Friday, February 22, 2013

Preparing Your Child for the Loss of a Loved One

I don't think that anyone is ever prepared for the loss of a loved one.  My family experienced a loss last week.  On February 12th, 2013 my husband lost his dear Mother.  Although, she was elderly and ill losing her has not only been a horrible blow to us, but especially to our young daughter.  She was not adequately prepared to witness this transition and I blame myself.  After seeing her reaction to her grandmother laying in the casket I then realized that maybe I should have let her know that this was coming.  Having attended very few funerals myself I don't think that I was prepared either. I'm Lutheran.  In the Black Baptist Church funerals include:

A Viewing or Wake ~ This is where the body is laid out in an open coffin for all to view.  Held at the funeral home

A Funeral or HomeGoing ~ The church service where we remember the deceased and the casket is closed and carried from the church

A Repass - After the body is taken to the cemetary, the family meets at the church for fellowship and dinner.

My daughter erupted in tears at the Wake and again at the funeral.  I am sure the tears were from sadness, but I think some of them were also because she was scared and unprepared.  I failed to tell her what to expect.  I did not inform her that she would be seeing her grandmother's body.  I did not tell her what a cemetery was.  I could not prepare her seeing her father as he wept for his mother.  Of course hindsight is 20/20.  If I had it to do again, it would have definitely been different.

Here are few tips that I would recommend to get your child ready to deal with the loss of a loved one.

Explain life and death to your child. 

I cant tell you how to go about doing this because we all have different belief systems.  One thing that is constant no matter what you believe is that we live and we die.  Explain this in your terms.

Talk to your child about what to expect at a funeral.  

Again traditions vary but this can be a very shocking experience to a child that has no idea what happens.

Remember Your Love One.  

Help your child to think about the good times they had with their loved one.  Bring out old pictures.  Talk about fun times from the past and pleasant memories.  Encourage them to speak on what they remember.

Send a Note to School.  

Explain to the administrators what has happened so that they will understand your child's possible behavior changes.  

Allow your Child to be a part of the process. 

I love the way my husband's family included the children in the services.  Naming the grandsons as pall bearers and presenting the grand daughters with roses were just 2 of the ways that I believe helped the kids to cope by participating.  The girls also all wore gold ribbons and the boys wore gold ties.


Hug your child.  Its a simple gesture but when administered frequently can do wonders for understanding.

The funeral is over now, but the sadness still lingers.  RIP to our dear Mother Juanita Taylor.  Please pray for us as we go through this difficult time.  I hope that you never have to experience such a loss.  If you do, I hope that you find my tips helpful.  Please share any tips you have in the comments, we would love to see them.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Thanks for sharing your story and enlightening us all on the importance of preparing young children for the loss of loved ones… This time in anyone’s life can be very traumatic, but the impact of death on children can be very disheartening when there’s little understanding of what has taken place.

    I was in this situation over 24 years ago when I lost my mother in my youth. It was as if my siblings and I were left to fend for ourselves in terms of understanding death, the process and what happens afterwards. So, I not only applaud you for sharing your story, I also commend you for bringing such a sensitive and very personal subject to the light.

    It’s imperative that we take measures to inform our children (at the level of their maturity) about the end of life so that they may be prepared and equipped during that time of bereavement. It took me some years to come full circle with my mother’s death, but all in all, TIME HEALS THE HEART and We Do Come to an Understanding that Provides Comfort in Knowing ALL IS WELL.

    A little something “From The Heart:” I came across this book a couple of years ago… It blessed me tremendously and I’d like to share it… The Orphaned Adult: Understanding and Coping with Grief and Change After the Death of Our Parents by Alexander Levy.

    Willing You and Yours CONTINUED “Peace and Joy”

    1. Thank YOU Yah Tay for also sharing and for taking the time to leave a comment. I wouldnt want anyone else to have to go through this, but if they have to at least it gives them something to think about regarding the kids.

  2. Hello Sistah. This was a very good post. I am guilty of not talking to my children about life & death. I think it is because I think they would be afraid of the conversation or I wouldn't want to open up the conversation and make them afraid by what I say. However death is a natural process. I need to sit down & talk to my children. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Your family is in my prayers. Sending you love.

    1. Thank so much KeeKee. Yes its hard, but prepare them because they will have to deal with it eventually, we all do. I appreciate you as always for your support and for taking the time to read and comment.

      Peace :-)


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