Although the death of a family member is heartbreaking, there are also legalities that you must comply with in the midst of mourning. Registering the death to the proper vital statistics office in your area is necessary because registration establishes the legality of your loved one’s death. If you don’t register the death, you cannot obtain the death certificate, which you may need to present to certain government offices and financial institutions to claim benefits. Find out who can help you register a death when your loved one dies. Read more
You may find it difficult to break the news to your children when one of your parents dies. The death of a grandparent is heartbreaking, to say the least, especially if Nana or Popo frequently babysits the kids. Your first instinct may be to sugarcoat your words to shield the kids from the pain of death. And that’s natural because, as much as possible, all parents want to protect their kids from the harsh realities of life. No one can fault you for wanting to make the loss more bearable.
However, it is a great disservice to your kids when you withhold the truth. Psychologists say that it’s possible to communicate with children about something as terrible as death. Being honest with the kids about what’s going on can help them process the changes in your family’s routine and help them recover. Here are some helpful suggestions so you can speak to your kids in a clear, loving way that they will understand.
Factors to Consider
Before sitting down with your kids for a family meeting, consider the ages of the children and their maturity levels. You can direct the tone of your conversation based on their capability to accept and understand the situation. Their emotional maturity will determine the kinds of words you can use.
As the conversion develops, allow your kids to ask questions. Reply with honest answers that they can readily understand. You can provide examples to make it easier for them to process harsh concepts. Speaking in this manner will prevent confusion as your kids process the death.
Use Clear Language
When you discuss the issue with your children, be careful with your words. Don’t use language that may mislead them into believing that their grandparents are temporarily gone and will be coming back. Words like, “Nana left us” or “We’ll see her again someday” could confuse your children. They might expect that their beloved grandparent will come back. For example, you can emphasize that Nana can no longer watch recitals or babysit to set expectations.
It would also help to avoid euphemisms like saying Popo is sleeping because kids could form a negative association with sleep. Using flowery language to describe death may backfire. Don’t be afraid to call death what it is because it is a natural part of the life cycle. Besides, if your kids end up confused, they may think you’re hiding something and they could end up resenting you for lying even if this was not your intent.
Explain Your Own Feelings
It may be difficult for kids to process the loss so give affirmation that it is okay to feel sad. Discuss your own feelings so the kids know that it may take time for things to be back on track. Tell them what will happen in the coming days, especially if there will be a viewing and funeral services. If they’re old enough, you can describe how the body will be in a nice casket surrounded by flowers and how many other guests will come to pay their last respects.
Bear in mind that children take their cues from their parents. So use this time to reassure your kids that this sadness will not last forever. Though you feel immense grief and things may not be okay now, things will get better over time. You can look through old photos and emphasize how the memories with their deceased grandparent will be in your hearts forever. In time, the kids will begin to understand and accept the devastating loss.
Give Them Time to Digest the Information
Since children are not as emotionally mature as adults, it may take time for the news to sink in. And that’s okay because even adults have a hard time accepting death. Be patient and give them time. Don’t bombard your kids with too many vivid details. Be prepared to explain a few times until they fully grasp what’s happening.
It’s okay if you fumble with the words because explaining death is really complex and difficult, especially if you have never done this before. The ultimate goal is to make your kids understand that their grandparent is gone for good and is not coming back. And if they cry, give them comfort and offer consoling words. You may even shed tears with your kids because releasing emotions is a healthy way to cope.
Explore Grief Resources
Allow your children to explore their feelings. Apart from giving hugs and kisses, you can offer grief support by encouraging them to watch children’s educational shows on death or reading books on the same theme. Bonding with your children as you mourn the death of a parent may even help with your grief process.
If your kids are still very young, you can watch with them or read the books to them. Answer queries in a manner they can understand. If they are old enough, they may want their own quiet time to explore the materials alone and discuss the contents whenever they feel ready. Keeping communication lines open will allow you to assuage your kids’ worries and ease their fear of death and the unknown.
Listen to Your Children
Listen to what your kids have to say. If they have any questions or concerns, do your best to patiently answer. Most of all, stay attuned to non-verbal communication. If your kids are particularly close to the deceased grandparent, they can end up acting up in ways that are out of their norm. For example, they may end up crying a lot, not eating, showing signs of withdrawal, or lashing out aggressively.
All of these behaviors may be a way for them to cope and could be a part of their grief journey. When this happens, sit down with your kids so they can vent their emotions. Try creative ways to deal with their feelings such as drawing or writing in a journal. Make them feel safe so they can open up to you. They need to know they can count on you to listen and be there for them, especially now that they feel insecure because their normal has been shaken up with the death of their grandparent. Continue having open talks with your kids so you can process the loss and help them heal.
Celebrating your very first Mother’s Day when your family just recently concluded the funeral services is undoubtedly a painful experience. It may even be more heart-rending than other holidays like New Year or Christmas spent without a loved one. Why? Because Mom’s Day is especially for her, making your loss appear more glaring.
When it comes to first celebrations after a death, emotions tend to be raw, heavy, and messy. Mother’s Day is even more melancholic because it is a day that is supposed to revolve around the role she played in your life. Sadly, she is not present, and coping can feel seemingly impossible, especially after a loss. However, you must do your best to get through this holiday in an emotionally and mentally healthy state.
