10 Ways to Help Your Kids Grieve When You Are Grieving Too

10 Ways to Help Your Kids Grieve When You Are Grieving Too

Grief is hard. I’m not sure in this life anyone completely heals from the loss of a loved one. They learn to cope as best they can and let God fill in the gaps. As Christians, we grieve with expectation, especially if our loved one who passed was a believer. This gives us hope that this is only a temporary separation and gives us the confidence that we will indeed see our loved one again.

If you have kids and have experienced a loss, it may be difficult to support them when you are not in a great spiritual place yourself. As you and your children grieve, God may put people and tangible help to support you during your time of need.

Here are 10 ways to help your kids grieve even when you are grieving:

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  • 1. Journal

    1. Journal

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    Journaling is a great way to get my inner thoughts and feelings out without causing a scene. Encourage your kids to do the same. When they ask about what to say, tell them not to filter their thoughts – let them flow. Fill page after page until they have nothing left unsaid. If they are concerned about privacy, hide it in a special spot or rip out the pages and discard them when they are ready. It’s a way to deal with that wave of grief and help them to move forward on the path to healing.

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  • 2. Cry on God’s shoulder

    2. Cry on God’s shoulder

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    You may want to hide your true feelings from others, but when you are alone, that may be when your grief hits you the hardest. If the loved one you lost is someone who lived with you, your home may seem extra lonely in the wake of his/her passing. In those moments, God wants to comfort you. Go to Him. Cry or scream if you need to. Tell Him everything you are feeling and thinking. It may be uncomfortable at first, but the cathartic healing that comes from a good cry may be the cleansing salve your soul needs.

    Once you have cared for yourself in your grief, encourage your kids to do the same. Be a supportive figure in their lives, but teach them that God is accessible even in their darkest moments. It will help them let go of the loved one, but cling to God.

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  • 3. Set the example

    3. Set the example

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    As in all things, set a godly example for your kids as best you can. When you are grieving, you are most vulnerable. You’re most susceptible to fear and anger. It is imperative to hide the Word of God in your heart during this time. Mediate on the verses that provide you the greatest comfort. Place them around your home on note cards and memorize them together. Repeat them in your mind when you are sad. Let God comfort you with His living word.

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  • 4. Grieve in public and in private

    4. Grieve in public and in private

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    God’s promises are true. One promise to lean on is Psalm 34:18: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God may demonstrate His closeness to you by filling your heart with the comfort of His presence, but also by using the people He has put in your life. 

    One of the most supportive people who attended both my mother and father-in-law’s passing was a gentleman who attended my church 20 years ago. When he saw me, he hugged me as if no time had passed at all. Those hugs felt like God in human form comforting me.

    Lean on God and trust He will meet your needs, both the emotional and spiritual ones. He will get glory in the fellow believers who offer love and resources to you, and he will meet with you in the private dark moments, which in turn strengthens your relationship with Him.

    Photo Credit: Unsplash/Elijah M Henderson

  • 5. Face your grief head on

    5. Face your grief head on

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    Don’t hide your grief. In generations past, it was considered taboo to show your feelings in public. Yet that idea is foreign to this generation, which views being transparent about their private feelings in public (with the help of social media) a natural occurrence. Let the tears flow when they come. Your kids will want to support you when you are particularly sad, and you will want to do the same for them. It not only helps you heal emotionally but also bonds you together as a family. 

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  • 6. Write a story

    6. Write a story

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    Based on your level of comfort and while their memory is fresh in your mind, write down the stories you remember best about that loved one. They may be stories in which you personally experienced with him/her, or it could be stories other relatives and friends shared during the funeral or reception. This is a great legacy to leave your children as it allows them to pick up the book anytime and remember them the way they would want to be remembered. 

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  • 7. Make a scrapbook

    7. Make a scrapbook

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    A similar project to writing down the stories is to collect the pictures created in the montage shared at the wake and create a scrapbook highlighting those pictures. Keep it as a coffee table book so you can peruse it often. It will be a bit like they are there with you every day, and it may help ease the ache in your soul. 

     

    8. Give your kids (and yourself) time

    People grieve differently. Yet, the church as a whole doesn’t do grieving well. Like the world, the church wants to push aside uncomfortable feelings and put on a mask, pretending everything is fine. Even if it’s been a whole year (or over), let yourself heal on your timeline, not one set for you by your friends, family, or church. Encourage your kids to do the same. 

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  • 9. Lean on the body of Christ

    9. Lean on the body of Christ

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    When my father in law passed away last year, I expected to see spurts of people pay their respects at the wake. Yet from the time the wake began until it ended, a steady stream of people came through the line, sharing stories about his love of laughter, his job driving the school bus for the kids in the town, and his time on the worship team at the church. You know who was the majority of those people? The church!

    Representatives of five different churches attended the wake that evening (three from the churches he had attended and two others that his children currently attend.) When we finished up that evening, we went home and shared how we were so comforted by people whom we had not talked to in over 20 years who heard of his passing and came to pay their respects. So many offered help in the coming weeks to our family and we were blessed beyond measure by their support.

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  • 10. Receive help when offered

    10. Receive help when offered

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    “Let me know if there is anything I can do,” may seem like a platitude people offer when they don’t know what to say. Yet, many people will drop what they are doing to help you if you need a shoulder to cry on or a hot meal. It’s easy to not accept help from others when you are hurting, but allowing someone to use their gifts of hospitality and encouragement not only blesses you but them as well. 

    In tough times, that is where the church shines the brightest. Your congregation loves you and wants to be a help to you during your time of loss. Your kids need to see that as well. So in the moments of grief when they question their faith the most, they won’t need to have their doctrine in order; they will have seen the tangible hands and feet of God in the faces of His people. The church is and should be the place where you can be you, even in your most vulnerable state. 

    Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children's Book of the Year, the Enduring Light Silver Medal and the Maxwell Award, she is a member of the Christian Author's Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She is also an associate literary agent with Wordwise Media Services. For more information, please visit her website at michellelazurek.com.

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