what are we going to do now….find him a new wife?”).
Thanks for your advocacy Mel. You are FABULOUS!