helping children with grief

Helping your Child Cope with the Loss of a Parent by Janine Engevik

My daughter Jennifer was 10-years-old when her Father died of a sudden heart attack.  As I rushed to the hospital with her in the car, her request was that she would rather go to a close friend's home than to see him as he was.  Not having the time or a chance to talk with her, I  could not have imagined what her thoughts were and what she was going through.  For the next few days, fortunately, we had close friends and family members who stepped in to help as plans were made for the funeral.

As the months passed, she would run out to the car to make sure my seat belt was fastened, or if I were a few minutes late coming home from work, she would be frightened that something might have happened to me.  She played in the school band and during performances would have panic attacks feeling that she was dying also.

I as a Mother felt that I had solid parenting skills and could work through any problem. However, I would often ask if I were reading the signs of her emotional stress correctly. We have often talked about those years,  and she has thanked me for being there through the stressful times.  I tried the best I could, and in speaking with her recently here are some of the things she valued most:

1.  I spent many hours talking with her about her feelings
2.  Tried to keep her life as consistent as possible to a schedule
3.  Encouraged her talents in sports and writing
4.  Made sure her friends had similar values as ours
5.  Shared time reading and discussing spiritual matters in life & recalling moments with her dad

If I could share one thought: No one can prepare you for what life will bring. We tend to forget all we have is today.

- Post By Janine Engevik