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How do we speak to children about grief?

25th March 2017

I am passionate that we help children through grief and speak to children about grief in the best way possible. Sadly, the legacy of a culture which shut children away when someone died is still with us. Our experience shows that children need to be involved in age-appropriate ways, and they have a brilliant capacity to grieve and heal, as long as they are included. Each child is different, of course, but many conventions in our culture are simply manifestations of the old belief of keeping kids away during grief or funerals. Instead, we have often helped families find rich and meaningful ways for children to be included, from beautifully decorating the cardboard coffin lid, to writing tributes on sticky heart post-its to put on the coffin, to playing their Grandad’s favourite piece of music on a flute. We’ve heard a stunning poem written by a child for his dad’s funeral and we’ve seen strength and grace displayed by children amidst the healthy tears and sadness.

It’s not for us to say what must happen, but this article, written by a development director from a group which exists to help children who have lost parents and other family members, is full of rich advice about how we can use language more helpfully for children (and ourselves). This is a step-by-step guide to things that would be helpful to say and behaviour that would be helpful to demonstrate.  And its not just for those during loss; there is wisdom here about how we can help children in a preemptive way by how we talk about nature and how bodies stop working.

But this quote sums up the tone: ‘To help a child grieve, be honest, open and – most importantly – celebrate the person’s life.’



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From Facebook

5 days ago

Albany Funerals
Good morning everyone! We’d like to share the below words from Heart of Kent Hospice about their Compassionate Neighbour Project as a close friend is a volunteer in this wonderful initiative. “The project was launched in January 2020 to tackle social isolation and loneliness for those living with a life-limiting illness or frailty in Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling and surrounding towns and villages. In just one year, the project has recruited and trained 67 Compassionate Neighbour volunteers, of which 51 have been matched and supported 67 isolated members within the local community.To meet the needs of the community, so that no one nearing the end of their life through age or illness feels lonely, Heart of Kent Hospice is aiming to recruit and train at least six new volunteers every month”.If any of our followers feel they could be part of this fantastic scheme, get in touch with the Heart of Kent Hospice, they’d love to hear from you. 🌸 ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago

Albany Funerals
With the coronavirus restrictions still limiting funerals to 30 people, being able to offer a live stream of the service has made such a difference to many of our clients. We've had friends and family members from all over the world joining us on their screens from the comfort and safety of their own homes, and also even fully participating in 'Zoom' funerals. Some are still a bit skeptical but we honestly find that the experience has been mostly positive, and offered a real lifeline in some situations. Here is a little video prepared by one of the celebrants we work with which offers some great insight and advice on how to get the most out of attending a funeral via live-stream or Zoom. Thank you Marc Lemezma. https://vimeo.com/531153582 ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago

Albany Funerals
The team at Albany are proud to be Dementia Friends Champions and we are a Dementia Friendly business. Dementia Friends are trained volunteers who encourage others to learn a little bit about dementia. Champions run Information Sessions in their community and inspire others to help those living with dementia live well.If you register your organisation with Dementia Friends, you will get access to resources and information aimed at helping members of your organisation understand dementia and how it may affect a person.For further information head to Dementia UK Dementia Friends or Building a Dementia Friendly Maidstone. ... See MoreSee Less

4 weeks ago

Albany Funerals
Our branch in Great Chart, just outside of Ashford is within a beautiful converted barn on New Street farm which was previously a fully working farm. When visiting Albany you can be assured of a warm welcome in peaceful and relaxing surroundings. As you can see our bereavement dog, Pix, rather likes standing at the front door watching the world go by. Please contact us on 01233 650746 if you require further information. ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Albany Funerals
Rather than a traditional service did you know you can organise an unattended cremation? For some the formal ceremony at a crematorium is not feasible, too costly, unbearable or has no meaning in a space that can feel disconnected to the person who died. An unattended cremation enables you to arrange a celebration of your loved one’s life at a venue of your own choice where you can say goodbye with scattering of ashes, or not.This type of memorial gives you the opportunity, with more time and space, to add personal and creative aspects to saying farewell. At Albany we embrace this option wholeheartedly, there are so many ways of saying goodbye, we want people to know there are choices and families do not have to be constricted by tradition. The images are of an unattended cremation, at all times our staff and the staff at Vinters Park Crematorium treat the departed with peaceful dignity.In this instance the family held an afternoon tea around the coffin in the beautiful lounge space at our Ashford premises, they shared laughter, anecdotes and photographs whilst listening to favourite songs and reminiscing, it was a very special afternoon. (Photos shared with permission and government guidelines were observed). ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Albany Funerals
Advice for us all, delivered in a beautiful, personal and poignant little clip. ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago

Albany Funerals
Despite the light drizzle this was a beautiful service at Eden Valley Woodland Burial Ground celebrating the life of a much loved Mother. The flowers from Star & The Rose were stunning and seamlessly complemented the surroundings. ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago

Albany Funerals
Today marks one year since the first national lockdown. The team at Albany will participate in a minute’s silence to show support to those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic. ... See MoreSee Less
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