Grief Awareness Week 15th – 21st November 2018

When someone in a family dies it can be a devastating time for everyone.  It can feel like in a moment your world has been turned upside down.  Each year 

1 in 29 school age children in the UK are bereaved of a parent or sibling
24,000 parents die each year leaving dependent children

At SeeSaw we see adults, not surprisingly, trying to protect their children from the devastating truth about what has happened. Understandably they want their children’s pain to be taken away. But what children most need is honest, age appropriate answers to their questions about what has happened. To exclude them from the truth can lead to feelings of isolation and confusion.

Grief is a natural process; a response to a deeply felt loss. Many people are familiar with the idea that there are stages of grief, you pass from one stage to the next and then you are ‘over it’. This suggests that there is a time scale for grief which can put pressure on adults and children to ‘move on’ before they are ready.   

There is no such time scale, but often children’s feelings and behaviours can be indicators of how they are coping following a death.  
At SeeSaw we like to suggest:-
That grieving should be measured in years, not days, weeks or months
That people need permission to grieve
That grieving is a time of adjustment that is experienced differently by everyone, even within the same family
That families need support to dispel the myth that they have to pass through stages of grief to a point of ‘getting over it’
That grief is not about forgetting the person who has died, but about negotiating a way through the sadness and sense of loss.  
That grief is a time of adjusting to life without the person, and then finding ways of remembering and taking the memories forward.

The theme for this year’s Grief Awareness Week is “Remember When” – encouraging families to share memories of the person who has died. If you know someone who has been bereaved why not talk to them about their memories of the person who died.

An important part of the work we do with families at Seesaw is to help them build memories.  Some children worry about forgetting the person who has died so putting memories in a safe place like a memory box can be really important.  Other families struggle to talk about the person who has died because remembering is too painful.  Using a variety of activities we can gently help children to talk and remember. One idea is to make a “memory star” with the child. You can download our memory star resource here. 




How SeeSaw can help

SeeSaw provides grief support for children, young people and their families in Oxfordshire.  Through appropriate and timely support, SeeSaw can help to reduce the emotional, psychological and mental health consequences of bereavement.  Young people are then able to face the future with hope.

It can be difficult to know what to say to a child when someone has died. Here are some guidelines to help you to talk to your child. 

SeeSaw offers:

  • Telephone consultations to any parent or professional who is concerned about a bereaved child.
  • Home visits to families to assess their needs and talk about ways in which SeeSaw might be able to help.    
  • Tailored individual support for children and young people when needed. This often involves one-to-one sessions with a support worker and takes place where the child is most comfortable – in their own home.    
  • Specialist support to families and professionals when a parent or sibling is dying.        
  • Family events and activity days which enable children, young people and their families to meet together in a fun and relaxed way.      
  • Information and training to school staff when they are supporting a bereaved child in the classroom or managing a death in the school community.     
  • Training, consultancy and resources to professionals working with bereaved children and young people. 

If you are worried about a bereaved child in your care then please call the friendly SeeSaw team for help, advice and guidance on 01865 744768 or email SeeSaw

Please take a few minutes to watch this video, it really brings to life the work we do

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