Sunday just gone was a lovely spring day. The sort of day that hints at the good weather to come. Damian had headed over to Liverpool to watch the football so I headed out for a short walk with the children and my mum to a local park. Making the most of the good weather.
On the way back we passed a church and graveyard. It’s quite an ‘active’ graveyard and the graves are well tended with flowers and the such. Daniel is really into smelling flowers and was keen to hop over the wall to smell them. I distracted him, not really wanting to go wandering around the graveyard!
A few days later whilst getting ready in the bathroom Daniel picked up one of the tulips that had died and shed its petals. He declared ‘this one broken’. So I said, well sort of chick, it’s died. Hoping that he would accept that and move on. He did.
It struck me that there is never really an easy or good way to talk about death and dying with children. I am incredibly fortunate that I have only had one death in my family, and have only attended four funerals. My Nan died when I was in my early 20s and it was horrible and difficult. But I understood what death meant and have my own ways of remembering and marking her life and the things we did.
I wonder how Daniel and Emma would cope should there be a death of someone close to them, someone who plays a part in their everyday lives? Children often struggle to deal with big events and I already see how Daniel is struggling processing some of his emotions at the moment. All part and parcel of growing up, but whilst we all hope that the death of someone close doesn’t happen, it sadly does. I was really pleased to see that The Co-operative Funeralcare have recently launched a series of short films aimed at helping bereaved children to cope with the loss of loved ones.
I have written before about how I keep a notebook for both Daniel and Emma where I note little things. I don’t have any set routine of when I write in them, just when something big in their lives or development happens (first steps etc) or when I have a spare ten minutes just to sit and write to them. I guess if I was to pass away whilst they are young they would have this as a connection to me. We also take stacks of photos and there is, of course, this blog.
The Co-Operative have teamed up with the Child Bereavement, Trauma and Emotional Wellbeing Service (CHUMS) and are offering the animated films as a free resource to schools, medical professionals, community groups and bereaved families. I think this is excellent. I have read lots of blogs and articles about the death of a parent or sibling and often parents are asking for that signposting to something that can help their children make sense of things.
Support in these situations often comes from many different quarters. From friends and family, teachers, friends parents, aunts and uncles and I think just taking a few minutes to watch these videos helps equip us all. Scarily there are in the currently 309,000 children aged between five and 16 years old in the UK who have been bereaved of a parent or sibling. I hope that my children won’t ever add to that number.
The videos are well produced and accessible. There are four in total and each is 3-4 minutes long. You can view the videos here.
This is a sponsored post, written in collaboration with the Co-operative funeralcare