Loss is hard for any person to deal with but for a child there are some absolute essentials to support them through their sad time. Talking from personal experience, the first essential is total honesty.
Whilst as a parent/carer you want to protect your child, telling them they have lost someone close can be truly heartbreaking, the last thing you want is to be the one who tells them one of the saddest things they will ever hear. But how do you do it? Depending on the age of the child and their level of understanding, you need to prepare the true story and you need to make sure everyone who knows the child knows their story. Watching my son aged 4 go from person to person asking them what had happened to his daddy wasn’t about trying to find someone who would tell him it wasn’t true, he was looking to all those who knew him to support him. Their knowledge of his story allowed him to be open in his discussions and to be sad, happy and even inquisitive.
It was without a doubt the hardest thing I ever had to do. I remember not being able to deal with my own grief nor to be able to relax in my parenting for wanting to be ready for the next question whenever that would come along. Children are resilient, they are inspirational but most of all, they want the truth from those they trust. We got through loss and 8 years later, my little boy is now moving into his teenage years safe in the knowledge that he can trust those around him.