Bring Them Up

Miniature astronaut and scuba divers sitting on miniature furniture talking with a grandfather clock and fireplace behind them, a paint palette, and toy

Sometimes, it may seem helpful to not bring up a loved one, or someone significant to them, who has died because you may worry that you will bring on more sadness. And indeed, that may be what happens, which is okay as sadness can sometimes be helpful.

A grief support group looking towards a rainbow

I met someone who was 94 at the time and when I told them about my role at the local hospice, being there to support children and families in grief, tears came to their eyes. They spoke about how when they were a child their caregiver died, and no one spoke about their loved one afterwards or about ways to grieve. They talked about how present the grief felt as it had no place to go for so long.

As Macklemore says, “the second time [you die] is the last time that somebody mentions your name.”

Keep them present for you child by bringing them up.

In my work, I have noticed that when children are given an opportunity to express their grief, sadness, love, joy, and any other feelings they may have, they are more able to create a container, or a safe space, for their grief and it less often spills into other spaces of their lives. This is especially helpful if they are struggling with feelings in spaces that are not as helpful to openly be grieving such as school or in their activities.

A friend watching their friend play baseball

We may worry that bringing up their loved one who has died will remind them of the death. From what I have learned from grievers and grieving myself is that our loved ones who have died are often in our thoughts. So, bring them up, talk about memories you share, and give space for them to bring them up too.

The hope is that we can help them continue their bond.

Supporting Children with Grief and Loss