Sadly, there will always be bereaved children. Statistics suggest that each year approximately 280 children in Norfolk are likely to experience the death of someone very close to them; through illness, accident, suicide and occasionally though murder.
Children are often referred to as the ‘forgotten mourners’ because adults use euphemisms to explain death and think children are adaptable and will soon get over it, or are ‘too young to understand’ or ‘too young to go to the funeral.’
As parents ourselves, we believe that it is important that a child is told as quickly and honestly as possible when there is a death in the family. Encourage the child to talk about the person that has died and to ask questions. A child’s imagination is often far worse than reality. Younger children may like to draw pictures to be placed in the coffin, while older children may like to write their own floral tribute cards or take part in the service, perhaps by reading a poem.
Rosedale Funeral Home are active supporters of Nelson’s Journey, a charity committed to supporting bereaved children in Norfolk. We are also a subscriber to the Childhood Bereavement Network, a national, multi-professional organisation working with bereaved children and young people. Subscribers to The Childhood Bereavement Network believe that all children have a right to information, guidance and support to enable them to manage the impact of death on their lives.
We have available a range of resources to help children come to terms with their loss including workbooks, memory boxes, memory bears, story and audio books. Our funeral directors have provided many Norfolk and Suffolk schools with resources to support bereaved children, and can assist with lesson plans around bereavement to support Key Stages 1-4.
We can suggest books that are appropriate for each age group, and also books for adults to help them understand how children feel when someone important in their life dies. Further to this we have a children’s ‘Story Bag’ on permanent loan from the Norfolk Library Service containing “Badger’s Parting Gifts” and accompanying glove puppets.
“At times children’s thoughts lie even too deep for tears. We cannot – and should not – take away their grief. But by helping them to engage with it, to express it and share it – we can help them to live in it, through it and beyond it.”
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