How Children Grieve - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/16/08 - Nacogdoches

How Children Grieve

by Donna McCollum

Over the years Hospice of Deep East Texas has helped grieving families. Children are often involved. Hospice seldom speaks in hushed tones about the deceased when children are around. Honesty is their policy. Hospice manager, Jessica Henderson advised,  " In all reality we need to be more open about it so that they can process their grief because if we try to protect them all we're really doing is hiding them from it and if we hide them, they never do process and aren't able to heal."

Teenagers are in a class all their own. It was seen following Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans teens quietly grasped to memories of home, while others showed signs of aggression. Wesley Hendry said,  " You do have a lot of emotional and physical outbursts. They are trying to direct this energy or emotions inside that they don't have a channel for. "

This advice and more came in a national bereavement teleconference. People who come in contact with a grieving child were invited. Henderson said,  " We invite the community, the doctors, the local funeral homes, SFA, the School of Nursing is very involved. " Important participation for a community that cares about its kids.

Children are resilient, but they do have special needs. Hendry said,  " You can only bounce back against a hard surface so many times. If you give them a soft surface that they can talk to or the understanding, yes, they will bounce back. " The goal is replace grief with happy memories that will never burn away over time.

Hospice of Deep East Texas has a wealth of information about children and grief. They will provide it to anyone who asks. There is no need to be a client. The agency can be reached at 936-560-9277.

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