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Grieving Children

While it is my belief that death is just one more experience to seek growth and soul development in our current physical forms, losing a loved one is never easy. Our family has experienced its fair share of grief in the past few years. We - ve lost my sister-in-law (my daughters' aunt), a beloved uncle and a cherished pet, to name just a few.

I try to reassure my daughters that a loved one who has moved on is safe and happy, however, we still need to grieve and accept the inevitable feelings of loss and sadness. Loved ones will be missed. Opportunities to share life and experiences will have been cut short. They know that it's OK to feel sad and to cry. As soon as possible after the initial shock and sadness over losing a cherished one has passed, I try to bring happy memories of the person back into our lives. It's important to remember the love and lessons we've learned from them with joy in our hearts and with respect for the time we've had to share our lives in their company.

I tell my daughters that they can talk to the person who has passed on any time they feel like it. That person will now always be available to listen. We will still feel love for our missed relative or pet and we include the departed soul in our prayers until it feels right to let them go. We ask that they are well taken care of and loved as much as we love them. This helps ease their anxiety of the unknown and allows them to feel that their loved one is in some way protected from whatever they might imagine exists 'out there.'

I'm sure, among our readers, religious and spiritual beliefs are many and varied. It is our responsibility to help our children understand that the unknown is not a scary place and to feel secure in life's mysteries. Even if you feel there is 'nothing' after this life, children will benefit by assurances that they and their loved ones have a purpose for being.

As parents, we will be challenged to guide our kids through a myriad of life's ups and downs. If we respect their limited understanding of the issues and guide their thoughts with a loving heart and acceptance of each aspect of life, no matter how difficult, we've done the best we can under sometimes-extreme circumstances.l

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