Children’s Grief Awareness Week
By Julia Malenke
Our life journeys are filled with transformational moments and seasons and among these are the losses we experience. It is helpful for children to learn the vocabulary of grief and ways to express their feelings associated with grieving. Understanding this need, Trinity Lutheran School designated December 1-5, as Children’s Grief Awareness Week in which we spent time in the K-8th Art classes discussing grief and expressing our feelings through drawing. In each class the children came up with life experiences that bring sadness and losing a loved one topped the list at all age levels. We discussed painful feelings and how we can get help when we are feeling sad, lonely, angry, or confused. Using the shape of a teardrop on their paper, each child was asked to fill in the shape with pictures of special times with a loved one who has died (person or pet). Children who haven’t experienced a loss were instructed to imagine a daily activity that they enjoy with family members and picture how that activity would change with the loss of a loved one.
Accenting the week, students pinned blue ribbons to their school uniforms as compassionate solidarity with our grieving students. Some of our students have experienced recent deaths and tears were shed as they were given permission to grieve those losses surrounded by caring friends. Loss is an inevitable aspect of living in a fallen world and loving deeply can bring great sadness when that beloved person dies. How comforting to know that our Savior completely understands every aspect of our grief and tenderly walks beside us with compassion and grace.