Every child in a family grieves differently because of personality, gender and the relationship they had with the person who has died. Unlike adults, children dip in and out of grief. Here, Áilín Quinlan gets some advice on how to support bereaved children from Orla Keegan, head of education, bereavement and research at The Irish Hospice Foundation; Anne Marie Jones, head medical social worker for bereavement coordination at the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street; and a member of the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network advisory panel.
EXPLAIN HOW IT ALL WORKS —
People can forget that children do not necessarily understand the meaning of the rituals around death. Take time to explain common rituals around a death, such as the age-old Catholic traditions of the rosary, the wake, the removal and the funeral, and why, for example, people come and shake the hands of the bereaved. “There are different traditions around death for different religions. It’s a good idea for a child to understand the religious rites surrounding death in their particular religion,” Jones observes.