Each Season has its own signature and none more so than Autumn with the vivid colour of the leaves before they fall from the trees, that fresh cold nip to the air and the ever shortening of days. The seasons mark the passing of time and can have strong associations. Families often tell us that the change of seasons can bring up particular memories or feelings when someone has died.
The first year after someone has died is punctuated with often painful firsts. The first birthday without them, the first Christmas, Mothers' day, Fathers’ Day and the first anniversary of their death. However, once the first anniversary has been reached it doesn’t mean that the pain goes away. Families will still need the support of friends and other family member not just for those first few months after the death but for a long time afterwards too.
At Seesaw one of the ways we support children is find ways to help them to explore their feelings and develop ways of coping. We use books, toys, games and stories to help them understand what has happened, capture memories that are precious to them and recognise their feelings. Sometimes we use the natural world to help us explain difficult concepts of death and dying and change.
At this time of year, we may use conkers to illustrate the painful feelings of grief to children. We might look together at a conker wrapped in its prickly shell and explore how grief is like this prickly shell. By talking about the person who has died we can help the children to gently open up this prickly shell to re-find the memories of their special person inside. Children enjoy collecting conkers and holding them in their hand and it is a tangible way to explain how grief works and connect with memories. The seasons like grief change over time.