Grief in Autumn

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.

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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