“Any child old enough to love is old enough to mourn.” Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, author of Companioning the Grieving Child, a Soulful Guide for Caregivers
November 16 is Children’s Grief Awareness Day, a day to recognize that support can make all the difference in the life of a grieving child. One out of every 20 children will have a parent die before they graduate high school*, and that does not include those who experience the death of a sibling, a close grandparent, aunt or uncle, or friend.
One of the reasons Crescent Cove reports on the total number of families served since before we opened our doors is because those families whose children have passed are remembered and cherished by Crescent Cove. Our sibling camp, which we launched in 2022, hosts siblings of children who come to our home for respite care now, as well as siblings of children who have died. The interaction between these children is honest and open, and happens when children are shoulder-to-shoulder, working on an art project, eating a meal, or enjoying a movie. Grief becomes a common bond, something that they share with their peers, not something that sets them apart from their peers.
At our annual Remembrance Day, families come together to honor their loved ones with song, poetry, art, and memory-making activities. Many families return year after year, reconnecting with other families and with each other. Children will experience grief throughout their lifetime as they mature, and the amount of inner turmoil, invisible to most, is much more intense than adults realize. Creating space and trusting circles where children can express their grief — however it is expressed — is a critical piece of the grieving process.
We continue to speak the names of children who have passed, share photos of them, to remember them and their precious lives, for this reason. Families do these things to help children remember that they too will be remembered. Look for more resources on ways to support children through grief in our resource guide for families.
*Source: Coalition to Support Grieving Students, 2015.