Pretending this day is just an ordinary one and ignoring it may only hurt you more. Bottling up your emotions could eventually lead to a future meltdown. That’s why it’s important to honor this annual celebration because even though she’s no longer physically present, her spirit lives on in you, her family. Here are some ideas for Mother’s Day to help you cope and celebrate at the same time.
Continue With Family Traditions
Holidays are a day for embracing family traditions. Perhaps, you make your mom breakfast in bed or take her out to her favorite cafe for waffles and espresso. This could have been a ritual for you and other family members. Some of these places could already be in your family’s list of favorites so once you’ve discovered them, why would you drastically change things?
Instead, you may consider continuing the tradition because doing routine activities provides a sense of normalcy which you need in these difficult times. Doing so may feel very painful without mom, but going on usual jaunts and old hang outs is one way to pay homage to the memories you made with her. Furthermore, bringing everyone together to relive family traditions is better than being alone. Sharing experiences will help ease loneliness.
Shop for Presents for Other Members of the Family
Typically, most people celebrate Mother’s Day by buying mom presents, taking her out to lunch, or selecting a sweet greeting card. Even though your mom is no longer around, it doesn’t mean that this tradition has to end. Instead, continue with the spirit of giving by showering your other family members with gifts. Surprise them with meaningful tokens that they will love.
The act of selecting the items can provide a brief reprieve from your sorrow. Besides, choosing a gift for them means you are thinking of them in your trying times. This creates a positive atmosphere, which can be very contagious. It may make them smile and alleviate the pain, especially on this day wherein they miss mom a little bit more.
Plant a Memorial Garden
People usually honor their mom with flowers on Mother’s Day. Visiting her grave and offering funeral flowers can be a substitute while listening to memorial songs. If you want to make it a happier occasion, you can plant her a memorial garden. Although planting flowers next to her grave may be a great idea, you must first check with the cemetery director if it’s allowed.
Alternatively, you can plant her a garden right in your own backyard. The month of May is the perfect time to plant flowers because of the pleasant weather. If you want something lasting, you can opt for perennial plants that require little attention or even a tree. These plants offer a sense of permanence that can comfort your soul. At the same time, they provide positive contributions to the environment by providing oxygen and filtering out pollutants. This is definitely one sweet and productive way to honor your mother. Besides, studies show that “earthing” or touching the ground is therapeutic and healing.
Carry on With Her Activities
Does your mother support any charities or non-profit organizations? Continue with her advocacy and let this be her legacy. You can continue to give back to your community in her memory. Besides, volunteering, even if only for a day, is one way to infuse positive vibes into your life. This is something that can heal your broken heart.
Use this worthwhile gesture to divert your attention and assuage your longing for your mother. Working with a charity your mom supported is a sentimental and meaningful way to honor her this Mother’s Day. More importantly, working with the underprivileged sector will help you realize that in spite of your mother’s death, you still have so many blessings in life to feel grateful for.
Be Open to Making New Traditions
Most people who have lost a loved one will say that the first holidays are usually the hardest to get through. Without your mother, you have a new sense of normal. Hence, you could try to establish new traditions to help you cope with your grief and loss. Though it may be difficult at first, the passage of time can foster healing. As future Mother’s Day celebrations come, your wounds will be less raw and it will be easier for you to celebrate.
Of course, trying new things doesn’t mean that you’ve forgotten your mom at all. Fond memories will find a way to resurface, even if you carry on with new traditions. All of these things allow you to carry your mother’s spirit into the future. Even if you cannot celebrate this day with her physical body, her spirit lives in you always.
We are all familiar with this awkward moment. Just imagine someone’s mobile phone ringing loudly and incessantly during a serious and solemn moment. As the person scrambles to mute the phone, you also feel that strong urge to double-check if your own gadget is on silent mode. In most scenarios, a random phone call or message ping is not really a big deal. You may get glares from others when it happens in the cinema or theater. But you could easily brush it off and give a verbal or non-verbal apology. However, when this happens during the funeral services or memorial reception, it can be downright rude and off-putting because it shows your lack of concern and consideration. Read more
When you’re doing funeral pre-planning, one of the things you have to consider is your end-of-life arrangements. It can be confusing because there are many choices for your final resting place. The most traditional are burial plots with gravestones. Alternatively, there’s also a more ornate mausoleum. Though these are not as popular, this is an option for people who do not wish to be buried underground. If you’re looking for more info on mausoleums, you’ve come to the right place as we’ll discuss it in detail below. Read more
No one can ever deny the power that rests in the written word. Since the proliferation of pictorial language and the invention of paper, books have captured the minds and hearts of everyone, young and old alike. Today, books still help you understand concepts and learn new ideas. Read more
The death of a loved one is undoubtedly one of the most difficult events any human being will ever face. And what makes it harder for the ones left behind is when they have to plan a beautiful funeral amidst their cloud of grief. That’s why for some people, there is value in thinking ahead and making advanced funeral preparations. After all, death is an eventuality that everyone will face someday. Read more
Even if they are not humans, pets are undoubtedly part of the family. For this reason, the loss of a beloved canine or feline can be very difficult to grapple with. If the death of a pet is hard for adults, just imagine what it can do to your kids. Read more
Chris Silverthorne – Owner
Funeral Establishment Operator FE-1001
Tranquility Funeral Services
2390 Haines Road, Unit 14
Mississauga, ON L4Y 1Y6
TEL: (905) 855-7565