When someone under the age of 17 has a loved one die, they usually become the neglected and overlooked griever. Youth face some unique challenges in the grief journey.
Emotions during grief are confusing, overwhelming and so intense. To understand this journey does not take the pain away, but normalizes the complicated feelings. Like most of us at any age, they do not have the vocabulary or experience or are equipped with the tools and coping skills to manage such pain.
Walking someone through this grief journey is WALKING ALONGSIDE and LISTENING to them. We earn the right to offer and teach them healthy ways to express their complicated emotions and needs
Celebrating Our 12th Year of Camp BraveHeart
Shock is pictured as someone falling off of a mountain. That horrible feeling when your stomach is in your throat. Sometimes children are overlooked in the midst of chaos and a multitude of changes. They become afraid of losing another loved one. Guilt makes them examine if the death was their fault. Anxiety increases when they see others in the depth of mourning. Many nine year olds have said they feel like they had to grow up over night, because they face and carry out many adult responsibilities. Anger can be explosive when life seems so out of control. Death is out of our control. Anger can be a secret response to their friends at school who complain about a parent, thinking, “at least you have a mom.” Not many of their friends have had their lives touched by death so there is no one that truly understands. That kind of loneliness separates them even in a crowd of friends. Exhaustion has become their closest companion which makes academics a difficult hurdle.
Children grieve in the future when moments such as graduations, birthdays or just wanting to ask Dad how he asked out a girl for the first time. These moments are as painful as the day their loved one died. A young lady’s wedding day may be the happiest day of her life and also the saddest because her father is not there to walk her down the aisle. We call these times when sad and happy collide “SAPPY” moments.
A broken heart does adjust and grow in strength. The realization of God’s plan and purpose in their lives paves the path to the future. Nothing can separate us from the love of God not even death.