When a child loses a parent, it has a huge impact on their life. Long after the funeral service is over, they will still be coping with the emotional impact and the change to their everyday routine. Here's what to expect and how you can help.
After the death of a parent, a child experiences grief which is often complicated by feelings of fear, guilt, and uncertainty. They may feel that they are somehow responsible for their parent's death even if they had nothing to do with it, and they may experience deep insecurity over the possibility that they or other loved ones might also die. Sometimes, children coping with these strong emotions lash out, or they may engage in self-destructive behaviors. To help with these feelings and fears, they need the chance to express them to someone who will listen attentively and reassure them without dismissing their concerns. Simply giving them the chance to talk about their experience and their emotions can help them to process what they're going through. They may also have questions which need answering, such as how their life will be impacted or what will happen to them if there is another death in the family. Aside from answers, you can also reassure them by providing structure--continuing their daily routines so they can predict what's going to happen and feel safe and in control. Involving them in the funeral service can also help them emotionally.
Powerful emotions can also have a physical impact, especially for children who are too young to process their emotions in the same way adults do. They may have trouble completing everyday activities like eating, sleeping, and socializing, even months after the funeral service. They may also experience physical illnesses and pains, such as nausea and stomach cramps, whose only cause is the intense emotional experience of loss. Once again, helping them talk about their feelings can help resolve these physical issues; but in the meantime, they may need to be encouraged to eat and need extra soothing at bedtime.
For help planning a funeral service and for resources to cope with the grieving process, contact the funeral directors at Willow Funeral Home, LLC in Willow Springs, MO. With over 100 years of history serving the Howell County community, this locally owned funeral home offers help and advice throughout the planning process, from choosing a casket to planning a meaningful and personalized memorial service. To begin, call them at (417) 469-3141 or visit their website.