When you have young children at home, your grief is twice as hard. Your children will express their feelings in different ways, depending on age and maturity. They may act out their grief and frustration or withdraw into themselves.
Make sure they know that you are available to listen and to talk whenever they are ready. Most children have some kind of concept of death based on T.V., the death of a pet or a distant relative. They may have some misconceptions and fears that they need your help with.
Don’t be afraid to let your children see you cry so that they know its o.k. to express their own grief. Children desperately need acceptance and security so assure them that they will be taken care of and that the family will stay together. Give as many hugs as they allow and let them feel your strength.
As you work through your grief together keep in mind that you cannot take all their pain from them. They will have to work through their own grief journey (with your loving support).
Your older children are grieving but they understand and want to help you. Don’t just say “I’m fine” when they ask how you are doing. Let them know that you are struggling and take the time to look at pictures and talk about the fun times the family had together.
They want to help, but don’t know how, so be specific as to what they can do for you. They may seem to provide too much advice and caring but don’t forget to show appreciation for their efforts. Don’t let your children rush you into something you are not ready for or assume that you are “free” or “need something to do”.
Share your loss with your grown children and reach out to them with love. Understand their pain and that they want only the best for you but it is your life and you have to be responsible for your own grief journey.