A Child's View: Grief is as Individual as a Snowflake


BY: Karen Hatfield, MMT, MT-BC

CATEGORY: Grief and Loss

Hi, kids! Winter is here and it seems like everyone is getting ready for something…the bustle of the holidays, visits from family and friends, a break from school, a new year, the list seems to never end! But what if someone you love has died, and this is your first (or second or more…) holiday season without them? How do you handle it when it seems like everyone around you is excited ALL the time when you might feel excited some of the time, SAD some of the time, CONFUSED some of the time, then maybe…a little festive again?  Or even some other combination of feelings that only you can understand?  We have some ideas for you:

  • Talk about how you feel with someone you can trust. Or don’t talk – sometimes you just need a hug.
  • Ask a trusted adult to help your teacher understand that some classroom holiday activities may be hard for you – it may be possible for you to decide ahead of time how or if you will participate.
  • Write, draw, sing and even act out your thoughts, feelings and memories. Some kids and adults like to keep a journal, or write letters to their special person.
  • Remember that it’s ok to feel whatever you are feeling.  Someone you love is no longer here, and that changes things.
  • Share memories with others in the family, and tell stories about your loved one. Laughing and crying together can really help.
  • Create a special ornament in honor of your loved one.
  • With the permission and help from an adult, light a candle and create a space for it near some special pictures of your loved one. They even make great candles now that don’t need a real flame!
  • Play outside in the snow.  It doesn’t matter how old you are – you’re never too old to make a snow man!

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