What is Grief?
Grief is a normal reaction to a death. Grief has emotional, physical, cognitive, behavioral, and social impacts. It is important that children and teens are allowed the opportunity to grief. There is no time limit on grief; it takes as long as it needs to.
What Impacts Grief?
Grief is impacted by a number of factors such as:
- Age and Emotional Development
- Family support system
- Circumstances surrounding the death (expected/unexpected)
- Previous experience with loss or death
- Culture and Religious beliefs
- The relationship with the deceased
Emotions Associated with Grief
There is a wide range of emotions experienced through grief. The intensity of emotions may vary over time and can be triggered by significant events such as anniversary dates. Emotions can range from angry, confused, guilty, sad, and lonely to scared, disappointed, helpless, worried, shocked, and frustrated.
The first year after a death can often bring mixed emotions as everything has to be done for the first time without that loved one present. Some people report that the second year is more difficult as their shock and numbness has subsided and the loss has become “real”. In either case it’s important to accept all of the emotions that come as part of a normal grieving process and to find healthy ways to work through these emotions.
How to Support a Grieving Child
- Encourage children to participate in the funeral/memorial service
- Provide a safe and secure environment
- Try to maintain routine as much as possible
- Encourage questions
- Reassure them that the death was not their fault
- Normalize feelings of grief – it is normal to be sad or angry when someone dies
- Encourage appropriate peer support
- Offer clear limits and guidelines
- Offer safe expression of anger: for example: hit a pillow or paint eggs the colour of your feelings and throw at a tree
- Role model: for example: cry if feeling sad, hit a pillow if angry as you talk about your feelings
- Offer plenty of hugs and cuddling
- Read books about death and grief
- Commemorate and Memorialize the person who died, especially on special days
Our Support Services
Seasons Centre offers a variety of facilitated peer support programs for ages 5-24.
Through structured activities and free play, the peer support groups provide participants the opportunity to learn appropriate tools and skills to work through the complexity of their grief journey. Trained volunteer grief facilitators support the group members throughout this process.
For an initial consultation, please call the Program Department at 705.721.5437.
Professional staff will gather information with regards to the child’s needs in relation to the life threatening illness or death of their loved one.
An intake will be scheduled with the child and their caregiver. The intake will involve a tour of the Centre and an assessment of the child’s circumstances. Individuals will be invited into the most suitable group based upon their age and the nature of the death or life threatening illness.